It’s normal that presidents clash with their political opponents and have friction with other countries. What is not normal is the divisiveness, intensity, level of danger, and sometimes banality of the conflicts created by the new president of the United States. However, Donald is not a normal ruler.
Presidents often enjoy a period of high popularity at the start of their term. Trump, on the other hand, has the lowest approval rating ever registered in those opinion polls. Attempts to make his main promises a reality are sinking; he confronts threatening criminal investigations by the members of his team, and has not managed to fill the vacancies that would provide him with good management. The information leaks that leave the White House are incessant. China is rapidly occupying the spaces of global leadership that the United States is abandoning, and Putin’s Russia is trying to influence the European elections as much as it did the American presidential election.
In light of this, one would think that Trump would look to stabilize the situation, build alliances, and not open new fronts. But the president is doing everything to the contrary. These are three of Donald Trump’s main battles.
Against his own party: All political parties have factions, and the Republicans are no exception. Their internal divisions impeded the approval of the bill that would have dismantled the health reform driven by Barack Obama. Trump’s reaction? “We should fight them,” referring to the members of his party that were not in favor of his proposal. Even though both parties will make an effort to show that they have overcome their differences, the reality will show that these divisions have lasting effects. Trump’s war against those who do not support his initiatives will not disappear, even if it implies openly fighting the leaders of his party.
Against the intelligence agencies: The U.S. intelligence services employ more than 100,000 people who work in 17 different organizations. Even though friction has existed in the past between this community and the White House, the conflict has never before been so strong. Trump has said that these agencies are as dishonest as the news media and disseminate false news. He has also called them “Nazis.”* For their part, the intelligence agencies issued a report whose conclusion is that the Kremlin influenced the U.S. election, and that Vladimir Putin has a clear preference for Trump. James Comey, director of the FBI, has confirmed that his organization is investigating the possible collusion of members of Trump’s team with Russian intelligence agents during the election campaign.
Against the central bank of the U.S., the Federal Reserve: This battle hasn’t begun yet, but it is coming. Presidents like interest rates to be rather low, which usually stimulates consumption, economic activity and employment. But if the economy is “overheating” the fiscal debt rises, the money flows and prices begin to rise; it is the duty of the White House to increase interest rates in order to mitigate the risks of high inflation and other economic ills. When he was still a candidate, the current president had already expressed his opinion of the chair of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen. “She should be ashamed of herself,” Trump said. Why? Because Yellen declared that maybe there would be a hike in interest rates.
These three are internal wars, but Trump’s pugnacity also manifests itself in the international relations of his country. The biggest danger is that his internal defeats motivate him to seek out fights. He will not be the first leader of a country that uses external conflicts to distract from his internal problems. Putin can give you a lesson in that.
*Editor’s note: Trump complained about intelligence agencies allowing the leak of allegations that Russian intelligence services had incriminating evidence on Trump, tweeting, “Are we living in Nazi Germany?”
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