Donald Trump has not yet been President of the United States for a full calendar year, but as he gears up to celebrate his first Christmas in the White House, and news outlets around the globe start writing end of year wrap-ups, there’s one inescapable truth.
2017 was Donald Trump’s year.
Listen: After a year of taunting North Korea’s Dictator, The Chaser’s Chas Licciardello explains why none of us need fear nuclear war. (Post continues after audio…)
While it may seem at first glance like the President was besieged from Inauguration day to the present day, lurching from controversy to controversy, the truth is somewhat different. As we close out 2017 it’s clear Trump has bent the world to his advantage. The fact that he’s still in office, after everything he’s faced, is a triumph. Think about it, Donald Trump has survived every single controversy to come his way thus far, each time lowering public expectations and reducing standards for public office.
He has not grown to assume the office of the President, he has shrunk the office to suit him.
This year Trump did all of these things:
- Endorsed a man accused of child molestation for the US Senate
- Fired the FBI director because he did not like his stance on an investigation
- Continued to profit from private businesses bolstered by his role as President
- Declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel in the face of worldwide opposition
- Picked schoolyard-esque fights with Kim Jong-Un, the US media, the Mayor of San Juan, The Mayor of London, various US lawmakers—including members of his own party, Saturday Night Live, and the family of a college student arrested in China for shoplifting
- Told on average, six lies a day— more than double the average for a prolific liar
- Equated violent white supremacists with the people who oppose them
This is not an exhaustive list. To write an exhaustive list of all his wrongs would be impossible.
It would be easy then to write a story about how badly Trump has fared this year. How the opinion polls show an unpopular president who is beleaguered and battered by the press on a minute-to-minute basis. But Trump’s presidency exceeds the bounds of what we know to be sensible. And so, we cannot assess him on the old standards, because he simply does not care about, or adhere to those standards.
And neither do his supporters.
This presidency had been characterised by an Emperor’s New Clothes level of denial. Trump says up is down and his supporters in the White House, Congress, or on the streets nod in agreement. If the President says up is down, it must be. Or, it can be. Trump’s skill is to dazzle. To catch his opponents off guard with the ridiculous and the absurd. His tweets distract from dry policy issues that the press have a hard time turning into web traffic, and so he continues to be able to make an impact, through appointments, executive orders, new guidelines and rules for federal agencies and just sheer bald-faced showmanship.