President Trump’s inaugural address was full of sweeping promises:
- Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning.
Because today we are not merely transferring power from one Administration to another, or from one party to another — but we are transferring power from Washington, DC, and giving it back to you, the American people.
Which is counterfactual and ridiculous. He says that no-one listened to the “forgotten people”, but, “Everyone is listening to you now.”
Will he listen to the voters who by a majority of almost 3 million voted for his opponent?
Thomas Friedman points out that during the transition period, Trump’s tweeting carried on as before the election, and seemed intent on dividing people.
- As a leader, you only have one chance to make a second impression. And it is troubling how badly Trump wasted his. A recent Gallup poll found that only 44 percent of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of his transition — compared with 83 percent for President Obama’s and 61 percent for George W. Bush’s.
Trump has the lowest approval rating of any newly inaugurated president since Gallup started polling. Here how the transition has gone for the last four:
He went on to say:
- America will start winning again, winning like never before.
We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.
We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.
We will get our people off of welfare and back to work — rebuilding our country with American hands and American labour.
He says we will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world, but understand America is first. And understand that America united is unstoppable, especially as God is on our side.
The speech ends pretty much in bilge about the American dream, reminding me of Ozymandias:
- And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
There has been some unseemly discussion about how many people attended the inauguration, as Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer accused the press of “minimising the enormous support” that had turned out for Trump. The ABC showed this instructive comparison with Obama’s 2009 event:
The Washington Metro showed less than half the trips compared to Obama eight years ago.
On Facebook Mark said that as president Trump will be more incoherent than imagined.
- There’s no point ascribing logic to his discourse because it has no grounding in truth or reality. This is what anti-politics looks like.
Stephen Bush at the New Statesman says Donald Trump’s inauguration signals the start of a new and more unstable era:
- For close to a century, the United States of America has been the world’s paramount superpower, one motivated by, for good and for bad, a rational and predictable series of motivations around its interests and a commitment to a rules-based global order, albeit one caveated by an awareness of the limits of enforcing that against other world powers.
We are now entering a period in which the world’s paramount superpower is neither led by a rational or predictable actor, has no commitment to a rules-based order, and to an extent it has any guiding principle, they are those set forward in Donald Trump’s inaugural: “we will follow two simple rules: hire American and buy American”, “from this day forth, it’s going to be America first, only America first”.
That means that the jousting between Trump and China will only intensify now that he is in office. The possibility not only of a trade war, but of a hot war, between the two should not be ruled out.
Zack Beauchamp says Trump’s inaugural address showed that he’s serious about his radical foreign policy. The Guardian reports that the Chinese media warns of ‘dramatic changes’ and discord after Trump’s inaugural speech.
If push comes to shove in the South China Sea, it’s hard to see the Chinese backing down.
Now less than an hour after the inauguration, the White House climate web page simply disappeared.
This is not good.