On the face of it Donald Trump’s pre-occupation with the size of the crowd at his Inauguration is perplexing. Who cares? Really it seems such a piffling point. There were many people there in Washington on the day, who made the trip to see Mr Trump sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. Large crowds assembled to cheer him on as he spoke and made his way to the White House. It was his – and their day.
Donald Trump won the race to the White House fair and square. Unlike John Kennedy, where there were suspicions about what went on, or George W. Bush, where arguments about hanging chads in Florida cast a shadow over his election, Trump’s victory has no such cloud hanging over it. Under the rules, the law, and the Electoral College system Donald J. Trump is indisputably the President of the United States.
His victory was won the hard way. He slogged through the Republican primaries. He visited states, made speeches, met people and won their votes. He knocked out over a dozen rivals for the Republican Presidential nomination. Thereafter he pounded his way through the general election. He visited states that most Presidential candidates don’t bother with. He highlighted issues that many avoided. He spoke to people who felt ignored and left behind, and his message resonated. His campaign was sometimes crude, often inelegant and certainly not always pleasant, but it addressed the challenges and problems many ordinary Americans experience and worry about.
Trump ran as an outsider, an anti-politician, as someone who wants to make real change in the way business in Washington is done and deliver real change for people across America. It is a timely message. For years under George W Bush and Barak Obama Washington has been gripped by gridlock and bickering, unable often to do what is needed. The time is perfect for a determined outsider to come to town and shake things up. Donald Trump is the right person, in the right place, at the right time.
Getting on with the job however is not what he’s done. For a winner Trump seems gripped by a raging sense of insecurity. To spend his first forty-eight hours in the Oval Office arguing about crowd size and attacking the press seems somehow beneath him. It’s certainly an odd way to begin addressing the people’s business. Underlying Trump’s victory is the fact that over three million more people voted for Hilary Clinton than who voted for him. He is the legitimate President, but he is not the President the majority of Americans wanted to see in the White House. This fact seems to niggle away at him.
President Trump has a unique opportunity to reach out across America to pull his country together. He could do it. He is full of surprises and is the master of the unpredictable. The question now is whether he will stop wasting his time on the trivial and concentrate on the bigger picture.
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