The first 100 days of Donald Trump’s presidency have been characterized by three worrying aspects which, if things do not change, could mar the rest of his time in office: improvisation, unpredictability and uncertainty.
Trump has seen three of his main projects fail, in large part due to a lack of preparation and realism when it comes to converting gleaming promises made on the campaign trail into effective policies.
On two occasions his controversial immigration measures have been stopped in their tracks by the courts, and this is without factoring in the added context of the bitter confrontation with the Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates who was fired days after Trump took office after reminding the president that the Constitution trumps his every whim. After withdrawing the policy, due to the administrative chaos generated by its rushed nature, Trump presented a new plan. Once again it was, and remains to this day, blocked by the federal courts. Subsequently, the president attempted to dismantle his predecessor’s health care reforms and replace them with his own. However, this did not even have the backing of his own party and was not voted on in Congress. He has also failed to secure funds to build his controversial wall with Mexico.
Populism has its limitations and it is not surprising that a millionaire from New York has the lowest approval rating in decades (43 percent) in the first days of his presidency.
On top of this, Trump has introduced an element into his form of governing that goes against all established traditions and goes over the heads of even his own team – his personal Twitter account. During long nights in front of the TV, as he himself has revealed, he likes to take to social media. He uses it to threaten North Korea, to pressure the automobile industry, to attack the press, to criticize allies like Germany and to argue with the actor and ex-governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. In reality, there is no telling what the president is going to say when he logs onto Twitter. He should not forget – as he appears to often do – that his every word is heard in the markets, the Department of Defense and in various other departments the world over.
However, without a doubt one of the most destabilizing elements of Trump’s time in office has been the uncertainty surrounding the decision-making process. After 100 days in the White House the majority of the world’s regimes – allies and enemies alike – remain in the dark as to who says what and when. The debate over Ivanka Trump’s true role and that of her husband, whose businesses are flourishing at the same time as he is in public office, rumbles on. The same goes for military figures named in key posts in the administration like James Mattis as secretary of defense, and National Security Advisor Herbert Raymond McMaster.
Given this insight into the administration, Donald Trump’s admission in a recent interview that “I thought it would be easier” is both revealing and alarming. No one ever claimed it would be easy, save for the man himself during the election campaign.