Trump's unending controversies

By Sajjad Malik
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, August 29, 2018
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U.S. President Donald Trump. [File photo/Xinhua]

U.S. President Donald Trump has consistently been in the media limelight for all the wrong reasons. Hardly a week passes without fresh dirt scattered around him. The latest hype concerns the plea bargain saga of his former lawyer Michael Cohen and conviction of former campaign chairman Paul Manafort on tax evasion and bank fraud. 

Through the grueling process, Cohen finally buckled under pressure. He could have faced 65 years of imprisonment on conviction but decided to plead guilty for a reduced sentence. He is also eager to speak out about whatever he knows concerning Trump - which may include a formal interview with Mueller, who is currently investigating the possibilities of collusion with Russia concerning the 2016 elections. 

Trump has no one to blame except himself. He showed a lack of judgment in picking close aides and exhibited a casual attitude towards legal matters. For example, he initially denied any role or knowledge about payments made to ex-lovers. Later, he qualified it by saying that Cohen should have made the payments on his own.

With the payment issue now on the front page of almost every U.S. media outlet, Trump confessed that the secret payments were made using personal funds and did not come from campaign money. This shows that he has not been straightforward about the issue from the get-go. 

Throughout all of this, Trump has let the Russian collusion rumors drag on for far too long. It is snowballing and ultimately may derail his presidency. Trump has either failed to understand the gravity of the situation or is intentionally trying to prolong it for political mileage. 

The strategy is not working and denouncing the claims as a "witch hunt" and further saying the probe is prompted by "fake news" is not helping. 

After Cohen's confession and Manafort's conviction, Trump's body language has suddenly changed. He seems agitated and is also showing signs of frustration. But beneath all of this, it's not clear if he has a plan or not.

The discord with the traditional establishment over security and foreign policy is another irritant. The old guards see the future centered on Russia and China. Trump supports good ties with Russia when his opponents in politics, the media and security establishments want confrontation upped with Putin over alleged interference in the 2016 elections. 

Trump might be right to stand up and demand a new approach in relations with Moscow but the timing is not ideal and his ideas have consistently been rejected by members of Congress. 

Regarding China, Trump tried to make amends for his foul-mouth campaign rhetoric but it has not worked in the White House and he has now adopted a tougher approach, which will create economic problems. The trade war can seriously damage the interests of the U.S. 

In the middle of trade tensions with China, a war of words with Iran over nuclear issues and traditional bickering with Russia over collusion and strategic issues, Trump has also been caught up in serious domestic controversies. 

The situation can easily get out control and complicate his remaining tenure if Democrats succeed to grab control of the Congress after mid-term polls later this year. 

The exact damage caused to Trump by Cohen's plea bargain is still being evaluated. He may escape from the formal criminal charges due to the office he holds but impeachment cannot be ruled out if the numbers in Congress go against him.    

His latest interview about consequences of possible impeachment – that markets will collapse and everybody will be poor – shows that it has been on his mind and is trying to ward off the worst. 

Trump could have used domestic performance to blunt criticism but it has been far from satisfactory. He has failed to deliver on his promises, whether it is healthcare, the building of the border wall, making America great again, or fixing longstanding foreign policy problems. Instead of keeping his promises and bringing any real change to the country, he spends an enormous amount of energy fighting duels on Twitter.

The question is how Trump has been able to come out of the myriad of controversies unscathed? I think it has to do with the lack of political experience that is worsened by the fact that he is a "know it all" and misplaced belief that he can fix everything by bullying others. 

Unfortunately, he has proved a divisive figure when what the U.S. really needs is unity. His controversial legacy may last longer than his tenure as president of the United States.   

Sajjad Malik is a columnist with For more information please visit:

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of

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