Bolting out of the gate President Trump’s administration set a very low bar for leadership, when at his behest his press secretary told the American people and the watching world that Trump’s inauguration drew the largest crowds and television audiences in history.
A painfully pathetic falsehood in the face of verifiable evidence at odds with the boast, which left most right thinking people bewildered and bereft of explanations or excuses for the spurious claim.
Instead of setting the record straight there was a concerted effort to seduce us into a nether world where “alternative facts” reign supreme and should be believed and embraced as they continue to be issued forth from behind the sacred seal of the U.S. presidency.
Well into the first year of his administration Trump’s star has dimmed lower and lower in a way that casts a pall of darkness around the hitherto majestic, prestigious and pristine U.S. presidency and White House.
There are no winners here as we in Africa look to the U.S. as the beacon and arbiter of democratic values and instincts and instead are confronted with the almost daily chipping away and dangerous trivialization of hard won democratic tenets and traditions, by the very person and office solemnly charged with their safe guard.
Trump’s deep reservoir of racism, xenophobia and misogyny which he draws on instinctively and as a matter of course is incontrovertible.
These proclivities may well conjure the ghosts of unrestrained tribalism and strengthen the bands of debilitating gender bias in Africa.
His naked authoritarian tendencies find expression in fawning and unabashed admiration of authoritarian leaders, most recently in the figure of China’s President Xi Jinping, whose communist party paved a path to abolish presidential term limits, by virtue of which he is poised to become China’s ruler for life.
The move was not denounced by Trump as the leader’ of the free world, but was praised by him in stark divergence to previous U.S. administrations and spells anathema for Africa and our under-served and long-suffering populations.
Trump’s abnegation of his role as the leader of the free world has the strong potential to erase every small democratic gain on the continent and take us back to the dark era of African dictators who wreaked such havoc and chaos on their respective people.
Whilst, Trump’s disdain and disrespect of established norms of governance give rise to his ill-conceptualized and ill-planned policies which bear the hallmark of crude implementation and are caked in controversy.
These include the moslem ban, U.S. military trans-gender ban and the recent imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports to the U.S. which is currently threatening to spark a trade war.
Should this ensue it will throw all global markets into disarray and uncertainty. Trump’s flagrant disregard of ethical rules permeates his administration.
Not only is he personally accused of self-dealing and aggrandizement, which resulted in multiple law suits against him under the emoluments clauses of the U.S. constitution, members of his family also seem to be cashing in on the presidency and are now subjects of official inquiries.
The trend has filtered down to his inner cadre as members of his cabinet and top officials are ensnared in a series of financial scandals and other improprieties.
All this spells a dearth of necessary basic human and leadership character traits at the zenith of the U.S. presidency.
Not only does the Trump administration hold the unenviable record for the number of high level departures to date with more key staff expected to head for the exit ramp, recent developments and revelations of which he is front and center are sordid and shameful.
Not only do we on the African continent have to shield our innocent, impressionable and idealistic youths from routine public news broadcasts concerning the leader of the free world, due to the unsavoury content, we have to contend with the overriding aberrant nature of his administration, which is more characteristic and reminiscent of a fringe organization skirting legality and marred by deep immorality.
This does not portend well for the caliber of African leadership that may arise and be deemed not only acceptable, but indeed palatable given the example projected by Trump and rubber stamped by his aficionados who collectively choose to ignore his purposeful and unrelenting onslaught on democratic values and the far reaching dangers this presents.
We are led to believe that the unexpected resignations of two of Trump’s closest aides and confidantes namely, Hope Hicks and Gary Cohn left him discombobulated and in a tailspin.
Political analysts in the U.S. agree that the young and grossly inexperienced Hope Hicks who serves as Trump’s communication director was his “safety blanket” as she was adept at saving him from his inner demons, thus preventing him from acting out.
Whilst Gary Cohn, chief economic adviser provided a “fire wall” to his nationalist leanings. How do we on the African continent process these developments?
Surely, these two key “stabilizing” individuals were on the staff roster and within reach to calm him when he made the uncharitable remarks about African countries, which for the avoidance of doubt that he was being deliberately discriminatory, he added Haiti to boot. That is the least of our problems.
Truth be told, if the leader of the free world, who has the power to launch a nuclear holocaust is in constant need of mother’s milk and a restrainer to prevent him from unravelling, then God help us.