Donald Trump began his presidency with all the thunder of cavalry hooves pounding up, over and down the hill.

Under a bombardment of Executive Orders, alternative facts, post-truths and daily un-presidential pronouncements, the media became a key target during the first two weeks.

Trump and his officials insisted that easily disprovable statements - Trump's "big" win, inauguration crowd size, election fraud and so on - were correct. The media has become blunt in its factual takedowns. The Toronto Star, for instance, is compiling "all the false things Trump has said as president".

By February 10 it was up to 57.

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The Trump regime seems to be on a pet's life-span where three weeks feels more like three years. Photo / AP
The Trump regime seems to be on a pet's life-span where three weeks feels more like three years. Photo / AP

Trump's progress was followed by people around the globe. Who was Steve Bannon: A Shakespearean strategist pulling the puppet strings? How much could Trump achieve with presidential power, a compliant Republican-ruled Congress, and his simple but effective messaging? Would the President treat foreign alliances and policies with the same dismissiveness he was treating traditions and conflicts of interest? Was, as Foreign Policy experts and others have pondered, Bannon operating a deliberate scattergun approach of actions and statements or was it simply an incompetent operation?

Opposition welled up from the women's march, and airport protests at the immigration ban, to courts, federal employees, and Senate hearings. It all gathered into a brief tsunami of anxiety that surged around the globe.

How long ago that seems now, with Trump into his fourth week in power and suffering his first Cabinet resignation, that of National Security Adviser, General Michael Flynn.

While the news pace has been overwhelming, the shock of it has worn off. People are becoming used to the regularly shifting lines of officials. The patterns of the Administration's approach are being established and understood -- and eyed with scepticism, anger, contempt and wariness by opponents and enthusiasm by supporters. To his backers, Trump is doing what he said he would and shaking up Washington as they wanted in his own style.

Gallup polling shows the gap between Trump's disapproval and approval ratings has widened from 0 three weeks ago, to -15. Yesterday it was 55 per cent to 40 per cent - a historically bad position for this stage of a presidency. At the same point, Barack Obama was +43 and George W. Bush was +32.

Polls also show Trump's policies are popular with the Republican base. At what point do Republicans in Congress take more notice of the growing ethics breaches of Team Trump? At what point do they take more notice of the disapproval of the majority of voters? Or do they count on good Republican voter turnout at the midterm elections in 2018? Vox political writer Matthew Yglesias tweeted: "The line Trump would have to cross to lose support from congressional Republicans is the line GHW Bush crossed: higher taxes on the rich." European history professor Timothy Snyder of Yale University told Suddeutsche Zeitung that "the institutions have not thus far restrained him. He never took them seriously, acts as if they don't exist, and clearly wishes they didn't ... It is all about him all of the time, it is not about the citizens and our political traditions".

In previous administrations, it might take months for actions to be processed and resurface as fallout. Now we are already seeing results and answers. Analysts have had to adjust takes on the run as they absorb fresh information. What changed between the start and where Trump is at as President?

Donald Trump accompanied by, from second from left, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, White House press secretary Sean Spice and and Michael Flynn. Photo / AP
Donald Trump accompanied by, from second from left, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, White House press secretary Sean Spice and and Michael Flynn. Photo / AP

At the beginning, he was setting the agenda and giving off perceptions of a bulldozing control and power. Opponents were on the backfoot. The public went through a mental adjustment as people reckoned with how Trump would govern. Those people who thought Trump would change his style and strategies once he became president learned he wouldn't. Those who hoped he would govern less for his base and more for the wider community learned he wouldn't. Those who thought he might ease up on controversial policies given he lost the popular vote learned he wouldn't.

But then it began to unravel.

Protesters, activists, lawyers, courts and opposition politicians managed to adapt to changing circumstances and created news angles of their own. The Trump team was not able to consistently control the news cycle with its own distraction tweets, events and statements, although important background stories such as possible Russian links and conflicts of interest have been overwhelmed.

Leaks to the media from inside the White House undercut the initial narrative of intimidating control. Actions were botched, especially over the wording and chaotic execution of the immigration Executive Order. The ban became a great dragging weight in the mud that halted the Administration's momentum and became a rallying focus for opponents.

And a strong seam of surreal ridicule has seeped into the mix, drawing in Trump, his top advisers and family.

It was reported that Trump was angry about an Executive Order he signed that allowed Bannon at National Security Council meetings. Leaks to the New York Times said Trump stopped working at 6.30pm and watched TV in a bathrobe. Advisers reportedly held meetings in the dark because they couldn't work out how the lights work. Trump called negative polls fake news. Aide Kellyanne Conway had days of putting out a fire over a non-existent Bowling Green massacre.

Trump's Administration put out a list of "under-reported" terror attacks (extensively reported on) that contained typos and factual errors and avoided non-Western victims.

Another leak reported that Trump called Flynn at 3am to ask whether a weak or strong dollar is good for the economy. It was also leaked that Trump complained that hand towels on Air Force One weren't soft enough. Trump told the National Sheriff's Association: "I understand things. I comprehend very well, better than almost anybody".

Michael Flynn resigned as Trump's national security adviser Monday. Photo / AP
Michael Flynn resigned as Trump's national security adviser Monday. Photo / AP

Flynn has now resigned for allegedly discussing lifting sanctions with Russia's ambassador to the UN and then misleading Vice-President Mike Pence about it. The contents of Trump's calls to the leaders of Australia and Mexico were leaked. Reuters reported that during Trump's call to Russian President Vladimir Putin the US President had to ask an aide what the 2010 New START treaty was. Trump was reportedly unamused when press secretary Sean Spicer was depicted on Saturday Night Live by Melissa McCarthy.

