Donald Trump. For most people, the name conjures up a similar set of connotations: brash, boastful, out of control, racist. Whether rightly or wrongly, the British media portrays the President of the United States in an overwhelmingly negative way. Is this portrayal justified, or another example of how the media can shape how we as people think?
Trump the bad
First of all, the more ‘popular’ view of Trump. I am justified in saying that the majority of UK citizens dislike the president; a recent ComRes poll found that 53% of us think that he will be a ‘bad president’ compared to just 15% who disagree. Meanwhile, 66% of us agree that ‘Trump as president makes the world a more dangerous place’, while only 10% disagreed.
So why do we Brits hate him so much?
At first glance it doesn’t really seem like a very difficult question to answer. Following Trump’s promise that he would ban all Muslim immigration to the United States if he became president, almost 600,000 people signed a petition lobbying for him to be banned from entering the UK.
As well as racism, the President has been regularly accused of sexism, particularly during the presidential campaign. In October, a tape emerged of him making sexist remarks about actress Adrianne Sucker. Trump told Billy Bush, a television host, that he “did try and f*ck her”. This wasn’t an isolated incident: at the Republican candidate’s rallies supporters regularly chanted the words “Kill the b*tch.” A jibe at rival candidate Hillary Clinton, whilst this wasn’t directly Trump’s fault it shows the sort of attitudes that Trump’s campaign indirectly encouraged.
If you’re looking at things from a more political point of view, before coming into office Donald Trump had absolutely no political experience. Unsurprisingly, this has led to many questioning his ability to hold the most powerful position in America. In addition, Trump has promised to cut corporation taxes in order to try and stimulate economic growth. The problem here is that many believe that he has failed to consider how he will pay for the resulting decrease in public money.
To summarise, the majority of Trump’s critics focus on both his un-presidential personality and also his questionable policies. However, most will agree that it’s the former which has attracted so much bad press for him here in the UK.
Trump the good
But what about the other side of the argument? With the president blasting the media in recent weeks over ‘fake news’, is it true that we don’t hear enough about the good things that Trump is doing?
Let’s start with the travel ban. Made into legislation with an executive order, the ban involved refusing entry to anyone arriving from seven Muslim-majority countries. In actual fact, this was a watered-down version of Trump’s original Muslim ban (although many would argue that it’s still very radical), a policy that the American public knew about, and still voted for. It could be contended that the president is just doing what he was voted in to do.
Throughout the presidential campaign Trump was regularly criticised for his brash outbursts on Twitter. Following his election, this didn’t seem to change.
Then, after American car manufacturer General Motors announced its intention to relocate some of its factories across the border into Mexico, the then president-elect tweeted,
‘General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze […] across the border. Make in U.S.A. or pay big border tax!’
Trump was once again dismissed for being too vocal in voicing his opinions. However, just a couple of days later rival car manufacturer Ford, who also had plans to relocate a portion of production to Mexico, announced that it would instead invest $700 million in expanding its existing US plant. Whilst what Trump did was rather unorthodox, surely this is an example of a president using his powers for the good of his people? It may not be particularly ‘politically correct’, but if it has a positive effect that doesn’t really matter.
Then there’s Russia. Although the Cold War officially ended in the early 1990s, it would be fair to say that the Russians and Americans haven’t exactly been best friends since. Whilst the Obama administration opted to take a more cautious stance in regards to Vladimir Putin, some say that it’s time for a US president to finally attempt to make amends with Russia. Arguably the world’s two biggest superpowers, there is a lot that they should be working together on and while it would be foolish to get rid of the NATO alliance there needs to be more of a dialogue between the two nations.
Time and time again over the last couple of years, Trump proved himself to be a highly unorthodox presidential candidate, and is now also proving himself to be a highly unorthodox president. Few could argue that his personality is too showy, and his attitude towards women abhorrent. He is not the sort of role model most American parents want for their children.
However, the president has also shown himself to genuinely want what’s best for his country, and his determination to achieve it is admirable. Does this desirable quality outweigh his foul quirks and opinions? Well, the American people seem to think so. I’m not so sure.