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Trump in Transition – What’s Next for America?

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While Team Obama is working on overdrive to secure the “Obama Legacy” and the outgoing POTUS is rallying the Democrats on Capitol Hill to save Obamacare, Team Trump is already making plans to redecorate the East and West Wings of the White House while rearranging the political furniture here in our Nation’s Capital.

With a bit more than two weeks to go before Donald J. Trump takes the oath of office to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, our country is on the edge of a precipice and most of us here in Washington are proceeding as if it’s just another news day.

As President Obama prepares to pass the baton of leadership to Donald Trump, there are almost too many ongoing world crises that threaten our international stability to count.

So, we might have wished that Providence could have taken pity and given us a Franklin Roosevelt or an Abraham Lincoln or a Ronald Reagan to come to our rescue.

Sorry, that’s not how it works!

A rather wise, though youthful, President John F. Kennedy put it this way:

“For, in a democracy, every citizen, regardless of his interest in politics, ‘holds office’; every one of us is in a position of responsibility; and, in the final analysis, the kind of government we get depends upon how we fulfill those responsibilities. We, the people, are the boss, and we will get the kind of political leadership, be it good or bad, that we demand and deserve.”

So after a most grueling and exhausting GOP Primary and a general election that had a lot more in common with our Civil War than most any other presidential campaign, the American people chose a businessman, Donald Trump, to become their 45th President.

Trump will join a very short list of individuals who had never been elected to public office before becoming president: Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, Herbert Hoover and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

In contrast to Trump who is a Reality TV Star, CEO of a private company (answerable only to himself) and a successful promoter of his own brand, these prior presidents were very accomplished individuals in the public service arena.

Grant and Eisenhower were victorious generals responsible for extraordinarily-successful military campaigns that saved this country…. and they both understood bureaucracy!

Taylor was a war hero in the Mexican-American War and Hoover headed the American Relief Administration after World War I and was Secretary of Commerce responsible for the St Lawrence Seaway project and the construction of what is now known as the Hoover Dam.

As the American people and the world community prepare for the transition from the Obama administration to the Trump administration, what do we know and what can we except?

Throughout the campaign, Donald Trump, the ultimate prompter, sold “himself” alone as the answer to all America’s ills – as opposed to offering any specific policy prescriptions.

So far in his official acts, pronouncements, and tweets since becoming president-elect, we have learned a few important things.

Clearly, Trump intends to be a non-traditional president, making up the rules of the game as he goes along…and there are also a few things that President-elect Trump may not understand yet about being president of the United States.

All presidents campaign with promises of bright new ideas; however, when they first sit behind that Oval Office desk, the problems of world become their personal burden…and as Harry Truman was fond of saying – “The Buck Stops Here.”

These crises have a way of dominating a president’s attention and distracting them from their intended agenda. World events, dear Donald, events, I fear, simply will not and cannot wait.

Trump campaigned, as most presidential candidates do, on a heavily-domestic agenda…”Making America Great Again”… building a wall…repealing Obamacare…bringing lots of jobs back to America and rebuilding an elusive American Dream of the 50’s.

Although some of this might be possible, it will be hard for Trump to stay focused on his U.S. domestic agenda since America’s peace and security are now threatened every day.

His first presidential choices tell us that he plans to work with a non-traditional Cabinet and staff as well, consisting basically of business tycoons with almost no Washington insiders to assist him as he attempts to re-invent Washington…and “Drain The Swamp.”

Unlike other successful newcomers to this job, Trump has not picked many seasoned Washington veterans to rely on – who know where all the “bodies are buried,” and can maneuver here in D.C. as Trump has done back in the “Big Apple.”

Others before him have tried to stay focused on their agendas and set a new course for the ship of state. This is a daunting task under the best of circumstances with Washington insiders on your side.

So like it or not, this may mean the “Boss” will need to get involved in all the nitty-gritty, sometimes boring, bureaucratic details…or suffer the consequences if things do not go as he has planned.

We will now just have to wait and see how all of this plays out in the first hundred days or so of this new administration…or until the Mid-Term Elections, when the voters have another chance to speak their minds.

And we are just going to have to trust the American people and the American system of checks and balances, because this democratic experiment, which began in Philadelphia 241 years ago, is the best we have and, so far, it has stood the test of time.


Jon-Christopher Bua is a White House Correspondent and Political Analyst appearing on-camera and radio via Talk Media News.  Twitter: @JCBua

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About the author

Jon-Christopher Bua

Jon-Christopher Bua is a White House Correspondent and Political Analyst appearing on-camera and radio via Talk Media News. 

He offers his U.S. and Global political analysis on BBC TV, BBC World Service, Euronews, WTOP, C-SPAN, Al Jazeera English, ‘NewsOne Now’ with Roland Martin, LBC 97.3 Radio London, Channel 5 UK, ABC Australia, STV Scotland Tonight and via HuffPostUK Blogs.

A former Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service; is now teaching the course “Politics & The Media: An American-Global Perspective; at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

During the Bill Clinton Administration, Jon-Christopher was Communications Director at two Federal Agencies – The Small Business Administration and The Office of Personnel Management and Managing Director for Intergovernmental and Public Affairs at The Overseas Private Investment Corporation. He also ran several Communications and Outreach operations at the Democratic National Committee and in both Clinton-Gore ’92 & ’96 Campaigns.

Jon-Christopher is a Speaker and Media Trainer and moderates, organizes and participates in political roundtables and symposia worldwide.

Jon-Christopher Bua on Twitter: @JCBua