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EDITORIAL: Trump needs scrutiny, fair chance

January 20, 2017 GMT

Today our country will experience a presidential inauguration vastly different from the 44 that have preceded it. Donald Trump has a strong base of loyal supporters, yet millions of other Americans view him with deep suspicion - and not only because of his political affiliation. No president has ever assumed office without previous experience in politics or the military - or so many controversies in his past.

At noon today all that must recede. Trump will be president for the next four years, and every American must hope that he has far more successes than failures. To a large extent, his victories will be ours. If he can produce more high-paying jobs, streamline government and reduce deficits, millions of Americans will benefit - including many who didn’t vote for him.

Trump, like all new presidents, deserves a chance to show what he can do. It might be hard for his opponents to grant him that, and not enough Republicans extended the same grace to Barack Obama. But at some point the retaliation must end. Considering the stakes and the mood of the American people, that should be now.

It will be important not to judge what’s likely to be an unconventional presidency by the same traditional standards. What matters will be the results. Trump broke one political “rule” after another on his march to victory and didn’t care who he offended. But he won anyway. As we were saying: Results.

He is the only politician, Democrat or Republican, who has stopped American jobs from going to other countries - and he did it before taking office, no less. Countless other politicians have vowed to change how Washington works - or more accurately, doesn’t work - but quickly settled into the same old, same old. Trump could actually keep his promises to shake up the system in a way that will help average people.

In the meantime, Trump supporters must remember this: If he veers off course, he should be criticized. If he harms our economy or our national interests, he will be challenged. It all comes down to performance, and a sense that we’re moving in the right direction.

We wish him well, but we will be watching too.