It seems that the winds of change are also blowing across America.

In 1991, a film was made, “Sleeping with the enemy”, starring Julia Roberts, Patrick Bergin and Kevin Anderson. It was about a young woman who fakes her own death in an attempt to escape her nightmarish marriage, but discovers it is impossible to elude her controlling husband.

In the case of Donald Trump, we have a scenario in which he, his family and his associates are accused of, not ‘sleeping with’, but speaking to the enemy, namely the Russians. 

At the same time, Donald Trump’s first six months in the White House have been a riot of scandal, chaos and outrage that could spell doom for his entire administration.

All US presidents face crises that seem to sweep the White House from its moorings, but few presidents have caused such outrage or faced such a multitude of crises as Donald Trump has in his first six months.

To be consumed by scandal from day one is not good, but to have approval ratings that are so low and the potential for Republican defections, is not what you expect.

Trump swaggered into office on January 20 declaring Washington was broke and only a businessman with killer instincts such as himself could fix it. That promise looks increasingly threadbare.

The White House remains understaffed, under-skilled and struggling to attract new talent. Existing staff admit to being exhausted and demoralized, with the constant fear of hearing the dreaded words “you’re fired”.

Trump’s political agenda has been blown to smithereens: the border “wall” has not been built, Nafta has not been torn up, the Iran deal is still in place and Obama care remains the law of the land.

Even with Republicans in control of both houses of Congress, the influential and nominally supportive Drudge Report declared this the “most unproductive Congress in 164 years”.

Trump has continued where his campaign left off, picking fights with the press, judges, his own party, Democrats and former FBI director James Comey, whom he fired. All the while, a drip, drip of evidence has amplified allegations that his family and aides sought help from Russia to tip the election against Hillary Clinton.

There have been bright spots. The militant Islamic State group has been virtually defeated in Mosul and Raqa, the capital of the so-called caliphate, is besieged. Trump has fulfilled his promise to scrap a trans-pacific trade deal, and successfully appointed conservative judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

But Trump wins have been few and far between. “I don’t see these six months as a success and it’s hard for me to see the argument that it was,” said Zelizer.

But presidents can and do right the course. Bill Clinton’s first term was notoriously difficult and like Trump he suffered an early and embarrassing legislative defeat on healthcare.

“History is full of examples of presidents who learn from their mistakes and go on to have major legislative successes,” said Alex Conant, a Republican strategist at Firehouse Strategies who served in George W Bush’s administration. “Presidents are ultimately judged on what they get done and he’s only six months in. There is still plenty of time for them to do a lot. He could still end up being a highly successful president.”

But changes would be needed, Conant admits. Even Republicans have criticized Trump’s recent failed efforts to push his own healthcare reforms over the line.

With little policy background, Trump has seemed more at home with the theatre of the presidency: preferring late night tweets and military parades in Paris to making policy speeches and wrangling votes.

 According to media, in his previous life, Trump was marketing everything from steaks to bottled water, to condos with his name on it. Now tax reform is going to have his name on it as well. In his entire career, he’s been a very good marketer and during the campaign he did an amazing job energizing the conservative base. These are the skills he needs to now apply to governing.

But Trump’s character could equally prove his administration’s worst enemy, as a lot of the problems he faces are of his own making and he’s not going to change his personality.

Michael Signer, the Democratic mayor of Charlottesville and a lecturer at the University of Virginia, said: “The path to legitimacy for Trump would be to signal his embrace of our traditional norms and our checks and balances. The more he refuses to do that, the lower his numbers will go, the more illegitimate his presidency will get and the more desperate he will get.”

If nothing changes, Trump’s approval ratings — already historically low at below 40 per cent, could portend a shellacking in the 2018 midterm elections. If Democrats strengthen their size or gain power in one or both chambers then the president is in for a rough ride. The more cornered he feels, the more angry he gets and attacks his attackers.

The US, President Trump and his government seem to be in turmoil, as the Russian Connection continues to hound them. After months of speculation about the relationship between President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin, hard evidence has at last emerged which is deeply damaging to the White House.

This represents a turning point in the ever-more-complex saga, the so called Kremlin Gate, and how the Trump White House handles the revelation will determine its future. This comes on the heels of the president’s sidebar one-on-one meeting with his Russian counterpart at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

The fact that a meeting with the Kremlin leader went ahead, despite the warning by the U.S. Intelligence Community, that the Russian spy services helped elect Trump last year.

To make matters worse, once he was home, Trump fired off numerous combative tweets about his relationship with Putin, including the stunning idea that he and the Kremlin boss had discussed setting up a joint cyber security unit with Moscow to ensure the integrity of future elections.

This, simply put, was the most shocking policy suggestion uttered by any American president. It seems that Trump wanted to share American cyber-secrets with the country whose spy services illegally and clandestinely helped put him in the White House.

Will President Trump, leader of the strongest country in the world, be able to survive the winds of change and ride out the storms that are gathering force in his country, only time will tell. So in the meantime, we adopt a wait and see policy.  As Winston Churchill had famously said, ‘This is the end of the beginning’.

Email: trust@helplinetrust.org.pk