During the presidential campaign, then candidate Trump made wide ranging, radical promises and pronouncements whose sole purpose was to excite and rally his support base. To his credit, he executed this strategy very well. That’s how he ended up at the white house with his supporters in lockstep.
In his abrasive fashion, Trump preached that the obnoxious Washington mob was, and many of his supporters bought it, the reason for everything that is wrong with America. He railed against Wall Street and promised to ‘drain the swamp’ that is Washington if elected president.
His other key promises were to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act commonly referred to as Obama Care on day one in office, block immigration of Muslims to America, build a big wall between the US and Mexico, roll out an iron fist strategy that will wipe out the radical Islamist group ISIS from the face of the earth in one swoop, label China a currency manipulator and fix taxation.
Trump never passed up an opportunity to spruik his credentials as a consummate deal maker, a tough and skilled negotiator who will get things done and done quickly if elected to the highest political office. All this largely based on his self acclaimed business acumen.
As we approach the 100 day mark of his presidency, none of the signature policies the president promised have been implemented. His administration is far from the ‘fine-tuned machine’ he described it to be. It remains a presidency struggling to register any real victory in the policy front.
Trump’s presidency commenced with the disastrous, chaotic and amateurish implementation of his signature immigration policy via an executive order. The executive order was swiftly struck down by several courts.
This wasn’t Trump’s finest hour and his words during the presidential campaign were coming back to haunt him. The second iteration of the executive order remains bogged down in court and is the subject of an appeal.
Trump’s administration then quickly switched attention to the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act also known as Obama Care, another of Trump’s core campaign promise.
Well, what a disaster that turned out to be. Trump the deal maker was supposed to use his charm and negotiating skills to ensure passage of the legislation in congress. Instead, what was on display throughout the process was Trump the bully, absolutely lacking masterly in political negotiations.
In the end, voting to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act never happened. The house speaker Paul Ryan pulled the pin on the legislation in the eleventh hour. The bill never saw the light of day. This was yet another shemozzle by the Trump administration in very quick succession.
The next item on Trump’s agenda it appears is tax reforms. In my opinion, this probably stands as one of the most complex issues and one that might end up consuming his administration and threaten his presidency given the questions he is facing regarding his finances and business connections.
His hypocritical rants about draining the swamp have come to pass. A number of his close advisers are either his relatives, drawn from the corporate world or former Wall Street operatives. How is this for draining the swamp?
On global issues, it is clear now that Trump, through his myopic prism of viewing the world woefully underestimated how incredibly complex issues like global security, global alliances and trade can be. In a short span of time, Trump has changed his view on China which he planned to label a currency manipulator on day one of his presidency.
Faced with an unstable and belligerent North Korean leadership spoiling for war, the value of a global alliance in NATO and other powers like China in confronting and taming the rogue North Korea regime as well as fighting ISIS and other radical terrorist groups around the world is now becoming apparent to the Trump administration.
A lesson for voters
As evidenced by these examples, the Trump administration has had to back pedal on several of its campaign promises. Call it political expediency or about face, this has been a stunning reversal of promises he made and positions he took on various issues during the presidential campaign, the basis upon which he was elected president.
This should perhaps serve as a timely reminder for Kenyans to take promises and pronouncements by politicians during the ongoing campaigns leading up to the August elections with a grain of salt, all the while cognisant and alive to the fact that they might very well be just that, empty promises and grand pronouncements.
Voters need to be much more discerning to sieve and distil half truths and straight forward lies. What some political leaders are presenting is nothing but political rhetoric weaved in empty promises unlikely ever to be fulfilled.
Kenyans should pencil in the August elections as an opportunity to relentlessly hold to very high standards individuals seeking positions of responsibility and only elect leaders with demonstrable moral courage, principles and conviction to change the country for the better.