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Which brings us from Trump, the highly flawed Person, and Trump, the Policymaker with both sensible and nonsensical policies to his credit or blame, to Trump the President. And it is here that the debate becomes most difficult to resolve. There are some, and not only members of Trump’s core, who say we must view Trump the Person and Trump the Policymaker separately to form a reasonable view of Trump the President. The Person, they concede, is appalling — post-literate in the words of Steve Bannon, Trump’s one-time self-styled puppet-master, now in exile after aiding and abetting the writing of Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, or Sopranos on the Potomac as Financial Times editor Lionel Barber would have it. A vulgar consumer of McDonald’s Big Macs, chocolate milk shakes, and Fox News, the Person is not a man with whom you would choose to associate. But that, they contend, is a separate matter from his policies, which have put the country on the right track.

His trade policy is set to end decades in which the elite’s reverence for free trade blinded it both to Adam Smith’s warning of the need to retaliate against protectionist trade practices by trading partners, and the devastating effect of unfair Chinese trading practices on entire communities.

His efforts to stem the tide of illegal immigration, and replace the current legal system with one based on merit, is the policy that best serves American interests.

His deregulation policy is uncaging the animal spirits of American entrepreneurs and businessmen, and ending an era in which sub-par economic growth was accepted as “the new norm”.

His fiscal policy might some day unleash inflationary pressures, although none such seem in view at the moment, but at least it has made possible the end of a cash drought that has reduced the military to curtailing training exercises and cannibalising planes and weapons for spare parts.

And his belligerent foreign policy forced North Korea to seek an easing of the pressures on it by a show of comity at the winter Olympic games in South Korea, and at least some Nato nations to step up their military expenditures.

To which the response is that it is impossible to separate the Person from the President, no matter the Policies pursued. Just as the flawed person that was Richard Nixon, who had among his credits the opening to China, eventually brought him down, so, too, with Donald Trump. His personal behaviour has demeaned the office he holds, and reduced America’s standing in the world. Polling by the Pew Research Center shows “a considerable drop” in the share of the public in 37 countries that hold “a favourable view” of America, a worrying trend in a world in which we will need allies in dealing with Iran, North Korea and other bad actors. His misrepresentations about seemingly trivial matters such as the size of the crowd at his inaugural, the margin of his victory over Hillary Clinton, the size of his tax cuts relative to those of his predecessors would be worrying if, as his critics claim, they were mere lies. But I think they are worse than that: what Cole Porter calls self-deceptions that believe the lies. A President who can’t accept reality is a danger to the nation, if not the world, and should be removed even if some of his policies warrant applause.
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