Less than 100 days have passed since the start of the Trump administration and yet drastic changes are beginning to occur on both the domestic and international level. The mind behind this symphony of patriotism and doom to foes abroad also happens to be the man with many duties: A duty to his family, to his people, and to the world around him. Therefore, it can be difficult to make conclusions about President Trump, whose values and opinions make his political approach ambiguous. However, I believe that Trump’s actions and his approach to the presidency can be summed up by the following motifs: Family, feelings, and foes– which I call the Three Fs.
We all know Trump’s profound love for his family. And it is Trump’s love for his family that led him to bring some of his family members at the forefront of American policy for the next four years. Both Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump play a role in Trump’s presidency, the former as a senior adviser and the latter as an unpaid employee.
It is hard to tell how much of a role Mrs. Trump or Mr. Kushner have had in many of the policies implemented by President Trump. But it can be assumed that Trump trusts them more than most of his advisors and associates. We can see how this trust plays a role in the ongoing, ideological feud between chief strategist Steve Bannon and Kushner to play out. Over the next several weeks, I anticipate that either Trump will publicly pick Kushner’s side out of respect for his family or Kushner will be able to outduel Bannon, who faces the possibility of becoming somewhat of an afterthought in the White House.
We have seen Trump display a spectrum of feelings, and his multifaceted personality makes him quite unique. Feelings have everything to do with solidifying his position on family and foes.
Trump’s carefree display of emotions is a representation of his transparency with the public (sometimes). He conveys his emotions through social media and occasional press conferences as he tries to make sure that the American public understands his views.
Of course, these mixed feelings also come with wavering positions on policy. Trump advised against directly striking Syria before, yet he authorized a strike on Syria last week. He promised to investigate Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign and now Clinton is basically an afterthought in Trump’s presidential persona.
He may not be a mastermind politician or an intellectual with a compelling philosophy, but President Trump is certainly a strong and capable leader with his high level of emotion– and to a certain extent– his decisiveness. His resolve is hardened by his sense of duty to the people he serves and the threats he must face with. But Trump’s fierce resilience remains. I expect that he will continue to fight for many of the policies he promised to enact during the presidential campaign.
Part of the strength of his feelings is his vocal opposition to opponents that threaten national security or humanitarian laws. Thus, Trump has been determined to strictly enforce rules that protect the nation and serve the interest of America.
Trump has been flexing America’s military power in manner that can be likened to a nationalist hardliner who loves to beat down others with sheer superiority. For instance, Trump came up with an executive order twice to ban people from some Muslim-majority countries to demonstrate his opposition of radical Islam. Trump’s response to North Korea’s increased level of military activities has been very forward. Trump had also instructed a partially effective attack on a Syrian airfield last week, which was a message to the Assad regime that the United States would not tolerate the use of chemical weapons in war. I expect more aggravation and less diplomacy as Trump continues to address America’s foes in a militaristic manner.
The Three Fs Could be the Key to Trump’s Heart.
Perhaps this was an oversimplification of Trump’s psyche. But with the information we can gather about Trump during his few months in office, we might be able to predict how Trump would act in given circumstances. Of course, let’s forget the idea that speculating what Trump does or does not do might not be the efficient use of our time; however, if we can understand what provokes or motivates him to act, then there can be ways to convince Trump to reconsider his position on important issues. Knowing how Trump’s mind works doesn’t mean that Trump is going to embrace ideals like global warming right away. But if we push ideas such as climate change on the people Trump cares about, namely Ivanka and Jared Kushner, Trump might reconsider his positions on these issues. In other words, understanding what Trump values most will help us construct ways with which we can interact with a president that otherwise makes communication very difficult.