Column: Donald Trump takes the White House

Jane Reddington

Sounder Staff

Tuesday, November 15 2016

I thought the hangover would be much worse when I woke up to a Donald Trump America this morning. The map of red that shocked and disappointed me last night has made me think a lot in these few hours since the race finally reached a conclusion. I stayed up well into the night to hear Trump give his victory speech, and it was dignified and full of grace and respect for Hillary Clinton, a speech I had not expected from him. It was decent and reverent.

When Clinton sent her campaign manager to tell the crowd at her campaign headquarters that she would not be coming to give a concession speech I couldn’t believe it. It felt unprecedented and the mark of a sore loser. Surely she could have given a speech to the country for her followers, those that voted for her and to the nation wanting to hear from the Democratic candidate who came so close and so far in the fight. She is coming to speak this morning, but it’s not the same. 

In all the news I watched last night, there was talk about the “real” Donald Trump. The one, who at the end of one of the debates was asked what he thought was a good character trait of Clinton’s. He had said that he admired her for never giving up. I liked that Donald Trump. I liked the Donald Trump who spoke last night about unifying the country and representing all people. It was interesting to me that in the last weeks of the race, he was able to stay on message. He didn’t rant, he was disciplined. Perhaps that speaks to how he might govern the United States now he is the President-elect.

I still can’t figure out how we arrived at this outcome. But perhaps it will be better than we think. He will have top advisers and perhaps he will grow into the role. Perhaps he will rise to the office he has been elected to and he will bring about the change that at least half the Americans so desperately want. Another point to consider is that this election is really about the “Art of the Deal.” Trump is a negotiator and all his campaign promises are really “first offers” in the negotiation process.

It surprised me on Thursday to hear that Obama and Trump had had a civilized first meeting at the White House. Trump said Obama was a “very good man.” That seemed as big a shock as the election result. A 10-minute meeting had turned into a 90-minute conversation and Trump said he would seek Obama’s counsel. Both men want to heal the country’s divisions. That much is clear. Perhaps they will both “go high,” as Michelle Obama famously said.

The Americans voted for an outsider and Clinton didn’t stand a chance. They wanted someone to bring change, a better economy and someone to “make America great again.” We have four years to see if this billionaire businessman can find his better nature. It’s got to be in there somewhere. Perhaps he is not so much like the wolf that “will huff and puff and blow the house down.”