From the climate issue to the Jerusalem issue, President Donald Trump makes a point of honoring some of Donald Trump’s most iconic – and controversial – election promises.
Proof of his ability to keep his word and break with the orthodoxy of Washington, his base rejoices. In a hurry, at any price and at the risk of permanently isolating the United States on the international scene, thunder its detractors.
In announcing his decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Donald Trump has sparked a shockwave around the world. But far from diplomatic or geo-strategic considerations, this spectacular announcement is first of all explained by political reasons.
“Other presidents have made this major campaign promise and have forgotten it once in power, and today I hold it.”
From the first lines of his speech, the former businessman of New York was determined to position himself in relation to his predecessors, Democrats and Republicans.
Referring to the passage to their “lack of courage”, he gives Clinton and George W. Bush a claw, without actually naming them, who had, in fact, advanced on this file before turning back.
Even though the actual transfer of the US Embassy from Tel-Avis to Jerusalem could take years, the 70-year-old president knew that the shock announcement would resonate loudly with some of his base.
The Republican Jewish Coalition has paid a full page in the New York Times to salute his “courage”. “President Trump, you promised, you acted.”
Ted Cruz, an ultra-conservative senator from Texas, hailed “with enthusiasm” Donald Trump’s “brave and historic” decision. The champion of the religious right, which constitutes a solid trumpy electoral base, spoke of “a day that will be engraved forever in the books as one of the great moments of history”.
– ‘Sacramental Pact’ –
“Donald Trump sees his pact with his base as sacrosanct,” says Larry Sabato, a professor at the University of Virginia, recalling that his hard core “loves everything he does.”
His spectacular announcements, which inevitably provoke an avalanche of outraged reactions, are also a screen that masks his meager record on the international scene, one year after coming to power.
In fact, if he deconstructed much of what his predecessors, especially the last of them Barack Obama, had undertaken, he launched few new initiatives.
A few days after taking office on 20 January, he dismantled the Asia-Pacific Free Trade Agreement, which was fiercely negotiated by 12 countries in the region. But after a long trip to Asia that took him to five countries, it is difficult to distinguish the guidelines of his policy from this region of the world.
On the Paris climate agreement, where many observers were betting on a compromise solution, he cuts loose and withdraws from this text signed by 195 countries, on behalf of those who brought him to power on a resolutely climate-skeptical message.
America is completely alone? Donald Trump jubile, adds: “I was elected to represent the inhabitants of Pittsburgh, not Paris!”
Sometimes, he finds an arrangement to give the change while listening to those of his team who encourage him to be more nuanced.
He did not “tore up” the Iran nuclear deal, as he had promised, but threatening to end it “at any time” and returning the ball to the Congress camp, he opened a period of immense uncertainty.
For New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, the explanation for this series of decisions that change America’s place in the global diplomatic game is above all in the fact that Donald Trump “does not see himself as the president of the states. But as the president of his base.
“As this is the only support he has left, he feels the need to feed her by keeping the crude and poorly crafted promises made during the campaign.”