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One Hundred Days of Disquietude

Summary:
The convention of assessing a national leader’s first 100 days is said to date back to Napoleon, by way of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Whereas Napoleon’s 100 days before Waterloo were a profile in hubris, and FDR’s first 100 days a portrait in hope, Donald Trump’s presidency has been so wayward and uncanny that no single word seems to come close to capturing its essence.Still, two main schools of thought about Trump’s presidency have emerged. One school sees a callow narcissist who, after suffering a string of embarrassing defeats during his first weeks in office, is reluctantly accepting on-the-job training and adopting more mainstream positions. According to this view, White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon, the administration’s “alt-right” avatar, will continue to be marginalized by figures such as National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. Trump’s embrace of NATO (which he had called “obsolete” during the campaign) is similarly reassuring, as is the influence of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner (despite Kushner’s inexperience, almost complete public silence, and lack of any definitive achievements as the Trump family consigliere).

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The convention of assessing a national leader’s first 100 days is said to date back to Napoleon, by way of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Whereas Napoleon’s 100 days before Waterloo were a profile in hubris, and FDR’s first 100 days a portrait in hope, Donald Trump’s presidency has been so wayward and uncanny that no single word seems to come close to capturing its essence.

Still, two main schools of thought about Trump’s presidency have emerged. One school sees a callow narcissist who, after suffering a string of embarrassing defeats during his first weeks in office, is reluctantly accepting on-the-job training and adopting more mainstream positions. According to this view, White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon, the administration’s “alt-right” avatar, will continue to be marginalized by figures such as National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. Trump’s embrace of NATO (which he had called “obsolete” during the campaign) is similarly reassuring, as is the influence of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner (despite Kushner’s inexperience, almost complete public silence, and lack of any definitive...

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