It’s President Trump.
At 8 am Alaska time, The Donald became the most underestimated president in modern times. Even the parade this afternoon is sparsely attended, compared to the past few presidential parades.
Sometimes it’s nice to be underestimated. Half of the public doesn’t seem to expect much of Donald J. Trump. Maybe that’s going to work to his benefit.
By comparison, Barack Obama had been practically anointed as the Inevitable One, a process that started with his stunningly “on-message” keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention back in July of 2004, four years before he ran for the presidency.
If anything, the quite effective orator Obama had been overestimated, which led to the deep disappointment that many Americans felt during his presidency. As it turned out, he was not a unifier. He divided the nation bitterly.
Not Trump. His was an uphill battle all the way to the late hours of Election Night, 2016. He’s never been one to be “on message.” Half of his supporters cringed even while they backed him, because he is not a man used to crafting every turn of a phrase. He is not, as is evident, politically correct enough for half of the voters. Those who voted for Hillary are not coming over. Ever.
Trump fought this battle alone much of his journey to the White House. He had to clear a crowded field of usual suspects. He did so with a blustery and blistering style that scared many mainstream Republicans, who were convinced he was the one candidate who could not win against Hillary Clinton. They, too, underestimated him.
Eighteen months ago, the media could barely contain its disdain when Trump announced his candidacy. They thought it was a joke. From the outset, they made a winking sport of their coverage, using dismissive phrases and code language. One could almost see them laughing into their sleeves.
A reporter in 2015 asked him: “You are not a nice person. How are you going to get people to vote for you?”
Trump’s answer was “I think I’m nice…But I think people want competence.”
That very day of his announced candidacy, the spokeswoman for the Democratic Party, Holly Schulman, poked fun at the entire Republican field: “Today, Donald Trump became the second major Republican candidate to announce for president in two days. He adds some much-needed seriousness that has previously been lacking from the GOP field, and we look forward to hearing more about his ideas for the nation.”
The Democrats were pulling for him back then. They didn’t think he had a chance against Mrs. Clinton. He was the Democratic establishment’s favorite candidate.
Dismissed by the liberal intelligentsia, and hammered by the media as temperamentally unequipped to lead the nation, Trump motored on, tweeted on, and never once apologized for who he is.
Today, Trump’s inaugural address mirrored the remarks he made back on June 16, 2015.
He did not try to mend fences with the liberal establishment. He didn’t turn and throw a single compliment to his predecessor, but doubled down on his “take back our country” populist message.
It was the speech of a fighter who, for all his theatrics, is remarkably consistent in the platform that he ran on: American jobs, American schools, Americans’ safety and national security come first for him.
No more than one half hour after he became president, his Administration began to unwind some of 11th-hour moves of the Obama Administration:
He suspended a Department of Housing and Urban Development rule that Obama approved on Jan. 9, which lowered charges for borrows on risky mortgages backed by the the Federal Housing Administration. Conservatives have held that moving mortgage risk to the federal government and away from the private sector is bad policy; the federal government should not take over what the private sector should be doing.