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Donald Trump's first 100 days

‘I thought it would be easier’: Trump reflects on his first 100 days as US President

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 April, 2017, 12:06pm
UPDATED : Friday, 28 April, 2017, 10:11pm

He misses driving, feels as if he is in a cocoon, and is surprised how hard his new job is.

US President Donald Trump on Thursday reflected on his first 100 days in office with a wistful look at his life before the White House.

“I loved my previous life. I had so many things going,” Trump said in an interview. “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”

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A wealthy businessman from New York, Trump assumed public office for the first time when he entered the White House on January 20 after he defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an upset.

More than five months after his victory and just shy of Saturday’s 100-day mark of his presidency, the election is still on Trump’s mind. Midway through a discussion about Chinese President Xi Jinping, the president paused to hand out copies of what he said were the latest figures from the 2016 electoral map.

I loved my previous life. I had so many things going. This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier
US President Donald Trump

“Here, you can take that, that’s the final map of the numbers,” the Republican president said from his desk in the Oval Office, handing out maps of the United States with areas he won marked in red. “It’s pretty good, right? The red is obviously us.”

He had copies for each of the three reporters in the room.

Trump, who said he was accustomed to not having privacy in his “old life”, nevertheless expressed surprise at how little he had now. And he made clear he was still getting used to having 24-hour Secret Service protection and its accompanying constraints.

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“You’re really into your own little cocoon, because you have such massive protection that you really can’t go anywhere,” he said.

When the president leaves the White House, it is usually in a limousine or an SUV.

He said he missed being behind the wheel himself.

“I like to drive,” he said. “I can’t drive any more.”

Many things about Trump have not changed from the wheeler-dealer executive and former celebrity reality show host who ran his empire from the 26th floor of Trump Tower in New York and worked the phones incessantly.

He frequently turns to outside friends and former business colleagues for advice and positive reinforcement. Senior aides say they are resigned to it.

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In his interview, a reflective Trump put himself in the shoes of fellow leaders. Of President Xi - “a very good man and I got to know him very well” - Trump opined that he “certainly doesn’t want to see turmoil and death” in North Korea.

Trump found empathy, if not sympathy, for the North Korean leader himself, Kim Jong-un: “He’s 27 years old, his father dies, took over a regime, so say what you want but that’s not easy.”

And Trump even managed to find an olive branch for the media.

The president has been at loggerheads with many news organisations since his election campaign and decided not to attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington on Saturday because he felt he had been treated unfairly by the media.

“I would come next year, absolutely,” Trump said when asked whether he would attend in the future.

The dinner is organised by the White House Correspondents’ Association.