If anyone should have been nominated for an Oscar award for acting, it should have been President Donald Trump.
He has demonstrated that he can play whatever role is required of him to advance his perceived leadership and power, even personally ordering the controversial assassination of a powerful and key Iranian general last month.
In fact, Trump has demonstrated his acting skills so skillfully that he successfully managed to manipulate even jaded Republican party senators to keep him in power despite his facing impeachment for his controversial actions to undermine the electoral prospects of his perceived Democratic party presidential rival Joe Biden.
Following the recent Republican Senate majority’s predictable rejection of the U.S. Congress vote to impeach him, Trump displayed a previously little known ability for acting — which those long exposed to his normally abrasive and contemptuous treatment of any perceived critics or enemies presumably might have found somewhat disconcerting or simply self-serving.
In a recent address to his followers, the president adopted a seldom-seen mournful expression on his normally combative and contemptuous face. Addressing his followers, Trump softened his voice and looked sadly at his audience of supporters saying, “We did nothing wrong.”
His soft-spoken tone, and seeming sincerity, quickly won over those in attendance at such an historic time for the American people as they contemplate the very future of their increasingly divided nation when they must decide who is the best person to be president of the world’s most powerful nation this coming November.
Interestingly, former Republican party presidential aspirant, Sen. Mitt Romney, was the sole Republican senator to vote for Trump’s impeachment. Romney said he had agonized over several weeks regarding the charges relating to Trump’s actions to freeze military assistance funds to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky unless he carried out an investigation of possibly questionable financial dealings involving the family of former vice-president Biden.
Such seemingly contradictory factors regarding President Trump are not easy to ignore. This is true not just for Americans but for the global community, and most definitely Canada, whose very economic well-being is closely linked with the United States.
The Trump of recent days who oozed such seeming sincerity about the unjust and false personal attacks on him by his political enemies, including Democratic party Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, appears to have been replaced by a different Trump, the one who never hesitates to belittle others publicly and is still facing a multitude of accusations from a large number of women who claim he perpetrated various sexual acts on them.
And in recent days, President Trump had Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman fired and forcibly removed from his position in the White House. His crime? He was a key witness in the inquiry who received a subpoena from the U.S. Congress to testify regarding the alleged attempt by Trump to obtain negative information on Biden’s possible involvement in financial deals with Ukrainian officials.
Interestingly, the American ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, a multi-millionaire businessman, who donated a substantial sum of money to Trump for his first election, was also fired a few days ago for corroborating that President Trump had in fact frozen military aid to the Ukraine.
As if there weren’t already enough scandals involving Trump, the latest involves four top federal legal prosecutors suddenly removing themselves from the case of Trump’s longtime friend, millionaire Roger Stone. Prosecutors had called for a seven- to nine-year sentence for Stone lying to Congress and tampering with witnesses, but their recommendation was just overruled by the Trump-appointed attorney general who has taken charge of the sentencing.
The question now is whether even the American constitution and rule of law still remain safe from the threat posed by Trump while in the White House.
Harry Sterling, a former diplomat, is an Ottawa-based commentator.