On the eve of the Easter holidays on 13th April, AAU hosted another Professors in the Pub debate. The topic was Trump's first 100 days, and very much in line with the holiday spirit, we were counting the unbroken eggs in Mr. President's basket.
Leading the debate, George Hays presented a list of Trump's campaign promises only to reveal that just executive orders have been issued thus far, not achieving much in the first 100 days. President Trump has apparently made very little effort on legislative issues and after the failure to reform Obamacare, he will quite possibly try to avoid similar domestic embarrassments. Steven Gawthorpe assessed that it seemed like Trump's first 100 days were about getting to know the actual administrative processes and limits of decision-making, which makes it a radically different environment to what Trump was used to in the private sector.
Throughout the debate numerous comparisons with other foreign and US presidents – past and present – were drawn. William Eddleston, for example, compared the current mood in the international society to the era of President Nixon, in which uncertainty and constant fear of US foreign policies hovered like a dark cloud over the world. From non-US leaders, also Yessir Arafat had a similar leadership style, which made the discussants deliberate whether Trump could have the same carefully devised foreign policy strategy, with its greatest strength in unpredictability. Who knows? Nonetheless, Trump’s chaotic decision-making takes its toll at the domestic level as well; since the Republican Party has been in crisis for many years now and would certainly benefit from a consistent and predictable leader, which Trump is not. In any case, all participants agreed that the US democracy is getting tested and that it is at least good to see liberal institutions reacting, pushing back and rationally reacting to Trump’s policies.
It did not take long for the debate to reach the major issue of whether it might be true that Trump's policies are only coincidentally appropriate responses to international politics, in other words, could it be that we should get used to his decisions being randomly correct for the rest of his presidency? The students' views on Trump reflected this uncertainty, as most were just afraid of a new major world war caused by series of international misunderstandings triggered by Trump. The students' perception of fellow American friends and classmates remains unchanged however, as no one projects Trump's personality universally on all Americans, pro-Trump or not. George Hays made an effort to end the debate on Trump's first 100 days on a positive note by asking what has improved since the election. Might it suffice to say that the discussion, after a brief moment of awkward silence, quickly drifted off onto a different topic…
Publication date: April 18, 2017