Donald Trump's Presidency

Start Free Trial

As President-elect Donald Trump makes his staff and cabinet suggestions, we need to think about what direction we think the adminstration will move in. Will he be open to advice? Will he be able to accomplish all that he promised during the campaign? And finally what are his strengths and weaknesses? Whatever your political affiliation, please consider facts more than opinions. 

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Though Trump has not appointed his Secretary of State and other positions yet, it is fair to say so far that Trump is moving in a very conservative direction. His nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, is a fan of charter schools and vouchers, and his nominee for Health and Human Services, Tom Price, is opposed to the healthcare plan referred to as "Obamacare." Betsy DeVos has been particularly controversial, as she believes that the free market should play a role in public education; her stance is decidedly on the right. Experts believe Trump is assembling the most conservative administration to date, though some of his appointees such as Nikki Haley, currently the Republican Governor of South Carolina, for U.N. Ambassador, are more moderate in nature. 

Some of Trump's picks have indicated that he won't be a mainstream conservative but will follow his own independent thinking. Some people consider this independent thought a strength. For example, His current frontrunner for Secretary of State is Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon Mobil. Tillerson has no previous government experience; however, most of the recent Secretaries of State have had some public service experience before serving as Secretary of state. 

It is not clear whether Trump will be open to advice, but, so far, he has largely followed his own lead. For example, he receives very few intelligence briefings and called the President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, which is not the protocol for incoming Presidents because of the ongoing tensions between Taiwan and China. Trump seems to be escalating U.S. tensions with China. While diplomats criticized this move and wish that Trump were more open to advice, others said Trump's independent moves are wise and could mark a more belligerent stance towards China's trade and economic policies. 

Trump will not clearly be able to deliver on all his campaign promises. For example, he is not going to jail Hillary Clinton. He is poised to dismantle Obamacare, but it's not clear how he would do so while maintaining the protection for people who are already sick when they sign up for insurance. If there is no mandate for people to sign up for health insurance, there may not be enough money in insurance pools to cover sick patients, and his plan may be financially unfeasible. It's not clear whether he could build a wall along the border with Mexico, though he may be able to do so without Congressional approval. Again, it may come down to funding. 

Many people consider Trump's unwillingness to follow precedent and protocol a strength, while others consider it brash, arrogant, and dangerous. This quality is considered a strength and a weakness in different camps. His strength is that he rallies his supporters' enthusiasm, but if he is unable to form a popular mandate (as, after all, he lost the popular vote), it will be a decided weakness. He needs to build bridges with other sectors of the American population.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team