sábado, 29 de abril de 2017

How Trump Has Reshaped the Presidency, and How It’s Changed Him, Too


The Trump Administration: 100 Days in 2 Minutes

A whirlwind tour of t

bad day.
His boastfulness knows few bounds. “I truly believe that the first 100 days of my administration has been just about the most successful in our country’s history,” he said in his weekly address on Friday.
His Twitter account, of course, has been the vehicle for all sorts of outbursts that defy tradition, often fueled by the latest segment on Fox News. Presidents rarely taunt reality-show hosts about poor ratings, complain about late-night television comedy skits, berate judges or members of their own party who defy them, trash talk Hollywood stars and Sweden, declare the “fake news” media to be “the enemy of the American people” or accuse the last president of illegally wiretapping them without any proof.
David Gergen, a White House aide to four presidents, including Reagan, noted that Franklin D. Roosevelt talked about the “moral leadership” of the presidency. “Unfortunately, we have lost sight of that vision in recent years, and it has almost disappeared during the first 100 days of the Trump administration,” Mr. Gergen said.
Another change to the presidency involves Mr. Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns — a practice of presidents for 40 years — and his continued ownership of a vast business empire that includes properties both overseas and blocks from the White House. “He has overstepped the ethics limits that have bound all other presidents for decades,” said Norman L. Eisen, a chief White House ethics adviser under Mr. Obama.
Beyond that, Mr. Trump has been slow to create a structure like those in past administrations. Orders and memos have not always been reviewed by all relevant officials. Meetings are not always attended by key aides who are leery of leaving the president’s side. “The notion of a chain of command is gone,” said David F. Gordon, the State Department director of policy planning under President George W. Bush.
But if the presidency had grown somewhat stale under the old norms as its occupants increasingly stuck to carefully crafted talking points and avoided spontaneity, Mr. Trump has brought back a certain authenticity and willingness to engage. His frequent news conferences and interviews can be bracingly candid, uninhibited, even raw. He leaves little mystery about what is on his mind.
“The 2016 election wasn’t a delicate request to challenge existing traditions; it was a demand that our next president do things different,” said Jason Miller, a top adviser to Mr. Trump during the campaign. “And while the professional political class struggles to understand what has happened to their hold on power, supporters of President Trump — the forgotten men and women he referenced in his Inaugural Address — love the change they’re seeing.”
Presumably Mr. Trump will remain impulsive and even impetuous, but he has also been open to advice. He was talked out of lifting sanctions on Russia, moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, abandoning the “one China” policy, tearing up the Iran nuclear agreement, reversing the diplomatic opening to Cuba, closing the Export-Import Bank, declaring China a currency manipulator and, in recent days, terminating the North American Free Trade Agreement. He may still do some or all of these, but by waiting, he has the opportunity to lay the groundwork rather than act precipitously.
He now receives his intelligence briefings most days. And aides said they had noticed signs of growth in office, pointing to his decision to strike Syria after it used chemical weapons on civilians and his private efforts to persuade Egypt to release an imprisoned American aid worker. Both cases showed that Mr. Trump “has absorbed the responsibilities of the office and the impact of the decisions he makes,” said a White House official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the boss.
Even if Mr. Trump adapts, though, the larger question is whether the institution will ever be the same. Future presidents may feel freer to make unfounded statements, withhold tax returns or keep private business interests without fear of political penalty. Taboos once broken no longer seem inviolable.
Still, Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, a senior adviser to President Bill Clinton and chief of staff for Mr. Obama, said there might be a backlash once Mr. Trump leaves office. “After Trump, there will be a collective desire to return to tradition,” he predicted. “Whoever comes next will be the anti-Trump in style and character. That’s how it works.”
Karl Rove, the senior adviser to the younger Mr. Bush, agreed. “President Trump will make it difficult for future presidents to step back from the use of social media,” he said, “but it’s very likely the next administration will be more restrained and less personal.” The next president, he added, will probably deploy social media as a premeditated strategy. “It will be part of a plan, not a method of catharsis.”
Meena Bose, the director of the Peter S. Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency at Hofstra University, said Mr. Trump’s presidency so far seemed unlike almost any other, except perhaps Andrew Jackson’s. She noted that Jackson was seen as erratic at the time but was later evaluated by historians as a near-great president.
“Might the Trump presidency be viewed similarly someday?” she asked. “Difficult to see at the 100-day mark, but that is an artificial measurement, with so much of the presidency still to come.”

Brazil Gripped by General Strike Over Austerity Measures Tensions flared in Rio de Janeiro, with schools warning parents to keep students at home, security forces using tear gas and clashes erupting inside an airport.

