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Richard Davis: When does Donald Trump start acting presidential?

FILE — In this President-elect Donald Trump speaks during an election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in New York.
FILE — In this President-elect Donald Trump speaks during an election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in New York.
Evan Vucci, Associated Press

During the campaign, Donald Trump said that, if elected, he would act differently than he did as a candidate. Perhaps he is waiting until the stroke of noon on Jan. 20 to change his behavior because I don’t see much difference as president-elect. And that is bad for the country.

The new president-elect still tweets as if he were a candidate. Since Nov. 8, he has made the same kind of outrageous claims he did before the election. Yesterday, he charged that he had won the “so-called popular vote” if you deduct the “millions of people who voted illegally.” He also tweeted that there was “serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California — so why isn’t the media reporting on this?” He offered no proof of his assertions. When Trump was a candidate, he refused to promise he would abide by the election results because the election was rigged. Amazingly, he won the electoral vote and he is still claiming voter fraud!

He also claimed that had the campaign been for the popular vote only, he would have campaigned in only three or four states. And therefore he “would have won even more easily and convincingly.” It seems the gracious, humble Donald Trump who spoke right after the election was a temporary aberration. Candidate Donald Trump has re-emerged.

Due to his hair-trigger temperament, he must respond to everybody and everything who talks about him. Since the election, he has lambasted the cast of “Hamilton,” accused Saturday Night Live of being biased, called the press “the crooked media” because of news coverage of his business interests, chastised Hillary Clinton for conceding the election and then joining a recount effort, and labeled that recount effort by former presidential candidate Jill Stein as a “Green Party scam.”

He tweeted his back and forth concerning an upcoming New York Times editorial board meeting. The meeting was on, then off, then on. Trump blamed the Times saying they had changed the conditions of the meeting at the last minute. During that several-hour period, he tweeted about how biased the Times was — “they continue to cover me inaccurately and with a nasty tone” and that complaints at the Times were the highest in 15 years. “I can fully understand that — but why announce?” Trump tweeted. Then, when the meeting was back on, he announced he was looking forward to it.

A similar incident occurred a couple of days after the election when Trump criticized “professional protesters” who were “incited by the media.” Then, the next day, he praised the protesters for having “passion for our great country.” It appears that President-elect Trump is as mercurial as candidate Trump.

His Cabinet pick process has been so public that it likely will damage reputations. He tweeted that he was considering a particular person — Ben Carson — for a çabinet position, which may make it embarrassing if Carson ultimately is not chosen. He has paraded his potential appointees before the press with public interviews and then allowed his transition team to criticize those who he is publicly considering. A particular target in this process has been Mitt Romney.

Trump has even conducted foreign relations over Twitter, offending even a close ally. He tweeted that he “would like to see Nigel Farage represent Great Britain as their Ambassador to the United States.” It is bad form for a national leader privately to urge the government of another country to appoint a certain person as an ambassador. It is highly damaging to do so in public. Not surprisingly, the British prime minister was miffed at the suggestion and reacted negatively.

I hope Donald Trump does not wait until Jan. 20, or some later date, to start acting presidential. The nation really does not need a president who undermines public confidence in the electoral process, possesses a quick-trigger temperament, and disparages anyone who disagrees with him. Donald Trump still has the potential to be that kind of president, although it looks less and less likely he actually will.