As phony as everything else about him

Robin Lustig sees a dangerous world ahead.

What scares me most about Trump is not only that he is a deeply unpleasant man with deeply unpleasant views but also that he is grotesquely, frighteningly incompetent and woefully unprepared for the task ahead. His reputation as a successful businessman is as phony as everything else about him, and he is a man who has no experience whatsoever of politics even at the very lowest level, who apparently had no idea of what was involved in putting together a new White House team.

More than a week after his election, no one from his team had been in touch with either the State Department or the Pentagon, and when the Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe became the first foreign leader to meet him since the election, none of the Japanese leader’s aides could find anyone on the Trump team to brief them ahead of the meeting. (After they met, Mr Abe called the president-elect a man in whom he has ‘great confidence’, which suggests both his well-honed diplomatic skills and his love for whistling in the dark.)

Trump is the man – and this is the team (his daughter and son-in-law were both with him when he met Mr Abe) – who will now have to deal with some of the most skilful and experienced political operators on the planet: put Trump up against Putin, Erdoğan, or Xi Jinping and I’m pretty sure that we won’t have to wait long to see who gets the better of whom.

I think that’s right. Trump has the illusion that he is a brilliant operator, because look how rich he is, but I think he’s mistaken about that.

Trump’s supporters say that we commentators have failed to appreciate that what he said during the election campaign should never have been taken literally. He is, after all, a showman, a man who has likened putting together his administration to picking finalists on his TV show. That’s another reason that he is so dangerous: quite apart from his terrifying character flaws, he can never be believed. ‘Don’t take him literally’ is another way of saying ‘Don’t believe a word he says.’

And we have many reasons independent of the whole “it’s just a political campaign” argument for not believing a word he says. He lies relentlessly and without shame. We’re told he was legitimately elected, but I say he absolutely was not, in large part because of all those lies.

It is hard to avoid the suspicion that Donald Trump never really expected to end up where he is. So far, he has shown little sign of having given the mundane nitty-gritty of the presidency much serious thought. Apparently, when he finally got round to chatting to Theresa May on the phone the other day, he told her that if she happened to be in the US any time soon, she should definitely get in touch. He clearly neither knows nor cares how such matters are usually handled. On its own, it doesn’t much matter, but as an example of his ignorance and lack of preparedness, it matters a great deal.

It’s not good to have an ignorant liar in that job.

For the next four years, the world will scarcely dare to breathe as we learn to live with a dangerous and unpredictable president in the White House.

That about sums it up.

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