How will Trump seek to unite the US?

Donald Trump waves to the crowd as he leaves the New York Times building following a meeting Image copyright AP

Mario Cuomo's old saying is so true it is a cliche: "You campaign in poetry, govern in prose." Donald Trump has gone one better: he campaigned in brimstone, he is preparing to govern in bromides.

Some of the old fire is there: he condemned Castro, hours after the old man's death, as a brutal dictator, while US President Barack Obama took refuge in allowing history to make the call. Mr Trump does not wait on history to tell him what he thinks.

And he has contentiously tweeted that he would have won the popular vote at the presidential election had it not been for millions of fraudulent votes for his opponents.

Every little move he makes may not be, as in the song, magic, but it will be chewed over endlessly by the growing band of Trumpologists (most Americans are amateur Trumpologists now).

This week he is expected to make quite a big move. The most high-profile, and arguably most important, appointment Mr Trump will make will be for secretary of state, the USA's foreign secretary. It is likely to come this week.

Now, he may make his choice on merit and ability alone. But whether he likes it or not, Mr Trump's choice will be perceived as a sign of how he intends to govern. Not only about what sort of foreign policy he wants but how willing he is to confront both his own supporters and his own instincts.

That Mitt Romney is even being considered for the job is extraordinary. Many Trump supporters consider him anathema, the sort of establishment elitist who would sell them out before he got his vehicle lift up to the ground floor.

He is also the man who called the notoriously thin-skinned Mr Trump a fraud and said his foreign policy was "very, very not smart - ridiculous and dangerous, recklessness in the extreme".

There are, of course, other possible choices that would send their own signal - not just Rudi Giuliani but Gen John Kelly or Gen David Petraeus.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Might one of Mr Trump's critics become secretary of state?

Already, Mr Trump has watered down several of his more controversial campaign trail notions.

He wants Hillary Clinton healed, not jailed, he might not introduce extreme vetting for Muslims, he may not deport all illegal immigrants, the wall was a slogan, and so on.

But it is the change of tone that is remarkable. Many say it is just what they expected. I did not, for it carries great risks.

Mr Trump's Thanksgiving message stressed the need for Americans to come together and work in unity.

He said: "We have before us the chance now to make history together. to bring real change to Washington, real safety to our cities and real prosperity to our communities, including our inner cities, so important to me, and so important to our country."

With the US media all a-flutter that this year's Thanksgiving would see bread rolls chucked and pumpkin pies flung as disunited families met up for the great feast, I went to see for myself. The mood I encountered was thoughtful not angry. Bruised Democrats were not rejoicing at the new tone from Mr Trump.

Dick and Linda McCrae were kind enough to invite me to their Thanksgiving with their large, and politically divided, family. You can hear my report from Reading, Pennsylvania, here, (14 minutes, 33 seconds in).

"I don't think Trump was ready to win," Dick said, "and already he's backpedalling on a lot of things, like the wall, they're not going to build a wall."

Image copyright John Moore/Getty Images
Image caption Thanksgiving was an opportunity for American families to mull over the election result

Linda added: "They believed everything he said and now its, 'No, no, no. I just said that so they would vote for me.' They feel people have been tricked."

But their nephew Harry, who voted for Trump because of his economic policies, disagrees. "He definitely said stuff that made you think, 'Err, what's that about? Why are you doing that?' He could have left a lot of it unsaid. But I think everything he has said since he has been elected is perfect. I don't think he has said one wrong thing."

I also made it to the community Thanksgiving dinner down the road at the reformation Lutheran evangelical church. The pastor, the Reverend Steven Claycomb, is pleased about Donald Trump's holiday message: "a real call of unity".

But one of the diners proudly still wearing a Trump/Pence baseball cap tells me: "Trump won, Hillary goes to jail... because that is what the election was about - he [had] better. He promised to drain the swamp."

How each side goes forward is critically important, but they will give Mr Trump some leeway, for a while.

The really important thing is how he contains himself. Watch that Thanksgiving speech again. For a polished, practised, charismatic TV performer, it is very awkward and stilted.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Black Lives Matter is emerging as a significant political movement

The (I assume, unintended) Star Trek echoes in the final words are plain weird. There are doubtless many faces of Donald Trump, but I predict Trump of the stump will be back within months.

The myth of betrayal is strong on the hard right, and his instinct and ego may not allow them to portray him as a pathetically neutered creature of the swamp he promised to drain.

The bruised and battered Democrats, out of power in the White House, Congress and in many states, are a different story. Liberals may find solace outside conventional party structures, making the political personal.

"Occupy" came and went, but Black Lives Matter is significant, a controversial movement that mirrors a rising political tide among black Americans, a new wave of civil rights, matched in popular culture.

There is a deep yearning in the United States for unity: the clue is in the nation's name, after all. But the fact is there is a deep cultural divide, which goes way beyond simple party politics of left and right.

There will be a lot of pious hoo-ha from both sides about "unity". And, unless there is something to unite around, agree upon, it is just sanctimonious talk.

But there is a rare, perhaps unprecedented, point of agreement between conservatives and liberals: that inequality is a big problem, that there are too few jobs and people feel angry with powerful elites. It is not real agreement of course, but it is a starting point.

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