Immediately after the results of the Unites States mid-term elections nearly two weeks ago, President Donald Trump, declared them as a “tremendous success”. Undoubtedly for him and the Republican Party, having won the majority seats in the Senate – the upper chamber of Congress – the pressing threat of his being impeached, had receded.
Even then, the Democrats had won the majority of the House of Representatives – the lower chamber. It meant a probable stalemate in the control of the legislation, but slightly in favour of the “Blue Wave”. As much as it had not translated to a “tidal wave”, the results still pose a threat for Trump’s probable impeachment.
Trump’s reaction was instant. He fired his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. He re-iterated his America First policy with threats to Iran and heightened sanctions. He upped the number of troops to the Mexican border to stem the threat of the Honduras migrants “invasion of the US border”. And he attacked the media as “enemy of the people”. All these and other actions are tending to have an ominous consequence for world peace.
Take the subject of America First policy: Trump has gone further to define it as a “nationalist” zeal. At the European ceremony marking the armistice of the ending of the First World War, in Paris, France, last week, European leaders were aghast at this phenomenon, linking it with Hitlerite fascism and Stalinist communism, intransigent ideologies that brought about World War Two.
Hopefully, this will not translate to a “new era” of tensions with other countries. It is still merely a hope, when one considers the ramification of the poll. By sacking Sessions, Trump was gunning for the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, and the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential poll. He has been constantly criticizing Sessions of “not doing enough” to limit the inquiry.
This touches directly on Trump. There is now apparent evidence that he instructed his son-in-law, Jaired Kushner, to deal with the Russians to cyber hack the Hillary Clinton campaign. As a replacement for Sessions, Trump has brought in Matthew Whittaker, who says that the Mueller probe has no authority to delve into Trump’s blatant attempt of obstruction of justice, tax evasion or conflict of interest. Instead, Whittaker wants the whole matter to be handled by Senate. This is well-knowing that, with the Republican control, the likelihood is that it will veto any investigation into Trump’s mischief.
If Whittaker sacks Mueller, there is a fear that this may lead to a constitutional crisis requiring the matter to be interpreted by the Supreme Court. Again here, Trump seems to have an advantage with the recent Senate approval of his nominee to the court, Brett Kavanaugh. The majority conservative court would rule in favour of Trump.
Still Trump is not out of the woods yet, in regards to legislation. The lower chamber that initiates the legislation has the control of the Democrats which will be headed by the no-nonsense Nancy Pelosi. She is authoritative in the important committees which will look into Obamacare, that trump had tried to veto; infrastructure; and, more jobs. Much as Trump is claiming that he is the architect of the improvement of the infrastructure and the creation of more jobs, the Democrats are saying that he is a “liar’ who is simply taking advantage of the mothball that the Barack Obama presidency created.
Even then, Trump will claim victory for himself, when Congress sits to pass the legislation on these bills to say that it was a victory for bipartisanship; which will translate to a plus for his presidency: that is the reason he claimed that the mid-term poll was a tremendous success for the Republicans. Yet, unless Trump and Pelosi agree on all issues, it will not be long before they lock horns.
An area where this is looming is in “fake news”, Trump is treating the media as the enemy and trying to harass the Press into submission. It came out clearly in his last White House press conference where he lambasted the Cable News Network (CNN) reporter, Jimmy Acosta.
Wanting a White House aide to snatch away the microphone from Acosta, Trump accused him of being “rude and terrible” and not fit to be a CNN worker. Acosta stood his ground. Trump clearly wants the press to carry only his message, which the Press, and now the Democrats, view as in itself, fake. The Democrats are saying that Trump should let the press do its job while he does his.
By so doing Trump wants to smother all attempts to hold him to account. He is not likely to succeed as the media is trumping up an investigation, especially into his tax evasion and the Russian connection. On this note, the House of Representatives is likely to carry a vote for his impeachment.