Turmoil, legal woes define Trump's White House debut

Trump's shoot-from-the-hip approach to high office has fired up a despondent political opposition with a new sense of purpose as huge segments of US society rally in "resistance" to his presidency.

Turmoil, legal woes define Trump's White House debut

World Bulletin / News Desk

A pile-up of controversies, sliding poll numbers, splinters within his own camp and a stinging setback in the courts: Donald Trump probably dreamed of a more triumphant debut in the White House.

The 70-year-old businessman and political novice wrapped up his third week in the Oval Office with a bruising defeat after the courts upheld a freeze on his travel ban targeting refugees and travelers from seven mostly-Muslim nations -- his most emblematic measure to date.

Millions of Americans have filled the streets in protest at his plans to "make America great again," while his brash forays into global diplomacy have rattled key allies from Australia to Germany.

When Trump delivered his election victory speech in November, it seemed -- for a fleeting moment -- he would work to pull the country back together after a bitterly divisive campaign.

It has since become clear that Trump has chosen to speak to the loyal base of Americans who backed his insurgent bid for the White House -- and to them alone.

That decision is grounded in the unflinching support Trump still enjoys among his core supporters, even as his approval rating among Americans at large sits at record lows.

As political strategies go, it's a risky one -- all the more so since he is now locked in what is sure to be an arduous legal battle over his clampdown on immigration in the name of national security.

Thursday's decision by an appellate court in San Francisco, upholding a lower court suspension on the controversial decree, was a major blow to the president.

The case is now likely to wind up before the Supreme Court.

Trump's camp was at pains to stress -- with reason -- that the ruling concerned only the temporary stay on his executive order, not the constitutionality of the ban itself.

But it carries heavy symbolic weight, as does the fact that the appellate panel's three judges were appointed both by Republican and Democratic leaders: Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

"SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!" a defiant Trump quickly tweeted after the ruling, in one of the all-caps tweets he uses to convey anger and exasperation.


 Trump is far from the first US president to be thwarted by the courts.

But his angry, personal response to the ruling -- and his virulent attacks on the judiciary in the run-up to it -- have astonished even observers accustomed to his daily Twitter outbursts targeting everyone from political foes to the media to television celebrities.

In a New York Times editorial entitled "Trump's Leading Rivals Wear Robes," Charles Blow recalled that Obama had also spoken out strongly against a 2010 Supreme Court ruling that paved the way for unlimited political spending by corporations.

Obama was brutally criticized at the time, even though his objections were confined to "the ruling itself and not impugning in any way the character or qualifications of the justices who rendered it," Blow noted.

"But it is impossible to argue that his judicial rebuke, which looks quaint in retrospect, comes anywhere close to the venom Donald Trump is spewing at the judicial branch," he wrote.

"The only courts or press that Trump sees as legitimate are those that bow to his will."

 'Larger man inside?' 

After the real estate mogul's upset win over Hillary Clinton, Obama was at pains to stress -- perhaps to reassure a shell-shocked Democratic camp -- that the sheer gravity of the world's most powerful job necessarily changed a man.

One thing is certain at this point: so far, the presidency has not changed Trump.

At least part of his White House team seems determined to replicate word-for-word the recipe that propelled Trump to victory, rolled out in rally after giant rally from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania.

"Part of the reason the president got elected is because he speaks his mind," White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Thursday. "He doesn't hold it back, he's authentic, and he's not going to sit back."

It remains to be seen whether the turmoil of Trump's first three weeks in power -- and the small but growing number of dissenting voices in his Republican camp -- will lead him to change course, or adapt his tone.

For the writer and long-time US radio host Garrison Keillor, the answer is in little doubt.

"What we know so far is that the man is who he is," Keillor wrote recently in The Chicago Tribune. "There is no larger, finer man inside him trying to get out." 

"Everyone who is paying attention knows this."


Güncelleme Tarihi: 11 Şubat 2017, 11:02