• Michael Cox is a former National MP.
Apoplectic seems a good word to describe the face of a friend of mine when the conversation turns to Donald Trump. This person seems to lose their usual composure, equanimity and political fairness. When all other points in his favour have been debated, the plea, "but he just isn't fit to be an American President", seems to be the last resort.
Messrs Nixon, LBJ and Clinton strangely seem to have taken second place to Donald in these presidential fitness stakes.
What is overlooked in this debate is that Trump couldn't give a tinkers cuss as to whether he appears presidential or not. He gave adequate notice to the American voting public during the 2016 campaign as to how he would behave if they elected him. Like the majority of all his promises, he has actually kept it.
Some media continue lead a vociferous and noisy "lets' get Trump [LGT]" campaign. This is led by the left wing media outlets; the Washington Post, the New York Times and CNN. Apparently by design, not a good word about him ever crosses their word processors.
Even the pettiest and most trivial criticisms don't escape their mass vitriol. Anyone who dares disagree with their often biased reporting is verbally crucified. The genesis of this anger, in my view, is their inability to forgive him for beating their favourite and much totted Hillary Clinton.
Sadly most of the reports from the USA we hear and read locally come from these LGT promoters. I haven't seen the Wall Street Journal quoted recently.
At the core of his first year Trump has made it clear he will keep his promise to pull the blanket up around the United States. He has removed a huge amount of US funding of lost causes around the world and stopped their expensive role as International policeman. He is a US-first President.
His promised tax reform is now in place and a recent headline, "Apple facing US$52b tax bill", gives clear evidence he means what he says about bringing back cash held overseas by US corporates. Apple has returned US$252 billion to the country's coffers at a much reduced tax rate of 10 per cent.
In doing this he has brought 20,000 jobs back on to American shores. Add these to the extra jobs Ford and other major corporates have decided not to export and one can understand why his core support remains in place and the country's unemployment figures are dropping. With the country's GDP steady at 3 per cent US investors have been rewarded with a 30 per cent increase in the value of their shares since Donald became President.
Yes he can be insulting to fools he has trouble tolerating and I've no doubt he will continue to behave and talk as he always has. He's one tough SOB especially when it comes to chasing "the deal". He is at heart a deal doer.
More than 20 years ago I spent the day with him. He was nice to me as a member of the Casino Control Authority because he wanted to be considered for a casino operators licence in New Zealand. One of his casino companies was in receivership.
We drove from Trump Tower in New York to Atlantic City to see the casino in question. En route he negotiated the replacement of his group's fleet of cars. The price started at US$12m and finished at US$6m; deal done.
He also told me he had originally borrowed US$50m to build the casino in trouble. He recalled to me the conversation with the owner of this merchant bank. The message was, "Look my old buddy, the way this is panning out we're both going to lose. You'll lose all your cash because no one is going to buy a used casino and I'm going to be left with a worn out hulk on the boardwalk in Atlantic City. I can manage to keep on trading with a mortgage of US$25m but no more. So how about you write off US$25m and we can both keep on keeping on?"
They did the deal.
Now I watch him with a huge amount of interest. His behaviour bothers me not at all. His deal with the American people is a tumultuous affair, but he keeps his promises whatever the personal cost, a new experience for citizens of the USA.
In my opinion he will only improve his standing from here on in. He, or perhaps his daughter, will beat the Democrat Nominee [could it be Oprah?] into a cocked hat in three years' time.