In politics weeks are not independent capsules of time. There are matters that by their very nature take up much time so they are almost permanent parts of the weekly to do list. This week has one matter that must be addressed on the first day and others that may take unexpected directions.
Monday is the day that the House Intelligence Committee requested the Oval Office to supply information on President #Donald Trump’s accusations that the Obama Administration ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower during the presidential campaign..
These accusations came during a stream of tweets two weekends ago which confounded even some of the President’s supporters and which his Press staff struggled to explain to the public. The reaction of the Democrats in the Capitol was to put more pressure on the Republicans to appoint a Special Prosecutor on the allegation of Russian interference on the presidential campaign won by #Donald Trump which they had so far resisted.
On Sunday Republican Senator John McCain, a long time critic of the President within the GOP, entered the fray during a television interview by asking the #White House to provide the information on which the accusations were made or to withdraw them..
Without second guessing the Oval Office’s response, this matter has the potential to bring to a head the issue of the Russian interference. Furthermore, the President’s resultant twitter silence over the last ten days may be an indication that tweets may no longer be a regular part of Presidential communications. Only time will tell on both issues.
North Korea has been a thorn in the side of American foreign policy for decades and under three generations of the Kim family. While many may dismiss the erstwhile “communist” dictatorship as an insignificant anachronism recent weeks have shown that is it growing in ambition and may wish to challenge the #United States on the world stage.
As a result of the recent missile tests by Pyongyang the United States deployed a missile defence system in South Korea. This has had led to some tension between America’s ally and China..
This week Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will make an official visit to Asia where undoubtedly the behaviour of North Korea’s Kin Jong-Un will be a hot topic for the entire continent. This will be a test of the White House’s foreign policy agenda and the first true proving ground of the new Secretary.
China itself is playing a role in the uncertainty in Asia as it has increased ts military strength over recent years, as well as constructing artificial islands in the South China Sea for possible use as advanced military bases. This has raised the fears of China’s neighbours, many of which are American allies, who themselves claim sovereign rights of the sea.
This will be a difficult chess game for the Administration to play.
Health care and Immigration
Added to the above are two issues that were at the heart of Donald Trump’s election victory and are his often stated priorities for the beginning of his Administration.
The issue of Immigration led to the executive orders banning Moslem immigration and for the construction of the southern border wall. The first orders are in court with a number of states are now challenging the second order which was meant to rectify the details of the first order that was blocked by the courts.
The repeal and replacement of Obamacare is causing much heartache within the Republican Party and the proposal presented by House Leader Paul Ryan last Tuesday is being challenged by many of his own congressmen and senators. Its approval is now under a cloud and may well put a spanner in the Oval Office’s works for at least the short term.
This week will put to the test the political skills of the President. Up to now he has had the benefit of the doubt, but as time proceeds he will be face ever more political realities which have stopped experienced presidents in the past.
The true test of the new Administration has well and truly begun.