Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Turbulent times for US President Trump

Editor's Viewpoint

Donald Trump being elected US President was not merely a surprise, but a shock - especially to Washington's political elite.

What he managed to do was tap into the disaffected voters who felt neglected by other candidates and previous administrations.

But even his election pales when compared to his presidency, which at times has bordered on the surreal.

His bellicose comments aimed at other world leaders, his scrapping of the US commitment to combat climate change, and hiring and firing senior administration figures has left analysts baffled and often wrong-footed.

However, he is now facing the biggest crisis yet with his former lawyer and campaign chairman being convicted of financial violations.

The former lawyer, Michael Cohen, said payments were made to two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump.

But it is the continuing investigation into the possibility of collusion with Russia to get Trump elected that must weigh most heavily.

He has consistently denied any collusion, and there is no doubt that his most ardent supporters remain firmly behind him and share his view that these are trumped-up allegations and part of a conspiracy to unseat him.

Yet even senior Republicans are unsure what to make of the allegations circulating around the White House.

They are greatly concerned that his Democratic opponents could seize control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives in November's mid-term elections.

In that scenario, it is not beyond possibility that moves could be made to impeach Trump. However, there does not appear - at this time - to be any direct evidence of the President being involved in the level of wrongdoing that would lead to impeachment.

But his behaviour since taking office has not won him any friends in Washington, whatever the rest of the country may think of him.

These are volatile times in the US, and with a President who is impossible to read, the rest of the world looks on in amazement.

With the UK leaving the EU next year, America would be one of the trading partners it would seek to woo.

Trump's protectionist policies are popular with his supporters, and if he was to ratchet them up to ward off opponents, that would make Brexit a painful experience on this side of the Atlantic.

Belfast Telegraph

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