Mr. Trump makes his Sarkar….Washington Diary by Arun Kumar
Bobby Jindal had called Donald Trump an “unstable narcissist,” Nikki Haley had chided him for his rhetoric and Mitt Romney had dismissed him as a “phoney” and a “fraud”. He in turn had branded them all “losers.”
Now all three Republicans were headed to the Trump Tower penthouse where the Manhattan mogul is crafting the “Trump Sarkar” after his “so big.so enormous.so amazing” victory that would take him to Washington to “drain the swamp” of corruption.
As letting bygones be bygones, Trump looks for the “best and the brightest”, who would be his choice as America’s top diplomat?
Would it be Hillary Clinton baiter Rudy Giuliani or President Barack Obama’s Republican challenger Romney? Or would it be our own Desi daughter of Punjab?
Born Nimrata “Nikki” Randhawa to Sikh immigrant parents, the South Carolina governor was no fan of either Clinton or Trump, whom she had enraged by backing rivals Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz during the primaries.
Yet here she was feeling “just giddy” over the dawn of “a new day” after an audition with Trump ahead of the President-elect’s meeting with “choker” Romney over the weekend.
Haley, at 44 the youngest US governor, wasn’t the only Desi the billionaire was eyeing for a place in “Trump Sarkar” as he called it in an ad adapting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 2014 campaign slogan in a late bid to woo the community.
Jindal, a former Louisiana governor, who had challenged Trump in his short-lived presidential run but like Haley eventually vowed to vote for him “warts and all”, too was on the mogul’s shortlist as Health Secretary.
At 30 plus, Obama has more Indian Americans in high places than any other previous president, but a Desi has yet to make it to the cabinet. Would Trump outdo Obama to give them not one but two cabinet posts?
Even as flies on the walls cited by the “failing” New York Times and other “dishonest media” suggested how ill prepared his transition team was, Trump quickly picked up five key aides and despatched “landing teams” to major departments.
Earlier, the reality TV star who had left the transition planning to New Jersey governor Chris Christie to focus on winning the election, replaced his pal pronto with running mate Mike Pence when he learnt that they were far from set to move to Washington.
And when he found out that Christie had packed the transition team with lobbyists, he purged them all and closed the revolving door for lawmakers and officials for five years.
Meanwhile, a Chinese American Princeton professor who had vowed to “eat a bug” if Trump won, gamely took a tiny spoonful from a can of gourmet cricket laced with a little honey, but many others found it hard to eat crow.
Pollsters and pundits with not an egg but a whole omelette on their faces, as a prophet acknowledged, blamed each other for what went wrong.
Didn’t they correctly predict that Clinton would poll more votes than Trump nationally, asked the pollsters. But pundits citing the GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) principle insisted that it was the faulty poll data that sent their forecasts astray.
Clinton blamed everyone but herself for her stunning defeat. FBI director James Comey’s unusual move to reopen a probe into her email saga 11 days before the election had arrested (no pun intended) her momentum, she suggested.
And Comey’s decision to “clear” her a second time two days before the poll had only energised Trump’s supporters wanting to “lock her up” to come out in greater numbers.
In a state of denial, Democrats took up the “Comey did it” refrain forgetting their leader’s original sin of sending classified stuff on a private email server in her basement.
And thousands of Clintonites, many of whom had stayed home on Election Day, came out to join “Not My President” protests in at least 52 cities across America.
Even mayors of half a dozen “sanctuary cities” from New York to Chicago to San Francisco that harbour illegal immigrants openly vowed to defy Trump’s plans to deport the undocumented.
But even as an “unpredictable” Trump seemed to dilute some of his campaign promises, including that big beautiful wall on the border with Mexico, one could say with a fair degree of certainty he would keep at least one – to accept the results – if he won!