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Trump's 1st month in White House: magic realism or hallucinatory realism

U.S. President Donald Trump now has been in White House for a whole month since he was inaugurated on Jan. 20, and it seems like an almost daily tug-of-war between Magic Realism and Hallucinatory Realism in the country.

Magic Realism means using magic ways to describe the reality, while Hallucinatory Realism means using realistic ways to describe an illusion. Both terms are fiction genres.

From views of most U.S. mainstream media and Trump's protesters, the past 30 days were full of protests, chaos, scandals, disarrays, division, confusion and frustration from inside and outside America.

But from views of Trump, his White House aides and his supporters, the newly-inaugurated president is loyal to his campaign pledges, very effective and has done a "wonderful job".

Monday is a federal holiday called President's Day, memorizing first U.S. President George Washington's birthday. On this ocassion, tens of thousands of protesters held "Not my President's Day" demonstrations in Washington D.C., New York, Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles and some other U.S. cities.

The new outcry follows Women's March on Jan. 21, nationwide protests over his court-frozen travel ban on global refugees and certain immigrants after his first week in presidency, as well as "Day without Immigrants" closing down by many schools, shops and restaurants across the country days ago.

Meanwhile, Trump tries to show his popularity among Republican supporters. Over the weekend, estimated 9,000 people attended his first campaign-style rally since inauguration at a hangar in southeastern state of Florida, hailing Trump when he announced his first month in presidency has already made "incredible progress".

A Gallup poll over the weekend finds Trump's 40 percent job approval is 21 points below the historic average for elected presidents around mid-February, while Rasmussen's latest Daily Presidential Tracking Poll gives Trump a 55 percent approval number.

However, Trump's job approval ratings are low largely because few Democrats – currently eight percent, evaluate the job he is doing positively. Among Republicans, he wins 87 percent approval rating, higher than the 83 percent historical average approval presidents have got from their party backers at this point, the Gallup poll shows.

The Pew Research Center's latest survey suggests similar results – only eight percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents approve Trump's job performance, the lowest rating for any new president from the opposing party in more than three decades, but 84 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners nod the way Trump is handling his job as president.

The intensity of the public's views of Trump is also striking: fully 75 percent either approve or disapprove of Trump strongly, compared with just 17 percent who feel less strongly, the Pew poll finds.

"In first month, views of Trump are already strongly felt, deeply polarized," the Pew report concluded.

In the past month, the pro-or-against Trump tug of war has also rolled out in another magic or hallucinatory style, featuring the fierce fighting between the White House and most major media over fake news or "alternative facts".

These news outlets say the size of Trump's inauguration crowd is much smaller than Barack Obama's in 2009, but White House spokesman Sean Spicer rebuked by calling it "the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration - period - both in person and around the globe."

Numerous reports from U.S. media say the Trump administration was often in chaos and suffered from inside fights and classified information leakage, citing the forced resignation of Trump's National Security Adviser Michael Flynn partly as a result.

And Trump, though slamming the leakers as "criminal", defended last week at his first White House press conference that his team was running like "a fine-tuned machine", blaming "fake media" for bringing down a loyal Flynn.

Approaching the end of his first month in White House, Trump further blasted on Twitter that five U.S. major media organizations are "the enemy of the American people", which includes New York Times, NBC News, ABC, CBS and CNN.

Again, Americans are found deeply divided over which side is honest. According to a new Fox News poll, 45 percent of U.S. voters trust the White House while 42 percent believed in news media.

Trump backers praise the president for the embarking of Obamacare repeal, the official TPP withdrawal, the travel ban on refugees and certain immigrants, the crackdown on undocumented immigrants, the talk about building a wall along the Mexican border, Trump's pick of a new Supreme Court Justice nominee, and so on.

In the eyes of those against Trump, the new president's administration is dysfunctional, crowded by billionaires and full of conflicts of interests, while most of his pledges are brags or lies. Many experts say that they can't see a pragmatic way leading to the fulfilment of many Trump's key campaign pledges.

"Reality collides with Trump's promises," analyst Eli Stokols claimed in a report released by the Politico magazine.

There occurs a serious question: Has the U.S. politics been plunged into somewhat magic realism or somewhat hallucinatory realism, or trapped at a point in between? If Americans can't agree with facts, what does it mean to the whole world?

In this puzzled world, maybe what we can do is just "wait and see".

[Source: By Xinhua Writer Xu Jianmei, Xinhua, Washington, 20Feb17]

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small logoThis document has been published on 22Feb17 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.