Correspondent’s notes: This is how President Trump turns enemies into friends

Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio speak in the Oval Office of the White House during a bill signing by the president to increase NASA's budget to $19.5 billion. (AP)

Washington D.C. – Donald Trump runs the White House and his relations with Congress and his political opponents as a businessman. He sees no permanent enemies or adversaries, including those who criticize him. Instead of attacking them, he appoints them to administrative jobs and invites them to a lunch or dinner at the White House.

Trump praised his UN ambassador Nikki Haley, saying that she "is doing a great job” and he is the one who appointed her for this position, even though she was a supporter of his opponent in the election, Senator Marco Rubio. Haley was also one of Trump’s toughest critics.

The former South Carolina governor was not the only one who was rewarded with an important position, but also he invited the ambassadors of the 15 countries of the Security Council along with their wives to a business lunch. This is being considered as a precedent for an American president; who did not miss an opportunity to criticize the United Nations, which he considered a futile and ineffective institution that he threatened to cut off support for it. Later Trump realized that diplomacy is like a business deal. He would need to soften the relationships either by persuasion and impressiveness at times or the fear of losing the deal at another.

First 100 days

Trump, who just started his last week of the 100 days of his presidency, which is a milestone for US presidents and is considered as an assessment card, recognized the magnitude and weight of foreign policy crises; North Korea's defiance, the Syrian crisis, confrontation with Iran and the war against ISIS and other terrorist organizations. So a business lunch with the Chinese president was held to ensure a softening of the position on China if Washington imposed new sanctions on Pyongyang.

Nikki Haley speaks to reporters after a Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 at UN headquarters. (AP)

Nikki Haley speaks to reporters after a Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 at UN headquarters. (AP)

In Congress, the president and his wife, Melania, met former senator Ted Cruz and his wife, who Trump once described as ugly during the election campaign. He even feuded publicly with Cruz, once accusing him as being a liar. He also invited another former candidate, Senator Marco Rubio, who he fiercely fought with for the Republican Party nomination during the campaign season last year.

But why does Trump do all this? Because he knows he needs them to be able to pass any of his projects, either the restructuring of the tax code or reforming ObamaCare.

Trump, the businessman

In foreign affairs, he has to count on the support of the Republican senator John McCain, another one of the Republican establishments who Trump attacked last year by saying he did not have much respect for the war veteran given that McCain was captured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

U.S. Senator John McCain speaks at the Munich Security Conference in Munich. (Reuters)

U.S. Senator John McCain speaks at the Munich Security Conference in Munich. (Reuters)

But Trump is aware of how much swap McCain has in the Armed and Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate. Trump needs his support in shaping the administration's policy toward the Syrian regime, Iran and the challenges of North Korea. McCain is also on the list of the invited guests to a White House dinner along with Senator Lindsay Grimm, another critic of the president in terms of foreign policy experience.

Trump also appointed his election opponent, the former Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, as Minister of Energy; exactly as he did with Haley.

Historians believe that the first president to do this was Abraham Lincoln; one of the greatest American presidents who ended the civil war and slavery, when he appointed most of his rivals as ministers.

But Trump is different in that he gets closer to the legislators, ambassadors, institutions and opponents, despite the criticism and contempt shared among them in the past. He turns the page and deals with them in courtesy, he even praises them in order to pass his legislation proposals and handle the foreign policy crises, but from the perspective of a successful businessman who wants to secure the deal.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:54 - GMT 06:54