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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 1799

Unprecedented Presidential Transition in the US

Hemantha Abeywardena writes from London…

With the inauguration just 9 days away, there seems to be very little love lost between the outgoing president and the next occupant of the Oval Office. The unprecedented, hurriedly-arranged, first news conference just reflected the widening chasm between the two administrations, in which president-elect Trump, once again, proved that he is his own man, after all – despite being the leader of the Free World.

In the news conference, it was classic Trump once again: he made no effort to hide his disdain about the mainstream media; those who expected him to be ‘presidential’ – whatever that means – while facing – or confronting - media got it wrong again.

Up until calling the unusual press conference, President-elect Trump had been tweeting on daily basis, both in taking on critics and in explaining his policies in simple terms, despite attracting criticism for confining his policies to 140 characters. Majority of his followers, however, love his tweets and not prepared to shed any tears for mainstream media, when Mr Trump brands the latter in unflattering terms.

Two of his key nominees for the incoming administration – Jeff Sessions and Rex Tillerson – meanwhile were subjected to intense scrutiny during the hearing before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee for two successive days.

Although, Mr Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil CEO, the world’s most valuable company that used to occupy its position alternately with Apple during the last two years, didn’t face the hostility of some members of the public, his close friendship with President Putin of Russia was potentially enough to deviate the hearing from what he actually plans to do in the new administration, based on his unique experience in running a vast multinational company.

Nor did it help Mr Tillerson show how he can use his own meteoric rise - from a civil engineer with humble beginning to the top of the company - in a matter of four decades in guiding one of the most important arms of the new administration.

As for Mr Sessions, he managed to emerge unscathed despite being portrayed as a ‘racist’ for some of the remarks he was said to have made in mid-eighties. He appeared to have done his ‘homework’ to dispel the caricature made of him: Mr Sessions could be seen cuddling his Asian-looking granddaughter before delivering his opening remark; then, he set out the instances in which he actually took on the ‘racists’.

Meanwhile, the outgoing leader, President Obama, lamented about the health of US democracy, while taking a swipe at President-elect Trump, before an emotionally charged audience.

In this context, there is going to be room for more unpredictable developments in the US politics in the next few days. It they take place, the inauguration will go down the history exactly like the campaign that preceded it - as the most unorthodox presidential inauguration in the US history.

- Asian Tribune -

Unprecedented Presidential Transition in the US
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