Subscriber OnlyOpinion

Alan Shatter: What can we expect from The President Trump Show?

The inauguration hour is almost here, but we still have little idea which storylines will unfold

Well, Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration day of January 20th is almost upon us and in Washington the excitement is palpable.

Those who love Trump and foresee the US's Trumpian future as "great", together with those who hate him and foresee a futureless Armageddon, are engaged in synchronised palpitations of expectation and fear.

Synchronised palpitating will, for future historians, be a significant spontaneous watershed inaugural event, symbolising the momentary coming together of a deeply divided nation.

And let there be no doubt or equivocation: the divide is as grand as the Grand Canyon, and growing exponentially.


While pundits endlessly prognosticate over whether we are heading into a great or dystopian future on the 24/7 TV news channels of CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, the truth is that no one truly knows what a Trump administration will do or where we will all be in four years’ time.

(Presuming, of course, that we are all still here and Trump has not accidentally, in the middle of the night, hit the nuclear button instead of sending a tweet.)

As we enter a new and entirely unpredictable era, there are myriads of still-to-be-asked and unanswerable questions.

For example, does Trump support or oppose the United Nations continuing to be based in New York, or does he favour it being replaced by a new Divided Nations organisation based in Wisconsin?

Will Vladimir Putin invite Donald to visit the Kremlin before Donald invites Vladimir to visit Trump Palace, formerly known as the White House, in Washington?

Will Kellyanne Conway, Trump's presidential counsellor and his former campaign media and strategic guru, announce, as the new president's first act, the lifting of sanctions imposed on Russia and the granting of a pardon to the 35 Russian diplomats expelled by Barack Obama for cyberhacking and interference in November's US presidential election?

Alternatively, will Conway dissuade Trump from this course and persuade him instead that the diplomats deserve no better fate than that he originally promised for an estimated 11 million Mexican and other illegals?


Will Trump appointees to the US Supreme Court reinterpret the constitution to permit racial segregation, ban same-sex marriage, end a woman's right to choose, prevent abortion even when a woman's health or life is threatened, and determine how individual states can legislate for transgender toilet use?

Or will long established civil rights remain constitutionally protected ?

And after Putin and Trump have visited each other, what visits will follow? Will Ukip's Nigel Farage, though still not appointed as Britain's ambassador to Washington, recommend to Trump that he allow Britain's prime minister, Theresa May, to come visit before An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, arrives in March with his shamrock to celebrate St Patrick's Day?

And where will Kenny recommend Trump put the shamrock after his millisecond of notoriety for describing Trump as a racist during the presidential election campaign?

Will a member of the Independent Alliance veto Kenny's visit or will Shane Ross accompany him as Minister for Transport to mark Aer Lingus commencing direct flights to Miami or as Minister for Sport to touch the forelock of the owner of Trump International Golf Links in Doonbeg?

And what about the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte? Is there any truth in the rumour that he is to be asked by the Trump administration to provide an insight into the success of his murderous programme to end all drug use and crime ?

And there are so many more questions for which there is no space.

Last laugh

As the Trump era commences, it just might be we will discover that not all is as it seems and that Trump will have the last laugh.

Whether the President Trump reality show will faithfully reflect its widely viewed and popular Candidate Trump reality predecessor – which successfully seduced a large portion of the disgruntled American electorate – remains to be seen.

Whether the disgruntled will be gruntled in four years time is a great question, to which there is presently no definitive answer.

What is predictable, though, is that we are entering a halcyon period for Twitter, for current affairs and political junkies, for 24/7 global news stations, for online and print media, for the purveyors of fake news, half-truths and inconvenient truths, for those who whose shtick is outrage and, above all, for comic satire.

Viewing the world this January 2017, in order for us to keep in touch with reality, preserve good humour and maintain a sane and balanced life, laughter will have increased importance during the Trumpian years.

This truism deserves to be taken seriously and shouted from the rooftops, and is no laughing matter! It is vitally important that truth is allowed to play the role for which it is fabricated. Honestly.

(As much of my recent life can be accurately described as being framed in a post-truth bubble, I am happy to admit, in the interest of truth, that this piece was written in the winter heat of Florida, the heartland of Trump country, and not in the bitter cold of the Washington still temporarily occupied by Obama. But I know no one really cares about authenticity any more!)