We are 52 days into the Trump presidency and it is still unclear as to who is really in charge. Amid all the chaos in the Trump circus it is hard to get a definite answer, so let’s examine the possible parties who might really be running things in the oval office.
Donald Trump won the vote based on the electoral college system and so is President on paper at least. His midnight tweets dictate the official stance of the United States and his words need to be taken seriously (Despite what Trump advisers may say).
However, Trump does not seem to have a firm grip on the affairs of his administration and as a result, it is in utter chaos. Even if he is the President on paper, someone else may be running the administration behind the curtain.
The former executive chair of Breitbart News, a far right news and opinion website, has had a meteoric rise in politics ever since being appointed the chief executive officer of Trump’s presidential campaign back in August 2016. Now he is the White House chief strategist and the right hand man to Donald Trump. It cannot be denied that Bannon has extreme beliefs. During an interview, Bannon professed his love for the dark side by saying, “Darkness is good. Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power. It only helps us when they (liberals) get it wrong. When they’re blind to who we are and what we’re doing.”
After Trump officially took office, the National Security Council saw a radical change as both the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as well as the Director of National Intelligence were removed form the council only to be replaced by the White House Chief Strategist. Steve Bannon can now push for his extreme ideals even more easily.
And for what seems to be Bannon’s main agenda in the White House, he helped create Executive Order 13769, or as I like to call it – ‘The ‘Not a Muslim Ban’ Muslim Ban’. Bannon’s quotes clearly display his islamophobic beliefs and he even attempted to make a film about destroying the religion itself called Destroying the Great Satan, which depicted a clash between the West and the ‘supremacist’ Islam. Also, Bannon once asked a guest on his Breitbart show:
“You believe that not only we’re at war, but we have to prosecute this as a war, and we have to take care of this fifth column – there’s clearly a fifth column here in the United States – that needs to be dealt with immediately?”
Could Executive Order 13769 be the first stage of his plan to ‘destroy’ Islam?
Having such close proximity to the President, Bannon could easily manipulate the President so as to run the country in a manner that he believes in.
Remember when Paul Ryan had a spine? He stated back in May of 2016 that he was ‘not ready’ to endorse Trump as he was unsure of whether Trump really represented the conservative agenda. He even slammed Trump for his outrageous remarks with regards to the Hispanic community and women. Following the release of the infamous Access Hollywood tapes, Ryan even told fellow Republicans that he won’t defend Trump or his statements anymore.
It was only when Ryan realised that Trump would push for more Republican policies to be enacted that he decided to throw away his spine and publicly endorse Trump, putting party over country.
With Trump now in office, Ryan can now follow through with his biggest dream (that does not involve his biceps) to Repeal and Replace Obamacare. Ryan has been waiting six years for this moment to come and in March of 2017, the first draft of the bill was finally released. It has everything that Ryan loves – tax breaks for the rich, making the price of insurance to rise higher and to make it harder for the elderly who are more likely to fall ill to afford insurance. Basically doing the complete opposite of what an insurance is supposed to do. This bill is nothing similar to what Trump wanted which was “insurance for everybody”. Despite this, Trump has still come out in support for the new bill.
The Obamacare replacement is definitely not the brainchild of the Trump administration but most definitely that of Paul Ryan. As Speaker of the House and face of the Republican party, Ryan can use his close proximity to the President to push for his own policies to be enacted.
Ivanka Trump has no formal title in the Trump administration but she is one of the more prominent faces seen so far in the Trump administration. She has been called the de facto First Lady by many, considering she has had a much larger presence than Donald Trump’s wife Melania Trump. White House officials have even called her “the potential force behind policies to address women in the workplace.” Even her husband Jared Kushner was appointed senior adviser to the President. On Ivanka, Republican strategist Liz Mair commented, “She’s the only person that I believe Donald Trump consistently listens to. I don’t think that there’s anybody in the world who substitutes for his daughter and her husband as a sort of proxy.”
