WASHINGTON, DC – To say that US President Donald Trump’s administration made waves in its initial weeks would be an understatement. Large protests across the United States and around the world attended his inauguration, and have continued since. Meanwhile, Trump has already declared war on the adversarial American press, and held acrimonious telephone conversations with friendly countries’ leaders.
But to make sense of the new administration’s overall performance, worried and perplexed observers inside the US and around the world should follow five general guidelines, rather than focus too much on discrete events.
First, all new US administrations are messy at the beginning: they stumble, create confusion, and say and do things that they later retract, or at least regret. Some officials will not be up to the job, and will leave the government after a few months.
Many of the missteps that occur early in a presidency stem from a flaw in the US political system. New presidents take office without a full team in place, and must wait for their cabinet nominees and other officials – the people who actually run the government – to be confirmed. During Trump’s first two weeks, his administration consisted of just a few aides rattling around in the White House. Like its predecessors, the Trump administration will settle down and settle in – unless it doesn’t.