Take shelter Mr President, there's stormy weather ahead

A Catholic archbishop once suggested that we all "make our own weather". While he probably wasn't thinking at the time about Donald J Trump, he could have been, as he seems determined to create heat and light around himself and his Presidency.

Watch out Mr President; there may be stormy weather ahead, writes Nick DeLuca
Watch out Mr President; there may be stormy weather ahead, writes Nick DeLuca

Amusing meteorological asides apart, Sunday’s 60 Minutes interview with Stephanie Clifford further illuminated the perfect "storm" of questionable personal behaviour, dodgy financial transactions and the intersection with public life and politics that threatens the 45th President’s reputation, his ability to govern, his re-election prospects and – possibly – his marriage.

For a man who believes he could brandish a revolver in the "middle of Fifth Avenue", kill another and still have the support of his base, this might seem like another bump in the road. I suspect it is not.

Why?

Not because his adultery will offend – although it will some. Not because his lying about it will offend – although it will some. Not because paying for her silence probably broke laws – because it probably did.

Not because sordid personal behaviour is worse than (alleged) collusion with the Russians, or financial improprieties in the real-estate world, or even grotesque braggadocio about acts of sexual aggression.

None of that.

Donald Trump craves attention. Needs it. Feeds on it. Creates his own weather to get it.

The problem is – and, as a showman, the former Apprentice host should get this – the audience always, eventually, gets bored of the act, tired of the show.

In 2016, the President put his finger on the pulse of enough of the angry and ignored to play a system that allowed him to squeak victory out of an election where he polled three million fewer votes than one of the least popular candidates in modern US electoral history.

He did it brilliantly by telling that minority of voters what they wanted to hear, playing to fears and prejudices, myths and myopia.

Along the way he played loose with the facts, falsely characterised the system he wanted to run, the people in it already and the ease with which he could change it all, fix it, drain the swamp.

Fifteen months later his core supporters tell pollsters they still stand with him, proud of the political correctness he challenges, the "American-ness" he is trying to restore, the isolation they desire.

And yet he is not trusted by a majority of the public. More than half the electorate thinks he lies regularly, many think we are choosing to march toward war and conflict, even greater numbers fear we’ve alienated our friends and betrayed our allies.

There are always tipping points, moments when the momentum of the pendulum swings hard enough to change the direction of travel, to alter events, to shape history.

In Trumpland, where there are multiple dramas and much theatre every day, it’s harder than ever to see the wood for the trees.

And perhaps this is wishful thinking, but as recent days have passed, I swear I’ve felt the winds of change blowing.

It’s still early, I know, but my advice to POTUS would be: "Take shelter, Mr President." Stormy weather ahead.

Nick DeLuca is a senior partner at FleishmanHillard Fishburn

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