by Stephen Lendman
Hosted by veteran newswoman Lesley Stahl, introductory CBS remarks said “(d)uring what seemed an interminable campaign, a divided country found all kinds of ways to describe Donald Trump: visionary businessman, vulgar self-promoter, political neophyte.”
“But after Tuesday, for all Americans, there’s only one description that counts: president-elect.”
Like or dislike him, Trump’s communicating style made him interesting - in contrast to utter boring, pathological liar Hillary. She’s her own worst enemy.
Had Trump faced a Jefferson, FDR or JFK-type opponent, he’d have been resoundingly “trumped.” Instead he triumphed, perhaps by foul means, power brokers jettisoning Hillary after supporting her throughout most of the campaign.
They chose Trump over someone considered damaged goods, too contentious to lead, I believe. Nothing else logically explains what happened.
Voters have no say whatever. Elections (sic) are theater, not democracy in action. Deep state power brokers choose America’s leadership - for president, congressional members and the courts.
Perhaps decided at the 11th hour, dumping Hillary for Trump was astonishing, breathtaking, likely unprecedented, but it happened. The outlier defeated the establishment favorite.
Who could have predicted it? I believed Hillary’s victory was certain. I wasn’t privy to backroom dealmaking.
Reacting to his triumph, Trump said “I’ve done a lotta big things. I’ve never done anything like this. It is so big, it is so - it’s so enormous. It’s so amazing…I realized that this is a whole different life for me now.”
The confrontational campaigner, now acting presidential, most likely intends governing this way, at least publicly and in dealings with foreign leaders.
Stahl: You looked pretty sober sitting there in the Oval Office. Did something wash over you or…
Trump: No, I think I’m a sober person. I think the press tries to make you into something a little bit different. In my case, a little bit of a wild man. I’m not. I’m actually not. I’m a very sober person.”
“But it was respect for the office. It was respect for the president. Again, I never met him before, but we had - we had a very good chemistry going. And - and I really found - it might not be that I agree with him, but I really found the conversation unbelievably interesting.”
Stahl: Do you think that - that your election is a repudiation of his presidency?
Trump: No, I think it’s a moment in time where politicians for a long period of time have let people down. They’ve let ‘em down on the job front. They’ve even let ‘em down in terms of the war front. You know, we’ve been fighting this war for 15 years…
Stahl: This was the message of your campaign.
Trump: We’ve spent $6 trillion in the Middle East, $6 trillion. We could have rebuilt our country twice. And you look at our roads and our bridges and our tunnels and all of the - and our airports are, like, obsolete. And I think it was just a repudiation of what’s been taking place over a longer period of time than that.
…I say it very proudly, it’s going to be America first. It’s not going to be what we’re doing. We, we’ve lost - We’re losing this country. We’re losing this country. That’s why I won the election. And by the way, won it easily, I mean I won easily. That was big, big.
Talking issues, he said he’ll build a combination wall/fence on America’s border with Mexico, adding “I’m very good at this. It’s called construction.”
He’ll deport undocumented immigrants with “criminal records, gang members, drug dealers (two - three million). We are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate.”
“After the border is secured and after everything gets normalized, we’re going to make a determination on the people that you’re talking about who are terrific people.”
They’re terrific people but we are gonna make a determination at that. But before we make that determination, Lesley, it’s very important. We want to secure our border.”
After criticizing lobbyists while campaigning, Stahl asked him why he has them on his transition team. On the one hand, he said “we are trying to clean up Washington.”
On the other, he described the nation’s capital as “one big lobbyist,” adding “we’re going to phase that out.” How he didn’t explain.
He’s made cabinet choices, though not ready to reveal names, perhaps coming in short order. He intends appointing a conservative pro-life justice to fill the high court vacancy.
If Roe v. Wade is overturned, henceforth the individual states will make abortion policy, he said. Asked if he’ll appoint a special prosector to investigate Hillary, “I’m going to think about it,” he said. “…I want to focus on jobs…on healthcare…on the border and immigration…all of these other things that we’re been talking about.”
Trump hasn’t decided on whether he’ll keep FBI director James Comey or ask for his resignation. “I respect him a lot,” he said.
After becoming president-elect, he tweeted, “(a)s far as the salary is concerned - I won’t take even one dollar. I am totally giving up my salary…”
He told Stahl “I think I have to by law take $1, so I’ll take $1 a year. His temperament is his strongest asset, he said. “(W)e’re going to start winning again.”
“We’re going to win on trade. We’re going to win at the borders. We’re going to knock out ISIS.” Asked how, he said “I don’t tell you that.”
Deploying US troops, he was asked? “I’m not gonna say anything. I don’t want to tell them anything. I don’t want to tell anybody anything,” he said.
“All I can tell you is we’re going to get rid of ISIS.”
Nothing was asked or explained about his policy on Syria and other US war theaters. Will he be another warrior leader or focus more on diplomacy? Expect the the former, not the latter.
Stahl didn’t ask about his intended relations with Russia, Vladimir Putin or other world leaders - nor was NATO discussed.
Trump ended saying “(o)ur country is going bad. We’re going to save our country. I don’t care about hotel occupancy. It’s peanuts compared to what we’re doing.”
“Healthcare, making people better. It’s unfair what’s happened to the people of our country and we’re going to change it. As simple as that.”
The jury remains out until he begins governing on January 20. The Obama era is ending. Hillary is politically dead. Christmas came early this year.
Trump shocked the political world, most pundits giving him no chance, and media scoundrels denigrating him relentlessly.
Will he govern more responsibly overall than I and most independent observers expect? I doubt it but hope I’m wrong. So does humanity.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.