The new President-elect of the United States of America is Donald J. Trump.’
Those, I can say with some certainty, were the words that only Donald himself and me ever thought he might eventually be saying when he first announced he was running last year to global mockery and scorn.
‘Underestimate him at your peril,’ I wrote that day on June 17, 2015, as I explained: ‘Trump has a big popular appeal away from the snobby halls of Washington and New York’s media elite. Regular Americans love the guy; he’s a fierce patriot, gutsy, and bursting with ‘can-do’ confidence.
He doesn’t pretend to be something he isn’t. He’s a big, bold, bombastic… loud, dynamic, compelling and polarizing character.. who craves and commands attention …and who will electrify the tediously long US election process with the same fearless aggression he goes after those who cross him in business or on Twitter.’
I’ll restrain myself from taunting all the baffled, distraught Trump-hating elites currently weeping and wailing into their kale smoothies with an unnecessarily snarky, ‘Told ya!’
But I don’t think it crosses the unseemly gloating line to politely whisper: ‘I did try to warn ya…..!’
Trump won because he challenged all political convention and every single facet of the establishment.
He took on his 17 Republican rivals, the Democrats, the print and TV media, Washington and Wall Street elites, and sneering foreign leaders. Even the Pope copped it when he dared to criticise him.
It wasn’t pretty, and occasionally it was downright ugly.
But it was also astonishingly effective in rallying support from the tens of millions of working class Americans struggling to make ends meet, many of whom who can’t even afford a train ticket to taste the rich and privileged air on the East and West coasts.
Trump was their billionaire Robin Hood, a man who absolutely understood their cares and concerns and was prepared to stand up and fight for them against the ruling classes who didn’t seem to give a monkey’s cuss about them.
The key issues in this campaign were not climate change, legalising marijuana or gay marriage.
They were the economy, jobs, immigration, and terrorism.
Trump tapped into each of these with clear, defined, loud messages that he rammed home day in day out for 16 months and which grabbed huge media attention.
Love him or hate him, he was constantly speaking about things that Americans really worry about.
He also positioned himself against the corrupt, self-interested, lobby group infested political system that these same Americans feel strongly has enriched itself at their expense.
Hillary Clinton perfectly personified that system; a career politician who has repeatedly fleeced her positions of power to make millions of dollars for herself and her husband, and who carried with her a permanent smug sense of entitlement to be America’s first female president.
I was struck by the sheer scale of cocky complacency which enveloped the Clinton camp in the past few weeks as Election Day approached.
It smacked of precisely the same ‘there’s no way we can possibly lose to these ‘ignorant, racist, sexist Neanderthals’ establishment mentality that provoked Britain into Brexit in June.
Hillary herself dripped with haught, superior arrogance, referring to Trump’s supporters as a ‘basket of deplorables’.
I genuinely don’t think she ever gave any serious thought to losing to someone like Trump, who will now become the only President never to serve in political life or the military.
In that regard, she reminded me of General John Sedgwick, who reassured his Union Army men in the American Civil War as enemy snipers lurked: ‘They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance….’
General Sedgwick was then promptly shot dead before he could finish the sentence.
Hillary got her come-uppance for failing to identify what was really engaging her fellow, less well-off Americans and for constantly mocking those who were attracted to Trump’s outsider appeal.
I watched all the millennials sobbing in shock at her quickly dismantled ‘victory’ party last night and thought: ‘you all only have yourselves to blame.
I saw them all tweeting their derision at Trump, snorting with incredulous laughter at what they saw as this idiot clown daring to play in their world.
As Trump roared around Middle America rallying the poor, jobless and downtrodden with increasingly powerful speeches offering hope and change, the Clinton brigade were bopping up and down to Hillary’s celebrity mates like Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry all calling her ‘Madam President’ and saying how wonderful she was.
In the most obscene illustration of this revoltingly elitist back-slapping, Madonna even publicly promised to give oral sex to everyone who voted for Hillary.
An offer that might well have swayed many to vote Trump.
Madonna made me physically gag but so frankly did all the other celebrities sucking up to Camp Clinton.
Twitter and Facebook exploded with stunned rage, indignation and horror.
People who I know and respect behaved like this is the end of the world, an Armageddon moment from which the planet will never recover.
Oh pur-lease! Get over yourselves.
Trump’s never been the monster they said he was, just as Hillary has never been the perfect angel they claimed her to be.
That’s why he got many more votes from black, Hispanic and female Americans than anyone thought possible last night.
Trump’s also a pragmatic guy who made it clear from his measured and respectful tone after winning last night that he’s going to be a very different sounding President to the snarling candidate beast he felt he had to be to win.
As someone who’s known The Donald well for years, I constantly urged everyone to see him through the prism of a business guy closing a deal, not as an ideological politician.
Trump, as we now all know, is a brilliant deal-maker.
That quality alone might help Washington snap out of its current intransigent, paralysed malaise to actually get stuff done for the people they serve.
He’s also, from my experience, a smart, loyal man who will now want, with his usual ceiling-less ambition, to be the most successful President in US history.
To achieve that title, he’ll need to unify the country, bring warring sides together and work with them for the common good of America.
That means all the Clinton-slavering millennials hurting this morning need to snap out of their self-inflicted misery and put America’s interests before their own feelings of incomprehensible bemusement.
As Hillary herself said in her gracious acceptance speech today:
Donald Trump is going to be our President. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.’
Gnashing teeth, pulling hair out or curling up into a little ball and screaming, ‘Mummy, this is all just a horrible nightmare isn’t it?’ won’t alter the result.
President Trump has happened, and a true American will now give him their support, however much it sticks in their gullet to do so.
As for my long-time friend, I remember what he said to me back in 2008 about his life philosophy: ‘You’ve gotta win. That’s what it’s all about. You know, Muhammad Ali used to talk and talk, but he won. If you talk and talk but you lose, the act doesn’t play.’
Trump, against all the odds and mockery, just won the biggest prize of them all.
Congratulations Donald – now go prove them all wrong again and be a great president.
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