UNPRECEDENTED political controversies abound as the United States proceeds with arrangements for the inauguration next week of its new president, billionaire Donald Trump, a newcomer to governance politics in the world’s sole superpower.
Trump’s cabinet—whose members’ records and characters are now being scrutinised by the US congress prior to confirmation—comprises the single biggest-ever group of billionaires and millionaires in the history of governance in the US.
For his part, Barack Obama, with his customary dignity as America’s first African-American president, is busy with farewell events. Nevertheless, he has found it politically and morally prudent to publicly observe that the presidency of the US should not be a family affair.
This poignant observation by a politician well versed in the functioning of good, clean democratic governance, and noted for his academic qualifications, came—without any name-calling—against the backdrop of the many members of Trump’s family who are involved in the shaping of the president-elect’s cabinet and making diplomatic and other key political appointments and some of whom are themselves expected to get top positions in the new administration.
Having one’s wife, children and in-laws involved in such a process is not known to be the standard in the shaping of a new government by an incoming US president, whether Democrat or Republican.
Such a family-created governing administration in our little Caribbean or anywhere in the vast community of nations, would be immediately frowned upon, ridiculed or worse.
Not so, it appears, in this time of Trumpism. Having billions of dollars can secure people major appointments.
Also very intriguing is the crucial factor of hacking by the Russians of the computers of Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, a former first lady, senator and secretary of state—executed by Moscow with direct involvement of president Vladimir Putin.
Amid the escalating war of words, particularly following the announcement by President Obama of sanctions against Russia, Mr Trump praised Mr Putin’s decision not to take retaliatory action, declaring he always knew that the Russian leader was “a smart guy...”
So in 2017, with Trump as America’s new president and Putin remaining the strongman in Russia, meddling in America’s presidential election to undermine Hillary Clinton gets a pat on the back from Trump, prime beneficiary of the hacking fiasco.
Welcome to the new, if messy and worrying governance politics in the US as Trump and Putin continue to scoff at condemnation of the hacking.
Until later, then, while plans proceed for Trump’s inauguration as America’s 45th president, and possibly for a “friendship” visit to Washington by Putin whom he “always knew to be a smart guy...”
What a world, in this time of politics dominated by billionaires who themselves are locked into an administration with the unmistakeably strong influence of well-placed Trump family members.