WashU Expert: Lambert offers advice on public mindset

'It remains to be seen how these different perspectives will play out'

Donald Trump speaking
Donald Trump speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/Creative Commons)

Alan Lambert is an associate professor of psychological and brain sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, where he directs the attitude and social cognition laboratory. He offers advice regarding the Trump administration mindset, especially regarding Russia and international relations: 

“If there is anything that Americans should have learned from Donald Trump, it’s to expect the unexpected.

“For example, some of Trump’s cabinet picks — e.g. his choice for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson — seem to be consistent with his own friendly stance towards Vladimir Putin. However, other members of his team — notably, his pick for secretary of defense, retired Gen. James Mattis — have taken a much tougher position regarding Russia, one more consistent with the position historically taken by Republicans. It remains to be seen how these different perspectives will play out.

“This is an especially important issue if and when the United States finds itself in a potential confrontation with Russia, such as might occur in the context of Crimea as well as other areas of the former Soviet Union.

“Another area of uncertainty is concern whether Trump will be able to keep the many promises he made during his campaign. For example, one major promise was not only to ‘build a wall’ between Mexico and the United States, but to force Mexico to pay for it. It is far from clear whether such a wall could ever be built and, even if so, whether even a Republican-dominated House and Senate would be willing to support such an endeavor. If there is one certainty in all of this, however, it is the fact that Trump enjoys the spotlight, and it is safe to say that his first 100 days — and beyond — are likely to be anything but boring.”

Read more “First 100 Days” messages at Election2016.wustl.edu.

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