Given so many people have asked me about President Trump, for this month’s Westminster View I have asked my Florida-born wife, Janette, to comment on President Trump from an American’s point of view.
I understand the confusion in many quarters over why did President Trump get elected, especially when so many of his supporters have so little in common with him.
Among his voters were those who felt opposed to Hillary Clinton’s perceived “entitlement”, the anti-establishment, the disillusioned and those that just wanted to pay less taxes.
The frustration with the political stalemate in the US Congress during the Obama presidency had also hit a boiling point with many.
All this led to the average person finding it difficult to see how government was working for them; and how they might be benefitting from free trade, immigration, international peacekeeping and healthcare reform. Instead, they felt threatened by these issues and uncertain about their futures.
For many since the financial crash, the American Dream just hasn’t played out the way it is supposed to. The standard of living for the lowest earners is decreasing and the top is increasing - creating one of the developed world’s greatest disparity in wealth. This is a potent mix and one Trump has seemed to address in a way that many people felt they could relate to. He speaks straightforwardly about issues, particularly those he perceives to have done the country wrong, and he communicates to the people directly via social media.
Time and again he has told people he is looking out for them and will “Make America Great Again”. In many people’s eyes, President Trump is rooting for them and leading the all-American Team, of which they are a part for the first time in a long time.
In the short time since his inauguration, he is already testing our institutions and the “Balance of Power” with his unconventional and often unpredictable direct communication with the public.
But, perhaps if he can stop casting blame and help Americans facing the spiralling cost of education, an ageing infrastructure, inadequate transport systems and violent crime, he will achieve something domestically.
He has the added advantage in that the Executive (the President) and the Legislative Branches (Congress) are all of the same party, which is the only time real legislative change has taken place in recent US history. Maybe legislation will be passed allowing for the much-needed improvements in infrastructure that he has proposed, which will not only help to build manufacturing and industry, but also create jobs and this will be popular.
He has the ears of many, and he can remind Americans of their choices to retake control of their lives and be responsible decision makers when it comes to getting into debt, selling guns, reforming healthcare, buying American products and investing in America.
In one way, it's a massive opportunity – to have someone so not of the political class – but, it is difficult to watch for an ex-pat like me because President Trump’s style is not one that I am used to and perhaps he needs to pick fewer fights, if he wants to make America Great Again.