BEFORE US Secretary of State John Kerry left for New Zealand yesterday he instructed his staff to be “as helpful as possible” to the incoming administration.
“One of the beautiful things of democracy - and we particularly pride ourselves in the United States – is that we have this amazing peaceful transfer of power,” he said.
“And we will do everything in our power, as I have instructed our team, to work with the incoming administration as fully and openly as possible, to be as helpful as possible, so that the transfer of power will be as smooth as it possibly can without missing a beat on the important issues before us.”
And there are many important issues before US legislators — issues far beyond the ignorant grasp of the new president. His first task will be to leave his crudity at the gates before he enters the White House, a residence for which he is ill-prepared.
Despite this, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote, but not the election, although acknowledging that the loss of her hard fought race was “painful”, urged unity for the sake of democracy. She urged her supporters to accept that Mr Trump was now president. “We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead,” she told her shattered supporters, while acknowledging that the country was more divided than even she believed.
Even President Obama, who went out on the hustings to fight hard for his legacy and for Mrs Clinton to become the first woman president, rose to the occasion — as he usually does — and told Americans that “we are all rooting for his (Trump’s) success.”
But, unfortunately, Donald Trump is his own worst enemy. He has spoken words that can neither be forgotten nor erased.
In the past, there have been hard fought elections, but after the dust has settled the vote has been accepted and the transfer has been peaceful as democracy carries on without missing a beat. One only has to take the example of President Obama and Hilary Clinton. When Mrs Clinton ran against Barack Obama for the presidency and lost, the two made their peace and from 2009 to 2013 she became his secretary of state. And in this contest for the presidency, he fought hard for her to succeed him.
But there was nothing about this election that was normal. The winning candidate was offensive, conceited, so in love with himself that it seemed he saw only himself in every shadow.
His theme song: “I am going to make America great again!” was chanted so often that we are still waiting for him to break the monotony by telling us his plans for making America even greater than she already is. That was the problem with Trump. He was shallow, he had no plans. No wonder the world fears the future. The only one now rejoicing in his triumph is his friend in the Kremlin — Vladimir Putin, another megalomaniac. The only difference between them is that Putin is better educated and a more subtle manipulator. He’ll make mincemeat of Trump - then we’ll see who is great again – unfortunately the world — including the Bahamas — will suffer from his blundering.
His great boast is how “really, really rich” he is, proud that he evaded the tax man for 15 years. He considered his income tax evasion an electoral asset, which illustrated how clever he was. He was not ashamed of the fact that he went bankrupt four times. In one debate he could not contain the boastful side of his nature. He was proud that he had made money on each bankruptcy. However, he did not bother to add that the only reason he made money was because he put many of his small creditors out of business because he refused to pay them. That is the type of man Americans have made their president-elect.
During the campaigning — that went on for months almost to the exclusion of all other news as voting time drew near — we were often asked: “What do you think of Donald Trump?” So alarmed that the Republican party could vote for such a man to represent them, we always replied: “It’s not what I think of Trump, it’s what I think of the American people who would vote for such a man.”
It shows that there must be much unrest in American society, especially among the working class — factories closed, industries moved overseas for a cheaper work force, racial tensions, among many other home-grown grievances on which Mr Trump has played without giving a reasonable solution to calm the fears.
There is worry as to how he is going to deal with his country’s security issues, which are probably the most pressing matters awaiting his untrained attention. How will he handle the resurgency of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Syrian civil war, and the retreating ISIS in Iraq? Is he going to pull the blanket around the nation and close off the borders? Of course, we can’t forget the wall he is going to build to keep the Mexicans out. Yesterday morning CNN showed Mexicans angrily telling the new president-elect that they had no intention of paying for any wall that he might try to build.
And, of course, it is reported that several students are due to take him to court next month to recover their life savings that they claim they lost as a result of the training they received from Trump University, which purported to train them to make millions from property investments. It will be interesting to know how the new president will deal with that matter.
As we wrote this column last night demonstrators closed midtown Manhattan as they moved to the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, where the Trump family live. Others gathered at a Manhattan Park shouting: “Not my president!”
A pleasant looking young woman, interviewed by a reporter, said that no matter what Donald Trump says today, “He can’t erase what he said about women, about Blacks and Asians — he said those words, he can’t take them back! They were his words!”
She said when she wakened yesterday morning, and heard the unbelievable news that such an offensive man would be their new president, she had no choice but to take to the streets.
An estimated 1,800 protesters gathered in downtown Chicago outside the International Hotel and Tower. Their chants were: “No Trump! No KKK! no racist USA!”
A 22-year-old holding a sign – “Enjoy your rights while you can” – said that she was terrified “about what is happening in this country.”
There were also demonstrations in Philadelphia, Boston, Seattle and Portland, Oregon, and Austin, Texas, with rallies being planned for San Francisco, Los Angeles and Oakland, California.
In his victory speech Mr Trump pledged that he would be president for all Americans. “It is time for us to come together as one united people,” he said.
For these protesters such a plea was too late. As the young Manhattan woman said the xenophobic words were from his mouth and repeated over and over again for months. He can’t now take them back. And the people won’t forget.
The ill-equipped Donald Trump is urgently in need of his “handlers” to keep him on script.