, WASHINGTON, United States, Jan 15 – Donald Trump’s first year in office has been a gripping spectacle of scandal, controversy and polarization that has utterly transformed the way Americans and their president interact.
“Welcome back to the studio,” said a beaming Trump, inviting White House reporters into the Cabinet Room for a recap of his first year in office.
It was a lighthearted remark, but a revealing one. For a year now, the world has watched enthralled, and sometimes aghast, at the Trump Show.
More than any single policy, it’s the style of performance that has captivated and, at times, repulsed the world.
“Donald Trump’s rhetoric is unlike any president in the modern presidency,” said Richard Vatz, a professor from Towson University, who focuses on presidential communication.
“He communicates more frequently and is less concerned about consistency and consequences from his language than any president in this era.”
He has described himself as a “very stable genius,” called other countries “shitholes” and repeatedly threatened his political foes.
Many presidents have tried to bypass a critical media from Franklin Roosevelt’s fireside chats to Barack Obama’s interviews with YouTubers. But Trump has taken that into overdrive on Twitter.
From one day to the next, he is rarely out of the headlines or off the air, permeating every facet of public life.
Trumpisms like “many people are saying” have entered the vernacular “big league.”
Supporters love his no-nonsense style, while opponents are sent into spasms of anger with each new moral outrage, real or perceived.
‘Are you not entertained?’
A life-long showman, he has given weighty geopolitical decisions like his verdict on the Iran nuclear deal or the status of Jerusalem a tease-worthy of a season finale.
He discusses his “ratings” and media coverage more than almost any other topic.
His pronouncements have come to be taken with a pinch of salt, whether about the size of his inauguration crowd or whether he really does intend to go through with his pledge to pull the US out of the Paris climate accord.
Former Middle East negotiator Aaron David Miller said the gap between the president’s words and the reality seen by the rest of the world is a problem.
“The question becomes for our allies and adversaries: how reliable and credible is the president? Does he mean what he says and does he say what he means?” Miller said.
As president, Trump has tweeted more than 180 times about “Fake News,” and around 170 times alone about Fox News, which offers him gushing praise and, aides say, an emotional crutch.
Despite the braggadocio, the 71-year-old has often appeared more comfortable acting the role of president, rather than carrying out its functions.
In the early months, he frequently led guests across the White House into the Oval Office on a whim, expressing almost as much amazement as his visitors.