TRUMPets or TRUMPed - Only Time Can Tell

Donald Trump will take office today (20th January, 2017) as the 45th President of the United States of America. A long way from his first verbal expression of the desire to lead the nation, the new republican President has fared through one of the strangest US elections the world has ever seen.

Mr. Donald Trump won the general election on November 8, 2016, against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. At age 70, he will become the oldest and wealthiest person to assume the presidency, the first without prior military or governmental service and the fifth elected with less than 50% of the national popular vote.

The victory of Donald Trump surprised virtually all political observers.

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Fig1. - The 2016 US presidential election: Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech after winning

Trump has had a persistently high popularity among the republicans but has donated money to people in both the Republican and the Democratic parties.

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Fig2. - Melania Trump & Barron Trump watch on, as Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech after winning the 2016 US presidential election

Since the 1988 presidential election, Trump has been in discussion as one among the potential candidate for President in nearly every election. However after years of fluctuation between parties Trump finally announced his formal candidacy on June’ 2015. Trump additionally declared that he would self-fund his presidential campaign, and would refuse any money from donors and lobbyists.

What remains to be assessed is how the new President will affect a post –Brexit Britain in terms of trade relations, foreign policy, immigration and the economy.

The effect of the new Trump presidency has been debated all over the world, amongst US allies as well as enemies. As a Presidential candidate Trump emphasized to deal domestic issues such as illegal immigration, off shoring of American jobs, the U.S. national debt, and Islamic terrorism.

But in his addressing speech to the audience, he gave a set of contradictory statements that puzzled the rest of the world about his stand on foreign policies and trade agreements but resonated with the majority of the American public who voted in his favour in the general elections.

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Fig3. -Trump at an early campaign event in New Hampshire

He has made it clear through his campaign that his agenda will be to ‘put America first’, the campaign slogan being "Make America Great Again".

Though this may mean a better economy for the United States, the rest of the world is still puzzled at the long term consequences of the re-adjustments the new President wishes to make to the foreign policy.

Donald Trump on foreign policy

The question remains whether he, as president, would automatically extend security guarantees to NATO members especially after he suggests that he might leave NATO unless changes are made to the alliance. Trump has called for Japan to pay for the costs of American troops stationed there and that it might need to develop nuclear weapons in order to protect itself from North Korea.

Some of his proposals came under scrutiny by several experts on immigration who have questioned the effectiveness and affordability of his plans. Trump vows to build a more substantial wall on the Mexico–United States border to keep out illegal immigrants, a wall which Trump promises Mexico will pay for. He pledged to massively deport illegal immigrants residing in the United States and criticized birthright citizenship as it creates "anchor babies".

Following the November 2015 Paris attacks, Trump made a controversial proposal to completely ban Muslims from entering the United States until proper filtering could be implemented. He later clarified that this proposal would only be applicable to the non citizens of the same religion.

UK-US relationship

The UK faced a sad circumstance when the former President Barack Obama urged the voters in Britain to vote against the separation from the European Union and said that UK will move to the “back of the queue” in further trade deals.

He also denied that USA and UK shared any ‘special relationship’ that many Presidents before him had emphasized upon. Historically, the UK was highly important for the US but now the situation is very different.

Trump, however has made it clear that he looks forward to working with Britain. A post-Brexit Britain was supported by Trump who said that the UK would be “better off” without the European Union. He also said that he would offer the UK a quick and fair trade deal. As the UK exports £30 billion worth of goods and services to the US every year- it is an important market for us, even more important than the exports to Germany and China. The access to the American market is significant for our economy and if Trump stands by his words, we would stay out of trouble.

It is often seen that the promises of Presidential candidates during the elections and the actions they undertake in their Presidential terms vary widely. So, though it may seem to be good news for Britain’s trade relations with the US, we cannot be sure until actual policies are made in the States. Also, it can be expected that the foreign policies will be far more expansionist, aggressive and reactive than the ones we have seen in the past eight years.

An important topic that Trump has emphasized on has been about boosting the market by bringing in huge tax-cuts and deregulation. If this does work (though historical evidence points otherwise) Americans will end up having more money to spend. This money can then be expended on British goods, services, and even vacations,which may lead to rocketing exports from Britain and benefiting our economy in return.

Another matter of concern for Britain is the economy after Trump. If the new President’s policy of aggressive tax cuts does not work, the economy may collapse. If the market in America is destabilized and the value of the dollar crashes, this will have a negative effect on economies all over the world, including Britain which would lose its export market in the USA. It is in the entire world’s interest that the world’s largest economy stays healthy.

Other controversies

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Fig4. - When asked what you can probably do to women when you're a star

"Grab them by the pussy" –the last straw that had captured Mr Donald Trump uttering five words – during an off-camera discussion with former actor host Billy Bush when asked what you can probably do to women when you're a star.

Hence the thought that a man with Trump’s values and behavior could become the President was, to many, unbelievable.

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Fig5. - Trump supporters in Pennsylvania

But his victory did prove that he and the major section of voters who elected him cannot be overlooked.

So, let’s wish him luck and hope for the best!

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