Nine days into the administration, Ivanka was infamously seen being involved with a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. According to reports, Ivanka was using her position as a means to close a business deal for her clothing line in Japan. Questions began to form as to whether Ivanka was using her proximity to the President to propel her brand.
Leaks have even shown that the power couple that is Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have acted as a voice of reason in the party and have kill an anti-LGBT executive order and are persuading Trump to keep intact Barack Obama’s landmark accord to fight climate change. They appear to be the moderate voice of the Trump administration.
Despite all these actions by Ivanka and her husband, Donald Trump has still rescinded the Obama administration’s guidance protecting the use of bathrooms by transgender students and appointed Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
While Ivanka has been a massive influence in the White House so far, does she have any real power in the White House? Time will tell as to whether she will gain or lose influence in the future.
The news organisation famous for its conservative and right leaning beliefs has been enjoying the Trump administration so far. The President has declared his hatred for any mainstream media outlet that isn’t Fox News and has gone on to mention Fox News several times on Twitter.
Reports have shown that Trump watches a lot of television. According to a Politico report, Trump’s aides are being forced to try and curb some of his “worst impulses”—including TV-watching, apparently: “He gets bored and likes to watch TV. . . so it is important to minimize that.” We should be worried if Donald Trump regards Fox and Friends more highly than his daily intelligence briefings.
Just like a child, Trump believes everything that he sees on TV. Back in January of 2017 Trump tweeted:
This was tweeted immediately after Bill O’ Reilly of the O’ Reilly Factor on Fox News had a segment on the Violence in Chicago. He even directly addressed Trump on the programme by saying, “Next on the rundown, if you can believe it, gang violence in Chicago getting worse. Will President Trump step in and override local authorities?” Seems like the folks over at Fox News now have developed the ability to implant thoughts into the President’s mind.
More alarmingly though, Trump has appeared to have made up a terror attack that occured in Sweden and told a large crowd of supporters in a hangar at the Orlando-Melbourne International Airport,
“You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.”
These comments seem to have first appeared on a Fox News segment that aired the previous night (which have been proven false) and Trump has merely echoed what was said. It is frightening that Trump would make claims without any verification.
Fox News can now easily tell Donald Trump what to say or do without directly telling him.
Donald Trump seems to have a lot of ties with Russia even if he claims otherwise. Trump has even defended Putin. During an interview with Bill O’ Reilly, O’Reilly said about Putin: “But he’s a killer, though. Putin’s a killer.” Trump responded “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think? Our country’s so innocent?” Trump even praised Putin for holding off on retaliating to the actions of the Obama administration, which included sanctions on nine entities and individuals and the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats.
U.S. Intelligence officers even believe that Vladimir Putin became personally involved in the covert Russian campaign to interfere in the U.S. presidential election which involved the hacking of the DNC. Despite all these statements by the intelligence agencies, Trump has refused to acknowledge them and has continued to side with Putin.
Members of the Trump administration also have a suspicious number of ties to the Trump administration which has been illustrated in several infographics by Politico here.
Most suspicious of all is Trump claiming that he and Putin have no relationship despite numerous statements that he made. In November 2013 he told MSNBC: “I do have a relationship and I can tell you that he’s very interested in what we’re doing here today. He’s probably very interested in what you and I are saying today, and I’m sure he’s going to be seeing it in some form.” Then in May 2014 during a National Press Club Luncheon he said “I was in Russia, I was in Moscow recently. And I spoke indirectly — and directly — with President Putin, who could not have been nicer.” There have been several similar claims but since then Trump has denied any relationship with Putin.
Moreover, Putin’s favourability ratings among Republicans have rose significantly from 12 percent in 2015 to 32 precent in 2016. It now seems that Putin may be able to get his way even more easily now that Trump is in charge and if intelligence agencies are to be believed, it was Putin who got Trump there.
Image Credits: CNN