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'That Trump press conference last Wednesday had my eyes out on stalks and I spent an hour afterwards attempting to pick my jaw up from the ground' Photo: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

'That Trump press conference last Wednesday had my eyes out on stalks and I spent an hour afterwards attempting to pick my jaw up from the ground' Photo: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

REUTERS

'That Trump press conference last Wednesday had my eyes out on stalks and I spent an hour afterwards attempting to pick my jaw up from the ground' Photo: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

American political anoraks/nerds/junkies are currently in their element. I count myself among them, gorging on the 24/7 news cycle that was so dull during the Obama years and that has suddenly come to life once more. We may come to mourn that dullness in due course but, for now, the constant reporting coming from New York and Washington is mind- boggling.

That Trump press conference last Wednesday had my eyes out on stalks and I spent an hour afterwards attempting to pick my jaw up from the ground.

Think about it, all that talk of Miss Universe, cameras in hotel rooms (or not), germaphobes, no tax returns, sons taking over the family business on a promise not to talk to Pop, the effective schoolyard shoving of a respected CNN journalist, etc etc. And that's before we even get to Putin and Russia and China…

Jesus wept, it went on forever and I could not take my eyes off it. There were moments where I laughed out loud and then stopped to think that this isn't a weird episode of The West Wing, this is an address by the President-elect. Of America!

The man was busking and barking his way through the 45-minute event and all hope that a more 'presidential' Donald might show up evaporated. The rights and wrongs of that are for another column and another commentator but from my couch I watched the man who consumed airtime throughout the summer at a rate others could only dream of and that same man showed up last Wednesday.

He didn't change his tune or tone, that's who they voted for and that's who they got and that's who's going to live in the White House. Sometimes.

And maybe there's something refreshing in that - perhaps that's why he got elected.

Having driven through parts of America last July in the middle of the convention season, it was common to see dead towns, boarded-up shops, abandoned machinery on desolate fields - in other words, Trumpton, a land populated by the dispossessed who wanted anyone but Hillary, or indeed any politician at all, as president. And their guy showed up last Wednesday, angry, belligerent, fed up with mainstream this or post-truth that. He was singing the song that got him elected, why was I flabbergasted? Fellow US politics heads should read a fine memoir called Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance. The author is a 31-year-old from the Appalachian Mountains and his story, a screwed-up American Nightmare that appears to have morphed into the Dream, is considered essential reading for those trying to understand how Trump got elected. We in Europe (for the most part) remain gobsmacked by that win even still but a few days outside New York, Chicago and Los Angeles will open your eyes to a very different America, one that is so fed up that they'd rather 'your man off The Apprentice' ran the country than ANY other politician in the land.

Could it happen here? I'm not so sure, although I got a good laugh when I read Michael O'Leary commenting that he had no interest in entering politics and that he wouldn't even vote for himself!

Meanwhile, the Irish Daily Mail cleverly released a poll in which they asked would we welcome a visit to this country by President Trump. The vote split 50:50. The breakdown showed that women rejected the idea 66:34 while men approved of the visit by - wait for it - 66:34. So, what to do? The Taoiseach will soon be heading for the White House but will he issue an invitation? If Trump came to town, would we be able to separate the man from the office and the good people of America he represents?

Whatever happens, it won't be boring and, rightly or wrongly, the Trump years (1? 4? 8??) are going to be fascinating.

To borrow a phrase: "Buckle up, it's going to be a bumpy ride."

Sunday Independent