Ben Lowry: Trump tenure as disastrous as you would expect

President Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up as he walks across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Friday (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up as he walks across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Friday (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The time that I began to get particularly concerned that Donald Trump might win the White House was after the scandal arose over his comments about how he sexually grabbed attractive women.

A lot of commentators concluded that he was finished after the tape of those remarks had emerged a month before the vote, but I was struck by the fact that the polls did not move much.

U.S. Sen. John McCain speaks at a Security Conference in Munich, Germany, in 2016. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

U.S. Sen. John McCain speaks at a Security Conference in Munich, Germany, in 2016. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

The controversy confirmed that there was a very large section of voters who were prepared to overlook a wide range of different types of allegation against Mr Trump.

With hindsight that gives us an idea of how much Hillary Clinton was disliked by a swathe of the American electorate.

When I was in the US for the election – Florida, North Carolina and Washington DC – my sense that US voters did not feel warmly about Mr Trump was confirmed. In the end, however, their opposition to Mrs Clinton was even greater than it was to him (well, not quite, because she won the popular vote).

But Mr Tump made it to the Oval Office without ever being widely popular, even among those who voted for him (except of course for his large core of dedicated supporters, who were wildly keen on him).

This in theory should make his position vulnerable, as soon as a more acceptable presidential contender emerges.

Even so, for all the talk of impeachment his removal from office will be very difficult to achieve unless the Republican Party loses Congress late next year. It would by no means surprise me if Mr Trump survives in office and even wins re-election.

His tenure is proving every bit as disastrous as you would expect from someone who showed himself to be ideologically incoherent and unpredictable during the election campaign. Also uninformed not only about world and domestic affairs, but of a basic understanding of how US government works.

I did always hope that the great John McCain, the war hero and independent-minded Republican Party senator from Arizona, would win re-election because I knew that his patriotism was such that he would not blindly support any president. He did win.

And sure enough, Mr McCain – now in his 80s and safe from facing re-election for almost six years – is repeatedly challenging Mr Trump and this week said that the White House scandals were reaching Watergate proportions.

• Ben Lowry (@BenLowry2) is News Letter deputy editor

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