On Friday, President-elect Donald Trump will take the country’s highest oath and his presidency will begin. What he will do with his time in the White House is far less certain.
We know about the border wall, his plans to overturn Obama’s health care law, and that he wants to suppress immigration from countries marred by terrorism (sorry, Belgium?). But insofar as Trump actually has a plan for the rest of the areas soon at his command, the details are hazy.
Trump’s penchant for painting in broad strokes and obscuring his plans from the public—because, as he says, divulging them weakens his negotiating position—leaves much to the imaginations of his supporters and critics. While he may lack the finesse of the country’s outgoing orator in chief, it is obvious from his continued use of public pow-wows and the spectacle they invite that he views himself as America’s promoter in chief.
Repeatedly portraying himself as a “cheerleader” (presumably not the kind that files lawsuits against him), Trump seeks to promote the U.S. military’s might—as if the nearly 800 overseas bases, 7,100 nuclear warheads, hundreds of weaponized drones, and more than a dozen aircraft carriers didn’t make that message abundantly clear.
“Being a great president has to do with a lot of things, but one of them is being a great cheerleader for the country,” Trump told the Washington Post this week. “And we’re going to show the people as we build up our military, we’re going to display our military.”
It appears that at least one gauge Trump will use to determine how successful his presidency is will be how much the U.S. military expands over the next four years.
“That military may come marching down Pennsylvania Avenue,” Trump continued. “That military may be flying over New York City and Washington, D.C., for parades. I mean, we’re going to be showing our military.”
Trump will be flexing his military muscle—even as a majority of U.S. wartime operations now rely on squads of nerdy data wranglers. Hopefully, America’s proud fighting men and women won’t be issued red-white-and-blue pompoms and hair scrunchies.