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CNN’s King talks Trump uncertainty at ICBA outlook

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by Warren Frey

The only thing we can be certain of in a Trump presidency is uncertainty, according to one of the U.S. media's leading television journalists.
CNN’s King talks Trump uncertainty at ICBA outlook

John King, the host of CNN's Inside Politics, was the keynote speaker at the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of British Columbia's annual Industry Outlook event, held May 2 in downtown Vancouver. He was interviewed by Vancouver real estate developer Bob Rennie.

"The thing about Trump that makes him such a question mark is that he's never done this before," King said. "They got bumped and bruised (in the first 100 days), but that doesn't mean it'll be a failed presidency."

King pointed out that while Trump is unpredictable, the United States is still the world's largest economy and one of its commanding nuclear superpowers.

"How will Trump handle that? We just don't know yet, 103 days in," he said.

Despite Trump being known as a disrupter, King said in terms of Canada-U.S. relations one could expect a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement by the end of his first term.

"You could upend the Canada-U.S. relationship...but why would you?" he said.

He might make provocative statements and unnerve people along the way, King said, but that's part of his style.

"It's worked for him and I don't think it'll change," King said. "That's how he communicates, but at the end of the day Trump wants a deal."

Rennie added since Justin Trudeau and Trump are both celebrities, they are well matched.

"This is the new environment," he said.

Globalization, the phone as the "supercomputer in your pocket," and the lack of a clear direction for the country are all things that add to the sense of uncertainty, King said, and pointed to Brexit and other populist movements in Europe as indicative of that phenomenon.

"The next 20 years are a giant question mark," King said, and pointed to Trump's authenticity as one of the reasons he won the White House.

"Hillary stopped talking to real human beings, and if you're not in touch, you're going to get thumped," he said.

"It was a data driven campaign and there's nothing wrong with data, but it isn't human."

Clinton is a brilliant person but as she progressed through her political career she became very insular and defensive, King said, and didn't "tend to the garden" of the traditional Democratic base.

"The base has expanded to black voters, thanks to Obama, and Latinos, but why ignore your traditional base?" King asked.

But on Nov. 8, 2016 there was no reason to doubt a Clinton victory, he said. The polls were in her favour but "when the polls are close, they really tell you nothing. It's one source of data to make your point, and it's lazy," King said.

But, he stressed, "the thing to remember about this election is that Trump's own data team told him he was about to lose."

However, Trump connects to the people, King said, and to dismiss that connection is foolish.

"He's defied every rule of political gravity," King said. "The big question is, how long can this continue?"

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