A Million Minutes In Trumpland: How President Donald Looms Over The Midterms
Has it really only been two years? As America approaches its midterm elections, November 2016 seems like a decade ago.
By time the midterms results are known on Wednesday (AEDT) it will have been 654 days, or almost a million minutes, since Donald Trump took office.
In that time? Porn stars, resignations, sackings, Muslim bans, "the wall", those tweets, Kanye and Kim, allegations of corruption and sexism, hurricanes, shootings, bombings -- and all of it against the backdrop of the Russia probe that is slowly leeching its way into every facet of Trump's political and personal life.
And it's no-where near the end yet.
Trump has redefined the presidency, perhaps forever. But has he redefined the nation's politics as a whole?
His political enemies, the Democrats, do not seem totally confident of clawing back the 23 seats they need to reclaim the House of Representatives in Tuesday's midterm elections.
A common theme of among pundits has been 'this latest scandal would have brought down any other president -- but not Trump'.
With each mounting firestorm of controversy, he seems to only draw confidence and steely resolve, the media coverage only cementing the idea in his head (and the heads of his MAGA supporters) that the press, the liberals, the establishment, "the swamp", is against him and plotting his demise.
Trump's administration has resembled a revolving door at times.
Chiefs of staff, secretaries of state, senior counselors, deputy assistants, national security advisors, press secretaries, communications directors -- all come and go, barreling in then getting turfed out as if through saloon doors.
There's an entire, sprawling Wikipedia page dedicated to cataloguing the timeline.
The Mueller probe into Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 election continues to stretch its tentacles into every part of Trump's life.
One by one, former associates have been snapped up by prosecutor Mueller, with deals cut and testimony obtained.
But we're still here. And so is Trump. And no matter the talk about impeachment, Donald J. Trump is almost certain to see out his term in office.
They call it the 'Trump train'.
Perhaps it's because he barrels through every disaster, shielded by his refusal to give an inch, to give any quarter to opponents or the idea that he might be wrong.
Calling him a racist or sexist won't work in the midterms, said Bill Schneider, CNN's former chief politician analyst.
"He would not think of these things as racist and his supporters don't," Schneider told 10 News First's Hugh Riminton this week, ahead of the elections.
"They [supporters] are angry about this. It's an angry constituency and they see him as their leader."
Schneider said educated white voters in affluent suburbs, who would have been solid Republican voters for years, are "fleeing" the party and Trump ahead of Tuesday's midterm elections.
"He's certainly energised people on both sides of the divide, people who are for him and people who are against him," he said.
"The people for him see him as their saviour, someone who can save the country and bring it back to what it once was."
Despite the scandals, things aren't too bad in America under Trump, at least on paper.
The economy is looking good, as do employment figures, with Republicans taking this as a sign Trump is good for the nation. They're not feeling as glum about the midterms as the Democrats would hope.
Even scandals that would have destroyed or at least wounded any other president seem to be marked as mere blips on the Trump radar.
It's been a million minutes in Trumpland and with two years left until the next presidential election, and there's almost sure to be a million more after these midterms.
Some of the troubles hitting the Trump White House:
- November 8, 2016: wins presidential election
- January 20, 2017: inaugurated as president. First major saga is over the size of the crowd in attendance, with Trump claiming it was the largest ever, but photos begging to differ
- January 27, 2017: so-called 'Muslim ban' comes into effect, without warning or much explanation, causing chaos at airports as travellers from several Muslim-majority countries like Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Syria are blocked from entering the US
- January 2017: orders the building of a wall on the Mexican border
- May 2017: tries, and fails, to get a bill repealing the Obamacare health insurance laws through the Congress
- May 2017: fires FBI boss James Comey
- June 2017: withdraws US from Paris climate accord
- July 2017: tweets a doctored video of himself performing a wrestling move on a person with the CNN logo imposed on the head
- September 2017: tries to overturn the DACA act, which allows children of illegal immigrants to stay in the US. This causes enormous scandal and is eventually abandoned
- April 2018: the administration starts separating children of immigrants from their families at the Mexican border. The 'zero tolerance' policy leads to countless children locked up in cages, in heartbreaking images beamed around the world
- June 2018: Nuclear summit with North Korea, after months of teasing Kim Jong-un