On April 29, US President Donald Trump will have been in office for 100 days. DW's Washington, DC, bureau chief Miodrag Soric talks about the mood in the capital and the rift in US society.
Miodrag Soric has headed the DW bureau in Washington, DC, since 2009, after serving as the international broadcaster's editor-in-chief for seven years beginning in 2002.
Soric studied Slavic studies, political science and German language and literature studies in Cologne, Kyiv, Moscow and Munich. In 1995, he headed the Deutsche Welle Russia department. Three years later, he took over as head of the Central and Eastern Europe department.
DW: President Trump has been in office now for 100 days. How has the political climate in Washington changed?
Miodrag Soric: I believe the choice of Donald Trump as American president has deepened the divide in the country. Many Americans no longer feel any sympathy for the other camp's point of view. I don't see that this will change any time soon. The language has become harsher. I know many Democrats who openly question the President's state of mind. Reaching any kind of political compromise with them is impossible. Ideology superimposes pragmatism in any form, which is devastating for practical politics because the Constitution stipulates compromise.
You worked as a journalist during the Obama administration. How are things different for you now?
Access to an incumbent president has always been difficult. But Donald Trump openly refers to journalists as "enemies." He undermines Americans' already fragile trust in the press. He personally attacks individual critics and offends them. We've not seen that before.
Everyone in Washington knows that the President sits in front of his TV in the White House early in the morning and late at night in his bathrobe and slippers, all alone, zapping through the cable channels. That is his most important source of information. And that is sad, because a president has access to information from the ministries and intelligence services.
But Trump has problems reading longer texts. He has an extremely short attention span. That gives conservative news channels a scope of power they have never had.
How has the country's general mood changed with Trump at the helm?
More and more Americans are disappointed by politics. The liberals are disappointed because Hillary Clinton lost the election, and there is no really convincing Democratic leader in sight. Many conservatives are disappointed because Donald Trump is giving up on his election campaign promises one by one, including a less interventionist foreign policy.
So far, Trump has not been able to reform Obamacare. He lacks financing for the wall along the border with Mexico, and is threatening to start a trade war with Canada. No one knows whether Trump can get his tax reforms through Congress. Trump made many more promises than he can keep. If you raise false hopes, you harvest real disappointment.
Do you feel people in general are more strongly polarized, and are they more actively engaged in politics?
Trump's approval ratings have reached a historic low. That encourages many liberals to get more involved in politics. There's a lot that is going on that the media doesn't know about. But you will see that when it's time for the next Congressional elections and Trump is still floundering, the Democrats will win. At the moment, they lack a convincing leader. Bernie Sanders was a nice guy, but too old.
Has your attitude toward your job changed with the new administration?
No. Good journalism is important and will remain important.