Donald Trump and the road to presidential humility
The US president right now stands at the beginning of a journey towards presidential humility
In recent days, Trump supporters have had reason to cheer his early executive actions that have been in line with his campaign promises. He announced his Supreme Court pick, he announced a new military strategy to defeat ISIS, he suspended immigration to the US from six Arab countries and Iran for a limited period, he pressed on boosting the jobs market in the US and gave the go ahead for the construction of a wall along the Mexican border.
The president’s opponents slammed every single action he took, with the Democrats denouncing his suspension of the immigration program and the travel ban. They also were quick to express alarm at his Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch.
Gorsuch is, no doubt, a conservative but he not a far-right figure.
Previously Trump claimed he knows more about ISIS than US generals do, and now he is asking the generals to draw a strategy to crush the terrorist group.
The US president right now stands at the beginning of a journey towards presidential humilityPierre Ghanem
He has stopped Syrian refugees from entering the US indefinitely and temporarily suspended the country’s refugee program for a limited period of time. Earlier in his campaign, Trump vowed a complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States and when he signed the executive order his administration, he blamed his predecessor for the ban, saying it is similar to measures by former President Barack Obama – despite this later being proven untrue.
Also, he is threatening American companies with the tax cudgel, but nothing has been implemented yet, and as for the wall, it will be funded through the congressional appropriations process.
In fact, the US president stands right now at the beginning of a journey towards presidential humility. A few days ago, during an interview, he was asked about the effectiveness of torture and tactics such as waterboarding, Trump said: “absolutely, I feel it works." He added: “But I would tell you that he [US Secretary of Defense James Mattis] will override because I’m giving him that power. He’s an expert.”
Trump expressed his disinterest in the daily intelligence briefing, saying he “gets it when he needs it,” but the Tuesday and Wednesday schedules confirm him receiving a daily briefing even more comprehensive than the ones previously received by Obama, according to the White House.
On Wednesday, National Security Advisor Michael Flynn said from the White House briefing room that Iran was “officially put on notice,” in a warning that appeared to show the US administration as beating the war drums. Shortly afterward, Trump made an unannounced visit to Dover Air Force base for the return of the remains of a US service member killed in a raid in Yemen, the first military mission to be ordered by the new president.
On Friday, Trump imposed sanctions on Iran similar to the ones imposed during Obama’s tenure.
Presidential modesty is an outcome of a mishap; the 9/11 attacks left George W. Bush dazed, Barack Obama realized the limit of his popularity after the Gulf of Mexico oil spills, soon afterwards, his party lost the mid-term elections.
Today, the world may see the new US president as an uncontrollable train or an impetuous flood. That’s probably true, but by standing in front of a coffin of the soldier that was sent by him to a conflict zone, could mean that Trump has already started his trip down the road of humility,
Pierre Ghanem is an Al Arabiya correspondent based in Washington, D.C.