Trump joins the odd fray and starts swinging. What does it all mean?

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President Donald J. Trump talks with reporters along the South Lawn of the White House Friday, July 19, 2019, prior to boarding Marine One to begin his weekend trip to Bedminster, N.J. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

What has been the defining moment of Trump’s first term as President, so far? In the years between the staggering post-shock of his 2016 election upset over Democratic nominee and Obama heir apparent Hillary Clinton, and whatever happens next, so many Trumpian things have dominated the headlines.

From the apple-cart upsetting everyday antics, to the slightly darker bent of late, to the absolutely ludicrous and unbelievable.

Is America only watching to see what Trump will do next?

It is no secret that American journalists have been dining out, and on Trump’s dime, on the Twitterer-in-Chief for well-nigh on three years solid now. He has dominated headlines. And even when it’s bad, he has dominated press coverage.

What are we saying, especially when its bad Trump dominates the headlines.

Among the things we’ve learned from all this coverage, is that a U.S. president can improve the economy so much, renegotiate trade deals, bring North Korea to the negotiation table, even get Iran on the ropes, and still make people so mad they can’t bring themselves to vote for him.

Perhaps, by Trump’s reasoning, those voters wouldn’t have cast their ballot for a Republican, whatever his level of decorum on Twitter.

Still…what tweeting insults, trash talking, and, yes, also left-field social media diplomacy that oddly seems to pay off, will mean for the election in 2020 remains to be seen.

Trump seems to be banking his reelection chances on turning out his voter base, and that the robust economy will help overcome personal feelings about Trump’s character and political method acting.

It can’t be denied that Trump goes down some pretty strange public rabbit holes sometimes.

Whereas past Presidents have been reticent about and reluctant to be drawn into any controversial or divisive issues, Trump seems utterly unafraid to jump right in.

When former President Barack Obama defended Trayvon Martin, the teenager killed by George Zimmerman in 2014, it was a big deal. More recently, high-profile politicians were burned badly after they leapt to support Empire actor Jussie Smollett after Smollett claimed to be the victim of a hate crime attack by white supremacists.

Supporting Smollett, wading into the controversy before the facts became known, put his defenders in an awkward position when it was later revealed that Smollett fabricated the attack with the help of two paid acquaintances.

For President Trump, arguably the most powerful man in the U.S., to publicly support or defend someone accused of a crime or embroiled in a controversy, is tantamount to a public pardon.

Or, at least it might be, if it wasn’t President Trump.

Trump’s recent support of ASAP Rock, an American rapper accused of assault and being held in Sweden, and his request to have Rocky returned to the U.S. to await trial was rebuffed by the Swedish.

Videos taken by ASAP Rocky of the incident in question reveal a certain side of the story- it seemed as if two youths were harassing the rapper and his group; but the full facts of the matter are not known. Perhaps the youths were simply autograph seekers.

Trump declaring ASAP Rocky a wrongly accused man is a powerful act. Whether Trump has chosen the “right” side remains to be seen.

Another controversy closer to home, and perhaps closer to Trump’s heart, was the recent stripping of Miss U.S.A. Kathy Zhu of her title in light of some of her past social media posts critical of Islam, and the hijab.

Trump, apparently also feel Zhu had been wrongfully stripped of her beauty queen title, took the surprising- if it wasn’t Trump- step of hiring her.

Kathy Zhu, a conservative, has been appointed to the board of directors for “Women for Trump” and will be helping with Trump’s reelection campaign and the goals of his administration.

For her part, Zhu is thrilled, posting to social media to thank him- of course- and tweeting a photo of her hugging one of his books, “The Art of the Deal”.

How does Trump decide what matters get his attention? Is this all a clever game Trump plays against the media, and wins?

For Trump fans, his maverick style is inspiring, vigorous; it’s about time someone started getting something done in Washington. Even if that something is hiring disgraced beauty queens and defending American rappers accused of an assault in another country.

The economy is also looking pretty good.

For Trump’s detractors, of which there are many, there is no rhyme or reason, there is no deeper meaning, there is no masterplan; only Trump, with his manic media habits and megalomania, playing to whatever catches his fancy. Checkers; not chess.

Are Trump’s critics right?

Time will certainly tell. The election of 2020 is coming, and the ball never lies.

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)

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