It used to be that a newly elected president or prime minister had to complete 100 days in office before you could draw a relatively safe conclusion about their intentions. Not so with Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States. One could say that everything takes place at nearly internet speed. After all, it’s online (and especially on Twitter, which seems tailored to his temperament) that Trump codifies his delicate thoughts before announcing them to the rest of the world – which is not just the American people.
So his first 10 days in power were enough to reveal the style and moral character of a man who operates with the same hazardous simplicity and intellectual shallowness whether he is running a reality TV show or the world’s biggest superpower. Trump’s executive order on Friday to bar Syrian refugees and suspend travel to the United States from seven Asian and African (mainly Muslim) countries exposed (more clearly than his obsession with building a wall on the Mexican border, with Mexican money) the direction in which he wants to pull the globe: That is, toward a culture of irresponsibility (i.e. Washington will advance American interests around the world, without taking into account the consequences of its warmongering policy on local populations), bigotry, nationalist isolationism and zero solidarity (in the name of Christianity).
Any limits set by Trump’s predecessor at the White House, Barack Obama – ranging from the maximum number of refugee admissions to the Paris agreement on greenhouse gas emissions – are now being swept aside, together with basic healthcare for the uninsured. That would explain why Trump is already facing opposition not just from the usual suspects (activists, journalists, celebrities and so on) but also judges (such as the one who blocked the deportation of those detained under the executive order), Republican Party politicians, international leaders (Canada, Mexico and some Europeans), and a growing number of “anonymous” Americans.
Although he received about 3 million fewer votes than Democratic rival Hillary Clinton (which has fed his fixation that he is the victim of ballot manipulation), Trump is still an elected president. We had been warned about his intentions. But Trump is not the leader of some insignificant nation on the global periphery, but a country whose decisions will affect the fate of many other countries. The culture of accountability concerns each and every politician, particularly the leader of a superpower whose words frighten us equally whether they are written or spoken.