Pot, pink hats & POTUS …Washington Diary by Arun Kumar
The new sheriff in town declared he could be the most presidential of all chiefs before him perhaps with the exception of Honest Abe, but then who would get things done! With that salute to America’s Civil War icon Abraham Lincoln, Donald Trump, now the President of the United States (POTUS), launched an all out (un)civil war keeping media in the bull’s eye.
Even as he thanked Barack Obama for a “beautiful” and “thoughtful” letter left in his Oval Office drawer, the Donald with a flurry of executive orders took the wrecking ball to his predecessor’s policies from immigration to trade.
Ticking off his campaign promises, a fast and furious Trump signed a score of orders in seven days to pull America out of two major trade treaties, started dismantling Obama’s signature healthcare law and moved to build that big beautiful wall on the border with Mexico.
He threatened to send the Feds to Chicago if Obama’s adoptive hometown failed to check violence and cut federal funds to hundreds of sanctuary cities, including the national capital, that harbour illegal immigrants in defiance of Washington.
And when Mexico refused to pay for what its former leader called that “F—ing Wall,” he forced the Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto to cancel a visit to US and set off a bitter feud with the Southern neighbour.
In pursuit of his “America First” policy, he assured India’s Narendra Modi that he considers “India a true friend and partner”, “repaired” the “US-Israel special relationship,” and welcomed Britain’s Theresa May as she hailed Trump’s term as a “new era of American renewal.”
But in the midst of all the action, pundits seemed fixated on what many glibly called his “false claims” and “lies” about three to five million illegal immigrants voting for Democratic rival Hillary Clinton to deny him a victory in popular vote.
Instead of analysing the impact of his bold moves, the chatterati spent endless hours breathlessly examining Trump’s “insecurity” and his obsession with the size of the crowd that came to watch his inauguration.
Though a few did acknowledge that the twitter thumb master manipulator of Manhattan now ensconced in the White House had once again changed the conversation.
No one was talking about a million plus people in pink pussycat ear hats protesting against Trump at 673 women’s rallies from Moscow to Manchester with the one in Washington drawing the biggest crowd.
Vulgar signs like “This pussy grabs back” – a reference to Trump’s trash talk about women-and an “angry” “outraged” pop megastar Madonna dropping F-bombs galore and talking “about blowing up the White House” did not help their cause either.
As the women marched towards his new digs, Trump took a trip to the CIA headquarters to assure the intelligence community that his alleged feud with them over claims of Russian hacking to help him win the election was a media invention.
Journalists are “the most dishonest human beings on earth, Trump declared citing “a running war with the media” as the reason they had downplayed the size of the crowd that came to watch him take the oath of office.
“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration-period — both in person and around the globe,” his press secretary Sean Spicer insisted in an angry outburst even as photographs showed much larger crowds at Obama’s historic 2009 inauguration.
And when a TV anchor accused the White House of pedalling “falsehood,” Trump’s equally combative counsellor Kellyanne Conway hit back brazenly suggesting “you’re saying it’s a falsehood” while “Spicer gave alternative facts.”
“Our intention is never to lie to you – although sometimes we may ‘disagree on facts,'” a more composed and smiling Spicer assured later in a bid to mollify the media even as he complained afresh about persistent negative “demoralising” coverage of Trump.
But the boss would have none of it. “I think the media is the opposition party in many ways,” Trump said echoing the words of his chief strategist Stephen Bannon who had a day earlier advised an “embarrassed and humiliated” media to “keep its mouth shut.”
No wonder sales of “1984”, George Orwell’s dystopian novel about a society in which facts are distorted in a “newspeak” are soaring amid demands to legalise pot in the American capital in the Trump era!