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FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, JAN. 20, 2017
BY BOB FRANKEN
THE PRESIDENT TRUMP WAGER
His “America First, America First, America First” inaugural address is seen by many as divisive, particularly those who are miserable that Donald Trump is actually president of the United States. They continue to look for straws to grasp and might take solace in the Irish bookmaker who is setting the odds that Trump will be impeached within six months at 8-1; it’s 4-1 that he’ll be tossed before his term is done. Of course, the bookie took a bath predicting that Hillary Clinton would win the election, so don’t place your bets with money you can’t afford to lose. But also factor in polls that show President Trump begins with dismal favorability numbers. The CBS News poll places the Trumpster in the dumpster at 32 percent positive. Gallup has him at 40 percent, with 54 percent unfavorable. It’s the first time the incoming president has started in the hole. Even George W. Bush, who won only after being handed a Supreme Court ruling that Democrats insisted was political larceny, entered the White House on the plus side. Trump reacted in his usual way, saying these polls are “rigged.”
If experience is any guide, it’ll be downhill from here. After all, this is an administration that is wasting no time in ruthlessly promising to rip up Obamacare. With all its faults, the Affordable Care Act did insure 20 million more Americans, including millions who had pre-existing conditions. Trump and his fellow Republicans are scrambling to come up with a replacement that doesn’t pull the rug out.
After all, there is a continuing scramble by his enemies and the news organizations that cover him to determine whether the perception of intentional Russian meddling caused him to be elected. And could it be proved that it was the result of coordination between Trump’s people and the Russians? Maybe even Trump himself and his bud, Vladimir Putin? If so, he’d be in a heap of trouble. Those investigations and others looking into his conduct are not going to go away, no matter how hard Trump tries to intimidate.
In fact, at some point, his barrage of abusive tweeting is going to become old. Sooner or later, he’s not going to be able to bluster himself out of some controversy by blaming “dishonest media” or belittling his latest critic or accuser. He has confounded everyone, including me, with his amazing ability to survive one nasty controversy after another. After awhile, though, more and more people are going to be turned off. He has thrived by tapping into the fears and anger of millions, with his often hateful rhetoric and constant impulsiveness. But even his ardent supporters will grow weary of his constant drama.Donald Trump is definitely a drama king -- make that drama president. He can’t change, never mind that he’s a head of state. Perhaps if he surrounded himself with people who were wise to the ways of the world, and the dark arts of politics, his personal faults could get glossed over. Unfortunately, many of those who buzz around him are either unqualified or ideologues whose incompetence or excesses will do him in.
Add to that his refusal to untangle the Gordian knot of his business dealings, and scandal is inevitable.
Not that his opponents haven’t left a mess. They have. The United States of America is seized by financial unfairness. Donald Trump succeeded because he played to the resentments and prejudices of those who believe they’re being had. They are impatient for the man who promised to make things right. He concluded his inaugural address with his signature slogan, “Make America Great Again,” whatever that means.
President Donald Trump obviously possesses tremendous power. If he abuses that power, America will ultimately turn on him. It won’t take long for his supporters to get disgusted and his millions of enemies to pounce. Then we’ll see what the odds are for his finishing out his term.
© 2017 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.