Apropos of the report “Trump U-turn as Pence assures America’s strong support to EU” (FE, February 21), the Trump presidency seems caught between rhetoric and reality.
Poll promises and reality
Apropos of the report “Trump U-turn as Pence assures America’s strong support to EU” (FE, February 21), the Trump presidency seems caught between rhetoric and reality. In the run-up to the historic presidential election, Donald Trump promised the moon to the people, to ‘make America great again’. Among the promises, construction of a great wall on the Mexican border, ban on entry of Muslims, abrogation of Trans Pacific Partnership and North American Free Trade Agreement, pruning of financial support to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, recovery of 4 million jobs to make Americans busy, proposal to cut taxes and annulling the famous healthcare measure, called Obamacare, grabbed attention and admiration. And he won. It is now the turn of U-turns. The 30-foot high, 1,900 km long wall from Brownsville to El Paso bordering Mexico—the berated neighbour to bear its cost—is now seen as the most idiotic election promise ever. Interestingly, Mexicans erected a symbolic human wall along the border recently mocking the president. A blanket ban on Muslim entry is considered unconstitutional and would isolate the Trump presidency from the world across the Atlantic.
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And a furious cut in taxes could dent the revenues by at least $10 trillion dollars with unknown consequences. Pence’s holding the olive branch of strong support to the European Union in Brussels is a recognition and an indication of the impracticality of the promises made to the American people. India is no stranger to U-turns. The catchphrase of BJP, ‘acche din’, in some way resembles the campaign slogan of Trump, ‘make America great again’. Prime Minister of India now talks about ‘kabristan’ and ‘shamshan’, replacing the rhapsody about ‘acche din’. Black money stashed abroad flowing directly into the accounts of the poor was a covenant to fulfil. However, the hapless Indians stood in long queues to grab a small slice of their own, hard-earned money. The improved budgetary allocation to the flagship scheme guaranteeing employment was flaunted with elan, despite a previous attack on it as the monument of UPA’s failure to uplift the poor. Aadhaar, once pooh-poohed as a colossal waste of money, is the kingpin of all activities. Such U-turns are many. All these teach the citizenry a memorable lesson: never take election promises too seriously.
Haridasan Rajan, Kozhikode