US mid-term polls: Frustrated Trump runs down media, further complicating his 2020 presidential chance
Defence & Diplomacy, Opinion

US mid-term polls: Frustrated Trump runs down media, further complicating his 2020 presidential chance

Trudging on war victory is not possible when people standing in line to cheer you turn down their back instead. This is what has happened to US President Donald Trump whose leadership has suffered a hemorrhage as American voters have chosen to show him mirror in the mid-term election to the House of Representative and the Senate.

Almost in the middle of his four-year presidential term, Trump failed to help the Republican Party takes control of the House of Representative even as it has held the Senate by clutch.

That shows the US President who has not yet endeared to American bureaucrats on policy issues will see a bumpy road ahead in his political career. His hot and cold relations with media have severely damaged his international standing as the US President. His sparring with CNN reporter Jim Acosta during the press conference in the White House, which took place a day after the US mid-term vote, has showed him in the poor light. More so when he inappropriately termed Acosta’s attempt to stop White House intern Sarah Sanders’ move to forcibly snatch microphone from the CNN reporter’s hand as an “unacceptable” act. In order to shift blame in Acosta’s court, the President said the reporter placed his hand on a young woman who was just trying to do her job. Even as the CNN reporter exposed the President’s “lie” by bringing in the public domain a short duration video of that sparring between him and the President, the incident has shown ongoing tussle between the President and the media.

In this light, his fight for the second presidential term for the November 2020 is a matter of speculation. In the past two years when Republicans were in complete control of both Houses, President Trump enjoyed unassailable support on repealing of Obamacare, cut in social programmes and in pushing an anti-immigration legislation. Now he will face roadblocks at every front.

He is likely to face probes into his 2016 presidential campaign, with Democrats being in driver’s seat in the House of Representative, which is the lower house of the US Congress. He is also likely to face investigations into numerous scandals and controversies that he has been associated with in the past 18 months in office. It is possible that Democrats may also pursue formal impeachment move against the President, but given the ground realities when Republicans are in the majority in the Senate, it is less likely that the move will result in a logical conclusion.

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Even if the House of Representative accepts impeachment motion, there is no chance two-third Senate members’ support it. Otherwise, impeachment move against the President will not gather motion until Robert Muller’s probe into election interference and possible nexus between the Trump campaign and Russia is over. However, Democrats’ victory in the House has ensured that Muller will not be ousted midway into the probe into the Russian interference in the 2016 election. It is reported that Muller has gathered strong evidence to charge and convict Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, ex NSA Michael Flynn, personal attorney Michael Cohen and others. Still Democrats have several reasons to turn Trump’s life into hell. The President is still evasive on his tax returns, an issue which has been a bone of contention between Democrats and Republicans since the 2016 poll campaign.

President Trump’s much talked about US-Mexican border wall to stop illegal crossing into America from the neighbouring country, may face a roadblock as a Democrat controlled House may try its best to block the funding needed for it. In March, Congress allocated $1.6 billion for spending on construction of the border wall. The US President said in August that he required around $5 billion to build the wall, a poll promise that Trump wants to complete in any case.

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On foreign policy front, Democrats are highly enraged with Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran which was brokered by the Barack Obama administration. Analysts say even if the House passes a motion against Trump’s decision and it is approved by the Senate, the President armed with overriding power may turn Democrats’ efforts move into a futile move. On the climate change issue too, Democrats are annoyed with Trump. Soon after his inauguration into the presidential office in January 2017, Trump announced withdrawal of the US from the climate change talks.

Hence, mid-term election has sent across a sound message to the US President and his supporters that Democrats have come into the US political scene in the Capitol and they prove to be elephants in Trump’s room.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NEWSD and NEWSD does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

Shankar Kumar is a senior journalist and Foreign Affairs expert. He tweets at @shaanka

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