Brazil Gripped by General Strike Over Austerity Measures

Brazil Gripped by General Strike Over Austerity Measures

Tensions flared in Rio de Janeiro, with schools warning parents to keep students at home, security forces using tear gas and clashes erupting inside an airport.

People broke down a barrier at a group of shops during a protest against Brazil’s president, Michel Temer, in Fortaleza on Friday. 

Paulo Whitaker/Reuters 
RIO DE JANEIRO — A general strike disrupted cities around Brazil on Friday as unions marshaled resistance to austerity measures proposed by the scandal-ridden government of President Michel Temer, reflecting his struggle to persuade voters that his proposals to overhaul pension systems and labor laws are necessary.
Tensions flared in Rio de Janeiro, with schools warning parents to keep students at home, security forces using tear gas on protesters at ferry terminals near Guanabara Bay and clashes erupting in Santos Dumont Airport. In São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, protesters blocked highways, halted much of the public transit network and shut down access to an array of public buildings.
The strike also hit cities elsewhere in Brazil, including Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte and the capital, Brasília, though many businesses in the country were still able to open on Friday, at least partly, or operate at a slower pace than usual.
The strike is completely justified, but I’d be fired if I didn’t go to work,” said Marco Basaglia, 48, a bank employee in São Paulo who walked to work Friday instead of taking public transportation. “Temer hates working people. This is the worst government Brazil has ever had.”
The strike revealed deep fissures in Brazilian society over Mr. Temer’s government and its policies. The president remains deeply unpopular after rising to power last year with the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff. But Mr. Temer argues that his overhauls are needed to restore confidence in Brazil’s weak economy.
Indeed, some problems are glaring. The pension system allows many Brazilians to retire in their 50s, causing deficits to balloon and depleting resources for basic services like education and health care. And some economists contend that byzantine labor laws stymie competitiveness and prevent companies from hiring more workers.

Riot police officers fired tear gas at demonstrators in São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, on Friday.
The majority of people in this strike are union members defending personal interests,” said Joel Matos, 49, an engineer in Rio who hurried to work on Friday in the rain. Mr. Matos, explaining that he was “neutral” on Mr. Temer’s proposals, said: “Some changes will not change our lives. Others have already happened, like outsourcing.”
Still, even at a time when the leftist Workers’ Party of Ms. Rousseff and her predecessor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, is also marred by its own graft scandals, the ability of unions to organize the strike reflected broad dissatisfaction with Mr. Temer and his allies in Brazil’s political establishment.
A poll this month showed that 92 percent of Brazilians thought the country was on the wrong path, with Mr. Temer’s own approval rating standing at just 4 percent. The survey by Ipsos, a global market research company, was conducted from April 1 to 12 in face-to-face interviews with 1,200 people with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.
While pushing for the austerity policies, Mr. Temer’s allies in the Senate also seem to have another priority: curbing graft inquiries. With nearly a third of its members under investigation for corruption, the Senate voted this week to  punish prosecutors for so-called abuses of power.
Mr. Temer himself is facing a claim that he negotiated a $40 million bribe in 2010 for his Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, an accusation he denies. The president’s supporters say he has temporary immunity from being investigated for matters outside his time in office, which lasts through 2018.

His top aides denounced the strike, with Justice Minister Osmar Serraglio dismissing it as “nonsense” and “generalized disorder” in an interview. But with members of Congress seeking to preserve their own generous pension benefits, much of the establishment seems ignorant of the mood on the streets.

On the eve of the strike, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that elite public servants could collect salaries of more than about $140,000 a year, a limit established in the Constitution. Justice Ricardo Lewandowski said it would be unfair for a civil servant carrying out multiple duties to get “paltry remuneration.”

The ruling, in a country where roughly half the population scrapes by on a minimum wage of about $4,000 a year, may reinforce perceptions that Brazil’s most privileged public employees are finding ways to enhance their wealth at a time when the authorities are pressing for austerity measures.
Amid such developments, some supporters of Mr. Temer’s overhauls say he also needs to elicit sacrifices from members of the political and economic elite, or at least do a better job of explaining how the austerity measures could eventually help most Brazilians.
If the reforms are supposed to improve things, why is there so much resistance to them?” asked Celso Ming, a financial columnist for the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo. “Above all, the feeling of the common citizen is that life isn’t just worse than it was a few years ago, but that it’s getting even grimmer.”

Much depends on perspective. Investors betting on Mr. Temer’s ability to deliver helped push Brazil’s main stock index up more than 20 percent over the past year. But Brazil’s unemployment rate climbed to 13.7 percent in the first quarter as a harrowing economic downturn grinds on.
Temer is sinking the country,” said Camila Oliveira, 24, a saleswoman at a jewelry store in São Paulo, emphasizing that she also viewed the strike as “garbage.”
The situation is very ugly,” she said. “If I had the money, I’d leave Brazil.”