The president is US President Donald Trump, and the anti-president’s men include a considerable number of highly placed individuals in US political institutions, civil society institutions, journalism, and of course the Democratic Party.
Yet, this president who defied all expectations in reaching the Oval Office has been exercising his constitutional rights and responsibilities for more than a year despite this opposition through the most bizarre and controversial of events in the recent history of American administrations.
The “politically correct” have had to bow in bewilderment to the democratic will of the American people. They could hardly believe that Trump would be able to carry on and implement the promises made in his election campaign.
But he has showed an unprecedented determination to “do it his way”, reminding one of his choice of music — US singer Frank Sinatra’s song “My Way” — for his inauguration party, angering Sinatra’s daughter.
One staunch anti-Trump figure is US journalist Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, who has launched a campaign against Trump. In a recent article, Friedman referred to the “president’s men” and contrasted these with the anti-president’s men who had expressed their disagreement with Trump’s statements at his recent meetings in the UK, EU and Helsinki.
He labelled those who had avoided such a blunt rejection of Trump as cowards.
Trump, as was the case with former president Barack Obama, is the democratic choice of the American people. The latter managed to survive for two terms on the basis of a liberal agenda both nationally and internationally.
The former, in line with his self-declared role as the saviour of America and the American people, wants to remind the American people that he keeps his promises.
Trump may be unaware of the number of his opponents at home, especially in the media. The Democrats and the anti-Trump campaign in their all-out war against him are capitalising on what they have called his “treasonous” position on the alleged Russian intervention in the 2016 presidential elections in the US.
However, they have not been able to build up the critical mass necessary to take revenge on Trump by impeaching him.
Trump will be rejected only if his trade wars with China and the EU lead to negative results for his supporters in the US business community and in the American working class, which he has promised he will put above all other considerations.
On North Korea, Iran, and Russia, Trump is smart enough to see foreign-policy issues as simply matters of realpolitik and to treat them pragmatically.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 2 August 2018 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly under the headline: All the anti-president’s men