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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Distant memories of the campaign trail

There are many examples of politicians overreaching themselves on the campaign trail, making promises that prove to be impossible to keep, or miscalculating the deliver-ability of a particular policy, but I think it is safe to say that as in so many other matters, Donald Trump has broken the mould on that one too.

Will the great wall of Mexico ever be built along the shores of the Rio Grande? Can he really set up a register of Muslims, the fastest growing religion in the United States? And what about Obamacare? Has he already signalled a retreat on that promise too?

Ultimately, the pledges that are most difficult to deliver are those caught up in the rhetoric of the campaign, when Trump threw caution to the wind and sought to be as outrageous as possible to maximise his publicity and energise his core support. Now, he has started to row back from some of those positions.

The Independent reports that the President-elect has backed down on his vow to appoint a special prosecutor to probe Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. This has apparently disappointed many of his supporters who genuinely thought that he would do it.

And now there has been a second, equally fundamental u-turn on climate change evidenced in an interview with reporters and columnists of The New York Times. Trump told them that he accepted some possibility of “connectivity” between global warming and human activity and signaled he may after all embrace the new international treaty on emissions.

The paper says that Mr Trump predicted his supporters would get over their disappointment because 'his administration would “save our country” in other ways. That sentiment is unlikely to mollify Judicial Watch, a right wing group that seeks to influence the country’s legal landscape.

“It would be a betrayal of his promise to the American people to 'drain the swamp' of out-of-control corruption in Washington,” it fulminated later on Tuesday. “President-elect Trump should focus on healing the broken justice system, affirm the rule of law and appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Clinton scandals.”'

Trump hasn't even taken office yet and already he is acknowledging the reality of power. The problem is that there is still a substantial list of excesses to be put into place. We can only hope that his penchant for u-turns continues.
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