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Mark Wignall | Many on tenterhooks as Trump heads for White House

Published:Thursday | January 19, 2017 | 12:00 AM

At midday tomorrow, many of those who had been in denial since Donald Trump won the presidency on November 8, 2016 will have their chance to awaken from the nightmare and face the even scarier reality.

Trump has brought new superlatives to atrocious behaviour unbefitting of any leader. He revels in insulting others, like a schoolyard bully rebelling without a cause. As leader of the world's most powerful country, he comes to the post horribly unprepared but nevertheless sees it as a virtue because, to him, those who fail to see him as a winner are all failures and losers.

Jeb Bush was dead wrong. Donald Trump has indeed insulted his way to the presidency. Nothing has changed since he insulted Mexicans then Muslims then everyone else who was not prepared to lick his boots.

Humanly unable to deal with criticism, he mixes impulsivity with petulance and issues his early-morning screeds in Twitter storms. Could this thing really be happening that a man-boy who sees confrontation and hostility as counterpunching is taking all of those destructive traits to the Oval Office?

It is real and after tomorrow he moves from President-elect Trump to 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, love it or lump it. Each time that he gives an interview or veers off script he fully demonstrates his awful state of unpreparedness. But it is supplanted by another tweet and finding another target to criticise, insult and denigrate. Or just another stream of consciousness.




In President Barack Obama making his departure and giving way to Donald Trump the world will witness the exit of class, decency and the resolve to be a unifying leader of all Americans as it gives way to the crass bully boy who has proven that disunity, like hate, has utility value when applied at the right time to the right people by the most horribly wrong man.

It may still be useful to ask what made just enough Americans do what they did on November 8 last year as it could give us an answer to what positions they will hold four years from now. Already Trump's approval ratings in his transition period is underwater. In other words, some are already beginning to rue the vote they made.

Most of what the world knows about Donald Trump has come through his TV personality and a narcissism that will not allow him to avoid stealing space in everyone's mirror. Michael Moore's assessment that a vote for Trump last November was rural US sticking it to the Establishment still has currency.

Many do not expect that in an age of rapidly increasing automation and urgent environmental realities that their old manufacturing jobs will return or coal will begin to churn out again. To those who will be the chaff in the well-practised game of empty political promise, a vote placed for Trump was their personal shock to the system.

Nothing will happen for us, they muse, but you Establ-ishment people, we will provide you with as much discomfort for four years as we possibly can.

Reports that the incoming president could have been compromised by the Russian state will not go away for now because Trump's openly dis-played trajectory towards Vladimir Putin all throughout his campaign is that they are buddies and would like to firm up the relationship.




Frankly, I am not too concerned at the shenanigans which are always operating between Russia and the US as much as I am seized with Trump's ability to increase global tension by his non-stop tweets.

Already he has interfered in the domestic and international affairs of Germany and seems intent on moving the needle in ensuring that far right parties gain ascendancy there, in France and in the rest of Europe. His pick for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has stated that the US should not allow China to use the islands/atolls they built in the South China Sea. What is that if not sabre-rattling?

After tomorrow, January 20, 2017, the world, if not America, will have ample time to view the Obama years as the time when America tried, unsuccessfully at many times, to be a better version of itself.

Unfortunately, America will also have to grapple with the real possibility of a rightward drift to authoritarianism under Trump.

- Mark Wignall is a political analyst. Email feedback to and