By Sam Tilley
To say that Donald Trump enjoyed a tumultuous summer would probably be an understatement. Anyone inside his administration hoping for a quiet couple of months quickly found themselves embroiled with talks of treason, trade wars and, for the first time since the days of George W. Bush, the possibility of American diplomatic isolation on the world’s biggest stages.
The overarching theme of Trump’s government is “America First”, and just in case anyone was in any doubt over just how far Trump would go to achieve his most prized objective, this summer has certainly laid these reservations to bed.
Unprecedented tariffs levied against both the EU and China have led to many political and economic observers calling for cooler heads to prevail, but if Trump can weather the international condemnation he received after withdrawing from the Paris climate change agreement, the opinions of comparatively few won’t force him to double back on the domestically-popular policy.
Arguably, the biggest revelation to hit the White House this summer didn’t come from Moscow or Berlin or Washington, but instead from within. The publishing of an anonymous op-ed by The New York Times subtly entitled “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration” brought the President’s worst fear to light; the idea that one of his chosen senior officials could possibly betray his government. This would have been exemplified by talk within the op-ed of invoking the little-known 25th Amendment; a procedure to remove a President by a simple majority of his executive cabinet and, most crucially, the Vice-President. The fact that current Vice President Mike Pence is heavily rumored to have authored the anonymous article has no doubt left the President feeling very isolated indeed.
With Donald Trump now facing isolation on both the domestic and international stages, there are sure to be questions over how sustainable his policies are and, more importantly, just how efficiently he can enact them. One thing analysts can agree on is that no matter what happens during the final 18 months of Trump’s first term as President, he will not go down without a fight.