The new American president, Donald Trump, is the most
visible and discussed person in the world today, and yet his
political conduct remains mostly an elusive riddle for
observers both here and (especially) abroad.
This paradox is magnified by the apparent fact that
President Trump is one of the bluntest and seemingly most
transparent political figures in U.S. history --- a man who in
the hours between night and day “tweets” short emotional
(and politically incorrect) “let it all hang out” messages for
all to read.
These attributes caused virtually every political observer
to dismiss his candidacy at the outset of the presidential
campaign, then to belittle his chances of winning after his
unlikely nomination, and now for his legion of opponents
to be confident that he is unfit for office.
After controversial tweets, initial chaotic White House
office management, abrupt personnel changes, and
unprecedented disruptions in the American political
environment, however, he is still here, still the center of
attention, and seemingly getting politically stronger each
I think it will take quite a bit of time before most of us can
fathom this man, and why his persona and his manner
continue to have so much impact on his country and now
on the whole world.
The voters who ardently support him do not await pundit
explanations or analyses for his phenomenon. They simply
like what he says and does. His eccentricities, for them, are
part of his “deal.”
A few of those who came to support him have noted his
historic achievements and his role in contemporary
politics, but even they cannot fully “explain” him.
In recent days, more and more of those who oppose and
dislike him seem to be coming to realize that he is up to
more than they thought he was. They do not “like” him
more, or even agree with him more, but there now seems
a growing appreciation that they have chronically
Even those who did not underestimate him, however,
remain at some loss for the person beneath the assertive
tuft of forehead hair, and behind the churning bravado.
The best explainers and the biographers will come later.
Urgent events, new controversies, confrontations and
political dilemmas lie ahead for Donald Trump. As he
meets them, more of his riddle will likely be revealed.
Until then, this political reality show plays on.
Copyright (c) 2017 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.