A CNN report detailed how Trump dealt with Sunday's North Korean missile test while at dinner at his Mar-a-Lago golf resort in Florida. He got a call on a mobile phone and discussed it there with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a public dining room. The club became a situation room with the President surrounded by paying members. "Documents were produced and phone calls were placed to officials in Washington and Tokyo," CNN reported.

It reported that Trump crashed a wedding party there, saying "C'mon Shinzo, let's go over and say hello ... they've been members of this club for a long time. They've paid me a fortune". CNN said that paying members "now view dinner at the club as an opportunity for a few seconds of face time with the new President".

Analyst Shashank Joshi of the Royal United Services Institute tweeted: "Security implications mind-boggling. Uncleared staff & members walking around as Trump forms DPRK strategy. Then there's the corruption".

Images of what happened were captured by a club member and put on Facebook. As Chelsea Clinton tweeted: "How many of Mar-a-Lago's new members will be (already are?) members of foreign intelligence agencies and media organisations?" Clinton's mother, of course, got hammered during the campaign for using a private email server while Secretary of State for the potential risk to security.

For Trump, hypocrisy applies to other people. He just ignores it. Max Boot wrote in Commentary: "Given the way that Trump as a candidate flayed Hillary Clinton over the use of a non-secure email account, one can only imagine what he would have said if President Clinton were reading top-secret documents and having top secret discussions in such an unsecure environment. The use of mobile phones, in and of itself, is a major security breach because their cameras and microphones can easily be hacked by foreign intelligence services."

President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shake hands during a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House. Photo / AP
President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shake hands during a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House. Photo / AP

Trump now looks less Mussolini and more Berlusconi: Less the in-control authoritarian and more the gaffe-prone, hard-to-take-seriously leader beset by scandals (who nevertheless was successful at winning elections).

The continual leaks have been quicksand under the White House, showing the infighting and inexperience of officials there and the bluster covering it.

If Bannon is intentionally spraying disorder to rally the populist insurgency, Trump still has a lot to deliver to his supporters as his Executive Orders have mostly been statements of intent. The promise of the wall has been outlined, but with all the work still to be done. The immigration ban has been beaten back for now, Obamacare's replacement is not in place, work creating jobs in Trump-heartland areas is still to come.

What the Trump team has been most successful at so far has been presenting the President as a unifying figure - for the opposition. On the immigration ban, Intercept journalist Murtaza Hussain noted: "Trump tried sending message of contempt to Muslim countries with his ban, but images that have really spread are of protests against it".

Domestic opposition will continue with grassroots activists keeping pressure on Washington politicians. The Washington Post's Dave Weigel tweeted: "Worst widely-shared idea: Liberals will burn out on Trump outrage ... Outrage is the gas in the tank." The Republican head of the House oversight committee, Jason Chaffetz, was targeted in a rowdy town hall meeting. Analyst Matt McDermott says: "Understand urge to compare the movement underway with Tea Party, but by any measure it's larger with a president that's much more unpopular."

Still, the Democrats' inability to prevent Trump nominees from being confirmed shows the party's weakness as the minority in Congress. And the number of fake or unsubstantiated anti-Trump stories on social media is growing.

President Donald Trump, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, leave the room after making statements about the North Korean missile launch. Photo / AP
President Donald Trump, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, leave the room after making statements about the North Korean missile launch. Photo / AP

Given how much has happened already and Trump's unpopularity, Flynn may not be the only adviser with a short job-span. McDermott tweeted at the weekend: "Three weeks in and four WH officials have already done things that'd have had them fired in past Admins: Conway, Spicer, Bannon and Flynn". During the campaign, Trump ditched senior officials Corey Lewandowski and Paul Manafort.

Looking from the outside, we still don't know where the crucial divisions of power lie. With Trump and his cabal of advisers? With Congressional Republicans? With Cabinet members and departments? Yesterday the New York Times reported on instability at the National Security Council. It said: "staff ... read President Trump's Twitter posts and struggle to make policy to fit them. Most are kept in the dark about what Mr Trump tells foreign leaders in his phone calls".

Some secretaries such as Rex Tillerson at State and James Mattis at Defence have expressed different views to their boss. Mattis has just given allies Japan and South Korea a hug on a reassurance tour. But what if the inner circle of Bannon, Jared Kushner, Stephen Miller and Reince Priebus hold sway over policy?

So far, the Administration has talked up Iran's threat, already been burned in Yemen with a fatal raid and backed down on any change to the one-China policy after promoting Taiwan's cause during the transition.

Atlantic writer James Fallows was blunt: "Sequence on China maximally harmful 1) Raise alarms/hackles w dramatic new policy 2) Meekly/weakly say "never mind". He added: "Very difficult to overstate how much weaker the US looks in Asia now, via patented Trump combo of bluster and retreat."

On Trump's quiet reaction to North Korea's latest test, former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, an expert on the country, said: "I give him good marks for being restrained".

An escalating clash in the Gulf is a scary prospect. The New York Times reported that Mattis, who is continually written up in Washington as a voice of reason, considered seizing an Iranian ship to look for Yemen-bound weapons.

The regime seems to be on a pet's life-span where three weeks feels more like three years.

Who knows what's just around the corner.