In early November 2016, Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, expressed more clearly than many other world leaders the hope that Donald Trump, when in office, would be very different from the Donald Trump she had witnessed on the presidential campaign trail.
Comments attributed to Mr Trump while campaigning have led many to accuse him of being racist, sexist, and discriminatory towards people with disabilities – to name just three character traits that have met with liberal-minded disapproval.
If Ms Sturgeon and others are to have their wish fulfilled, however, Mr Trump, after entering the White House on 20th January 2017, will need to consistently demonstrate liberal, tolerant, non-discriminatory opinions and behaviour.
Suppose this did indeed occur. Imagine that the first act of the new president was to personally champion the cause of disabled, Mexican, Muslim women. Many would wonder what could possibly have led to such an apparent transformation.
In such circumstances, the following might be rationales to consider – doubtless all would be proposed:
1 – The CIA – or the shape-shifting, lizard-like aliens who control the world – had replaced Donald Trump with a liberal look-alike.
2 – A divine messenger had shown up in the Oval Office, pointed out that Mr Trump was in his latter years and explained that God remained undecided about whether the president’s final elevator journey should be up or down.
3 – Donald Trump had been part of an elaborate hoax for a US reality TV show. The writers had constructed a character from a composite of least desirable presidential characteristics. Then, somehow, it had all got out of hand.
4 – Donald Trump had been a really nice guy after all and had wished to be president to do good in the world. He had lied to get elected as he had correctly calculated that only a racist, sexist bigot could hope to win the hearts and minds of more than half the US population. Also, the Ku Klux Clan vote could have been a clincher.
This scenario has an interesting corollary in that Mr Trump’s alleged threats to go after his opponents after the election could transform into him targeting his own supporters. He might passionately castigate those who elected him, saying how disgusted he was by their behaviour and telling them that their appalling attitudes had no place in the modern world.
5 – Donald Trump had always been the ideal president. He had been targeted with a misinformation campaign by a biased media – a media that had been supporting a political elite who had become out of touch with, and had ceased to care about, ordinary US citizens.
6 – Donald Trump had really been as bigoted as the liberals had feared. He had discovered, however, that, as president, the pragmatics of balancing complex political factors, both at home and overseas, constrained his words and actions. He had been forced to concede that a president is not nearly as powerful as one might think.
When will the real Donald Trump reveal himself?