The U.S. president, whose popularity is at an all-time low, aggravates division instead of binding up wounds, as he promised the day he was elected. The uneasy Republican Party is keeping its eyes fixed on the 2018 midterm elections. The “Russian affair” could bring an end to Donald Trump’s term.
Trump faces a complicated return to work after a vacation filled with polemics. There was his ambiguous attitude toward white supremacists after the Charlottesville drama, the cascade of resignations among his various councils, and finally the firing of his controversial adviser Stephen Bannon.
But the weeks to come don’t seem like they’ll be any better, judging from the rumblings on the street. Ever more isolated, the U.S. president will confront crucial issues − the 2018 budget, tax reform, and the health care debate, to name a few examples − that promise fierce battles in Congress.
To make matters worse, his reputation as an impulsive, angry president, unpredictable and devoid of all moral authority, sticks to his skin like a too-small Halloween costume. The question of the moment is thus: Who can stop him?
Congress? Trump’s flagship promise, the repeal of former President Barack Obama's health care law and its replacement by new health care reform, has stalled. It has put Republicans’ divisions in the spotlight. If Sen. Bob Corker dares to say that the president has not yet demonstrated that he has “the stability, nor some of the competence ... to be successful,” the majority of Republicans still prefer to pretend to work with him.
They do so in the name of ideological solidarity. And especially because the 2018 midterm elections are coming. Republicans hold majorities in the two houses and in the White House, and they are planning on keeping it that way, despite the slights and rebuffs coming from the commander in chief.
His entourage? The firings come one after the next. With the eviction of “alt-right”* champion Stephen Bannon, the White House, split by a ferocious clan war, should regain some unity. Creating a united team is the main mission of the new chief of staff, John Kelly. But Trump still needs to listen to his advisers.
The Justice System?
The justice system? The courts have played an effective counterpoint in the debate over the anti-Muslim executive order. The Supreme Court, composed of a majority of conservative justices, eventually authorized a partial implementation of the controversial order.
The investigation into the “Russian affair?” Everything depends on the perseverance of the special counsel, Robert Mueller. But this is the issue that is capable of triggering impeachment procedures. If he feels that he is in danger, Trump may decide to quit his post of his own volition, rather than undergo a major humiliation.
The day he was elected, Trump said: “Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans.” It is clear that the wounds are still there, and they’re gaping.
*Editor’s note: The "alt-right" is defined as an offshoot of conservatism mixing racism, white nationalism, anti-Semitism, and populism, or more simply, a white nationalist movement.