Last Saturday I saw Donald Trump addressing a large audience of his faithful supporters as I turned my television on for the latest news on the feared coup in Turkey. It was an opportunity to see the man in action, a man I knew during the 1980s rather well, and I was curious enough to listen to him as a potential president of the United States.
I was very disappointed to hear him. Although Trump was full of gusto he became boringly repetitive whilst from time to time trying – without much success – to tell us that the reason for the gathering was to introduce his sidekick Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana, as his running mate. He eventually introduced Pence after a monotonous speech that focussed entirely on himself and barely mentioned the man he was supposed to be inaugurating.
In an appearance that marked a pivotal moment in his campaign Mr Trump was slated to explain to supporters why he had decided on Mike Pence and unite them behind his choice. Mr Trump said Mr Pence has been his ‘first choice’ and that he was the man who would help him fix a ‘rigged system’. But in a speech that lasted almost an hour the mentions of his vice president pick was cursory.
As Mr Pence waited in the wings of the stage in Trump Tower, New York, the real estate mogul covered old ground telling the audience that he had ‘looked after veterans’ better than anyone else. He attacked Hilary Clinton, his Democrat rival, as ‘crooked’ and he boasted about the votes he had received in the primary election race.
When the speech ended Mr Trump made no attempt to stop for a photoshoot with the man who could be a heartbeat away from the presidency. His handshake was brief and unsmiling and then he left the stage.
I thought the whole show was a disaster. He bragged about his various successes as an entrepreneur who had the knack of intuition and the only one who could make America great again. He was bombastic to say the least, and rather unconvincing as a future president. The lack of humility was transparent and is likely to put people off.
Trump’s unorthodox campaign, which has been defined by controversy and aggressive rhetoric against minorities, has prompted plans for mass protest in many parts of the country.
Hundreds of groups are gearing up to demonstrate for or against the likely Republican nominee. His nominations will in the circumstances be a torrid affair but hopefully without any casualties.