“He’s pissing off everybody with his big brass balls.”
The mainstream media wants you to believe Trump’s first 100 days in office have been a disaster. Courts have repeatedly blocked his immigration executive orders, using his own tweets as evidence that he wanted to instate a Muslim ban. His first attempt at repealing and replacing Obamacare was a comedy of errors. He’s flip-flopped on many of his foreign policy stances, recently telling the Wall Street Journal, “Hey, I’m a nationalist and a globalist.” This week he even admitted to Reuters that he thought the job of president would be easier than it is.
But most of that sort of analysis of Trump’s first 100 days is written by people who didn’t want him to be president to begin with—a category that includes me. So I reached out to a variety of Trump voters to see how they saw his presidency. (Since supporting Trump can be controversial in various workplaces and communities, several subjects asked not to be identified by their full names.) Here’s what they told me:
IT’S TOUGH TO imagine any two human beings more different than Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
One’s black. One’s white. One writes books. One doesn’t read books and may not be sure what books are. One grew up on the periphery of the U.S. empire and it made him deeply cosmopolitan. One grew up in New York City and it made him a provincial hick.
One has the self-control of a 1,000-year-old Zen monk. One responds to any stimulus like an amoeba. One’s a slender athlete. One’s a fleshy endomorph with whorls and folds in his face like a Shar Pei.
But their elections have one critical thing in common: They both came out of NOWHERE to become president, with characteristics that previously would have throttled their chances before they delivered their first speech in Iowa.
There’s no need to recount everything from Trump’s florid life and campaign that sensible people were sure disqualified him. But we’ve forgotten how the sensible people at first saw Obama in much the same way, and for reasons that went far beyond him being African American. He’d been a senator for just two years when he started running and would have to beat the entire party establishment. His father was Muslim. He wasn’t just not named Henry Smith, his middle name was Hussein. He’d even used cocaine, and openly admitted it.
Yet both Obama and Trump vaulted over everyone and everything into the White House. Tens of millions of Americans were willing to place their lives in the hands of political anomalies whose central pitch was that they would deliver profound change. The rise of Bernie Sanders, who’s proven that you can become the most popular politician in the country without owning a comb, demonstrates the same thing.
What does this mean?
South Korea and the United States wrapped up their annual large-scale military drills on Sunday but continued a separate joint naval exercise that has triggered the threat of nuclear war from North Korea.
The USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group arrived in waters near the Korean peninsula and began exercises with the South Korean navy late on Saturday. The South Korean navy declined to say when the exercises would be completed.
North Korea has threatened to sink the American armada.
Tensions on the Korean peninsula have been running sky-high for weeks, with signs the North might be preparing a sixth nuclear weapon test – and with Washington refusing to rule out a military strike in response.
The Trump administration sent mixed signals on North Korea Thursday, as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. is open to direct negotiations with Kim Jong Un’s regime over his country’s nuclear program, while President Trump hinted at a possible nuclear war. Trump made the remark in an interview with the Reuters news service. Trump’s comment came as Secretary of State Tillerson told NPR he’s open to direct talks with North Korea if the country is serious about permanently abandoning its nuclear program. Meanwhile, President Trump told Reuters that South Korea should pay the $1 billion price tag for a THAAD missile defense system the U.S. recently began installing. Trump suggested the U.S. could cancel a free trade deal between the two countries if South Korea doesn’t accept the demand. “I think the president should be talking diplomacy,” says our guest Peter Welch, U.S. Congressman from Vermont. He is Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, “not making a reckless threat of military action where it is going to be very damaging.”
As tensions between the US and North Korea continued on Sunday, Donald Trump said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was “a pretty smart cookie” for managing to hold on to power after taking over at a young age.
“People are saying, ‘Is he sane?’” Trump said, in a wide-ranging interview on CBS’s Face the Nation, held to mark his 100th day in the White House. “I have no idea.”
Trump’s remarks echoed those made controversially to Reuters earlier in the week, when he said: “He’s 27 years old, his father dies, took over a regime, so say what you want but that’s not easy, especially at that age.”
The president was speaking after Pope Francis made an appeal for third-party moderation to avoid “a widespread war [that] would destroy … a good part of humanity”.