US Elections 2016

President Trump in charge? It's a frightening thought

Trump supporters at a campaign rally in Concord, New Hampshire, in January.
Trump supporters at a campaign rally in Concord, New Hampshire, in January.PHOTO: REUTERS
Trump supporters at a campaign rally in Concord, New Hampshire, in January.
Mr Donald Trump

Even he is unsure how nation will adjust to his early days in power

NEW YORK • Mr Donald Trump is now the presumptive Republican nominee for the US presidency, but many Americans are anxious, even scared, about the idea of him running the country. His likely opponent in the November election, Democrat Hillary Clinton, this week called him a "loose cannon".

Even Mr Trump himself is not sure how a deeply divided nation would adjust to his first 100 days in the White House. In recent interviews, he sketched out plans that include showdowns with business leaders over jobs and key roles for military generals, executives and possibly even family members.

On Inauguration Day on Jan 20, he said he would go to a "beautiful" gala ball or two, but focus mostly on carrying out his radical vision of how to remake America - rescinding President Barack Obama's executive orders on immigration and calling up corporate executives to threaten punitive measures if they move jobs out of the United States.

By the end of his first 100 days as the 45th leader of the US, Mr Trump insisted that a wall with Mexico would be designed, an immigration ban on Muslims would be in place, an audit of the Federal Reserve would be under way and plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act would be in motion.

"I know people aren't sure right now what a President Trump will be like," he said. "But things will be fine," he said. "I'm not running for president to make things unstable for the country."

He talked of turning the Oval Office into a high-powered boardroom, empowering military leaders over foreign affairs specialists in national security debates, and continuing to speak harshly about adversaries.

ASSURING WORDS

I know people aren't sure right now what a President Trump will be like. But things will be fine. I'm not running for president to make things unstable for the country.

MR DONALD TRUMP

"As president, I'll be working from the first day with my vice-president and staff to make clear that America will be changing in major ways for the better," Mr Trump said in a telephone interview last Saturday. "We can't afford to waste time. I want a vice-president who will help me have a major impact quickly on Capitol Hill, and the message will be clear to the nation and to people abroad that the American government will be using its power differently."

But he acknowledged that he might face significant and incessant protests - even thousands of demonstrators massing on the National Mall in Washington, DC as he takes the oath of office.

"I know everyone won't like everything I do, but I'm not running to be everyone's favourite president," Mr Trump said. "Things are seriously wrong in this country. People are hurting, business is hurting. I'm running to move quickly to make big changes."

Mr Trump pledged to deliver on his campaign promises, even if they prove disruptive or explosive.

As for which foreign leader he would call first as president, he said: "They would not necessarily be a priority.

"We have to take a tougher stand with foreign countries," he said. "We're like the policemen of the world right now. So I wouldn't be calling them up right away and getting more entangled."

Mr Trump did seem aware that his early months could be consumed with trying to win confirmation for his Cabinet and with making appointments throughout the bureaucracy. Even jobs that might seem incidental in a Trump universe, like a US ambassador to the United Nations, have apparently crossed his mind.

"I think about a UN ambassador, about a secretary of defence and secretary of treasury, but I think more about winning first," Mr Trump said.

"Otherwise I'm wasting time."

NEW YORK TIMES

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 06, 2016, with the headline 'President Trump in charge? It's a frightening thought'. Print Edition | Subscribe