Trump’s Reality Show to Be Continued

For American politics experts, Donald Trump’s statement about the Mueller investigation being tantamount to a coup attempt is no news. Since before Trump was elected president, mud-slinging and harassment have been the norm in Washington. Trump was, and still is, accused of collusion with Russia, perjury and many other things. Trump, in response, has denied everything.

Trump’s statement adds a twist, in the context of domestic politics, in connection with the completion of Mueller’s investigation. The president is no longer being threatened with impeachment or facing dour accusations that he “conspired” with Russia or betrayed national interests. Perjury charges against Trump have also been dropped. So, the threat of imminent disaster he faced only recently has been put on pause, at least for the time being.

But Trump’s fight for survival is not over. Now he has to fight as a candidate for a second term in office. The Democrats are deeply disappointed with the results of the Mueller investigation and are not going to leave Trump alone. There are many new details ahead and the liberal press is poised to savour every one.

There is no need to go far for sources. A considerable portion of the 300-page Mueller report will be published soon. Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, allegedly has some new facts that he passed along to Congress. The investigation is continuing in the House Judicial Committee and in the New York State Attorney’s Office. The president is being compelled, with renewed effort, to make his tax returns public. New leaks from the country’s security agencies are possible; these have already complicated the position of Trump more than once.

New details will provide the media with many reasons for new accusations. Hysteria will continue. At the Democrats’ behest, the Russia card will be actively played in the 2020 elections as well. Incidentally, the lack of evidence of Trump’s conspiracy with Russia has not caused the hysteria to abate, it began before Mueller’s investigation and even before Trump’s election. There are many new challenges facing the White House, and Trump’s ability to brush them aside will be envied even by Petro Poroshenko, whose political career is rapidly sinking as the second round of the Ukrainian elections looms.

Naturally, Trump will react. It is not difficult to assume that he will do this according to the laws and principles of reality shows, replete with colourful accusations against his opponents. Opponents and enemies are essential in his dramaturgy, and the more hostile the intentions and actions attributed to him are, the harder he must try to appear to be the protagonist. When surrounded by enemies, Trump appears as an epic hero, saving America from total destruction. It is well known that, unlike his critics, Trump is always right, is a “stable genius” and does not settle for less.

At the same time, Trump’s counterattacks on Twitter and other public spaces will not necessarily be accompanied by radical power shifts. As the experience of his administration showed, it is not easy to make such changes. In addition, there is always a fair amount of bluffing between Trump’s threats and what he actually does; there are plenty of examples of this in his foreign and domestic policy. Finally, Trump has never been as much about reshuffling the agenda of the White House as he has been about providing a reality show for the American mass audience. The 45th President of the United States is not just a populist, but a populist showman who has been made for TV amid the business realities of the entertainment industry. 

The show must go on ...

Mueller Probe and Russia-US Relations
Andrey Sushentsov
Focused on itself, the United States is unable to focus and pursue a constructive foreign policy, which is especially needed amid international uncertainty. The US behavior will remain largely spontaneous, chaotic and emotional. This makes the United States a difficult negotiating partner and probably gives Russia a chance to discontinue being active in its US policy.
The Mueller Report Extends, Not Resolves the US-Russia Stalemate
Dmitry Suslov
Political infighting in the United States will not ease off, Valdai Club expert Dmitry Suslov writes. Russiagate will continue to be used in this fight as a weapon, and the US political system will remain in torpor.
Mueller Report: A Reason for Optimism
Andrey Kortunov
It’s generally easier to be a pessimist than to be an optimist. This is especially true when it comes to the current state and dynamics of Russian-American relations. We all have long been accustomed to the fact that these relations are developing according to the formula “today is worse than yesterday, but better than tomorrow”.
Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.