A mutant personality

Donald Trump is often compared to the likes of right winger Le Pen, Eurosceptic Farage or political showmen Berlusconi. Yet, none of these define the mutant personality of the tycoon who became US president last month. Trump is even different from other US populists, such as former governor Huey Long, who took office pledging to nail the wealthy to the wall. Trump is a complex mix. He proposes reducing business regulation, cutting corporate tax and limiting the highest tax bracket to 25%, thus benefiting the most wealthy. Yet, he also wants to free 75 million low-earners from taxes, despite the estimated cost for doing so amounting to five billion dollars. It is not clear what he will do about demands to raise the minimum wage. Yet he has ruled out cutting public pensions. Although a millionaire, Trump was never the Wall Street candidate, and in fact he garnered votes in the Rust Belt, traditional Democrat states and among those hardest hit by the crisis. The protectionism Trump proposes hardly fits with the fact that one out of every 14 jobs in the US depends on international trade. Meanwhile, his staffing of his administration with rich figures with a joint fortune of 100 billion dollars lies uneasily with his populism. Trump favours continuing the move towards isolationism begun by Barack Obama. Russia and China are rubbing their hands because the slogan Make America Great Again implies a renunciation of the country's role as the defender of democracy. And the main loser in this strategy is Europe, which will have to find 90 billion dollars a year to keep a level of security that until now has been provided for free by Washington. / R.R.

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