An Election We Won’t Soon Forget. Unfortunately

trumpLa Prensa San Diego Staff

As we bid farewell to 2016, many may feel relieved it’s over, but anxious for the new year to come.
It’s fair to say that not many people expected this year’s presidential election to play out the way it did.
364 days ago, few political pundits depicted that a first-time candidate, businessman, reality star, and controversial candidate in Donald Trump would end up beating 16 experienced Republican politicians for the nomination of their party.
And even fewer predicted Trump would face off against and beat Hillary Clinton in a general election that would surpass all previous campaign spending records at over $1.2 billion.
For many, it took a few weeks for the shock of the election’s outcome to turn into acceptance and, then, into a new hope that Trump would change his tone from combative candidate to responsible president-in-waiting..
But now, just three weeks before Donald Trump becomes President of the United States, no real signs of behavioral changes have emerged; if anything, his attitude has, in some ways, gotten worse.
Take for example, Trump’s distain for the media. During the campaign, Trump regularly criticized the media as “corrupt”, “biased”, and “rigged” in Clinton’s favor.
At the same time, though, Trump criticized Hillary Clinton for not holding press conferences for weeks at a time, claiming she was hiding or avoiding answering tough questions.
Now, it’s Trump that hasn’t held a press conference in over six months, the last having been on July 27th. This week, Trump did step outside of his Miami estate to field a few questions from reporters -hardly a press conference- but his answers were disjointed generalizations, not in anyway clarifying his position on pressing world events. And of all people to be standing with when answering press questions, our future president was joined by former boxing promoter Don King.
Instead of press conferences with reporters, Trump uses Twitter and Facebook to conduct a monologue with the public. Most of his social media messages take shots at President Obama, promote his Cabinet appointments, and even take credit for improvements in the economy since Election Day.
An example of Trump’s self-aggrandizing via Twitter happened this week when he claimed credit for a rise in the monthly consumer confidence report, and closed his tweet with a self-salute.
“Thanks Donald!”, Trump wrote in his own message.
Trump’s thumbs have been busy writing about important political issues even before he takes office, as he did this week in expressing support for Israel in response to last week’s United Nations resolution critical of Israel.
Trump’s position went against the stated position of every US administration in the past 40 years, of either party.
Trump’s tweet clearly contradicted the Obama Administration’s position. His tweet closed with a call for Israel to “stay strong” until January 20th, implying an imminent shift in American positioning in the Middle East when he becomes President.
Never before have we had, in effect, two Presidents offering opposing views: the President currently in the Oval Office, and a President-elect sending out tweets in the middle of the night.
Some may argue Trump’s midnight tweets are harmless, but his random rants can cause economic and political storms.
Two weeks ago, Trump, for unknown reasons, tweeted his criticism of the current Boeing contract to design two new Air Force One airplanes to replace the current 30 year-old 747s transporting Presidents.
Trump’s tweet claimed that “costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!”. The result: Boeing’s stock dropped over four percent.
He’s not even President yet, hasn’t read the contract, and doesn’t have authority to unilaterally renegotiate or cancel a contract approved by Congress, but Trump jumped right into a fight with one of the country’s largest defense contractors.
Trump also doesn’t seem to realize that even a simple phone call can cause problems around the world.
Just days after the election, Trump’s team orchestrated a call with Taiwan’s President. At first, Trump dismissed it as an inbound, congratulatory call, but it was
later revealed to be a planned interaction.
The problem is that, for nearly 30 years, no US president has had direct contact with the Taiwanese president because China considers it a rogue China territory.
China has already expressed displeasure with the call and may take retaliatory economic or political steps in the future.
In the six weeks since the election, Donald Trump hasn’t yet shown any moderation in his tone, actions, or views.
It’s been said that presidents shape the office, and the office shapes the president.
Maybe Trump will be shaped
by the magnitude of the office when he finally sits behind the President’s desk and comes to grips with the weight of the job.
If not, the world will be in for seismic shifts as Trump molds the American presidency into some- thing unlike anything we’ve ever seen. For better or for worse.
Only time will tell, so we must wait and see how the drama of the new American president unfolds.
For now, Happy New Year and best wishes for a brighter new year.

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