I love this country. I always have. But the last few years in the USA have left me truly aghast. Just when I think that there are no more surprises left in American political life, I am handed a freshly squeezed surprise. Bluntly put, I think we’ve reached the point where Donald Trump could drown a bag of kittens on live TV, or indeed “shoot someone on 5th Avenue”, and some people will still consider him the lesser of two evils.
The way I see it, there are two types of Trump voter. There is the hardcore MAGA fanatic, who attends the rallies, wears the red hat, and maybe even follows the Qanon boards. They follow Trump with a level of devotion that is implacable. They will never believe that Donald Trump is anything other than the savior of our country, sent by God to deliver us from a multitude of politically correct and liberal attacks. They cannot be reasoned with, nor would I try.
The other type of voter, the ones I am appealing to with this article, are not like that at all. These are good people, moral people, who simply voted for Trump because they believed he was the best choice for the values they hold. They don’t think he’s the greatest president to sit in the White House, but they believe he was a better choice than Clinton. Or perhaps they are just dyed-in-the-wool Republicans who always vote red, no matter whom.
Are you one of those people? If so, I have just one question. Are you planning on voting for him again in November? If the answer is yes, then I have another question.
I would really like to understand. Is it an economic issue? Are you fearful of paying higher taxes? Are you worried about having to pay for someone else’s health insurance? Or benefits to those you consider undeserving? Okay, I understand. I don’t agree, but I understand. But let me ask you a question. Do you not think that we might be beyond that now? Can you consider the possibility that there is a bigger picture, and the choice can no longer be pared down to tax breaks or welfare spending?
For those of us who did not vote for Donald Trump, and perhaps those of us who did but have come to regret that decision, there is an emotional and moral detachment at play in you if you still view this coming election as simply political. It’s not. It stopped being a political choice a while ago. This is now a moral choice. It has to be because Trump has no political beliefs. Not one considered, passionately-held, factually backed-up, political belief. He believes in nothing, save his own enrichment and survival. If you haven’t figured this out yet then you haven’t been paying attention. Or rather, you have been paying attention to what he says and not what he does.
Donald Trump has been playing the long-game, and much of his political survival depends on the rationalizations that his voters are prepared to make on his behalf. The longer he has been in office, the more stretched those rationalizations for his behavior become. Perhaps you have even used a few of them yourself.
He just speaks his mind.
He’s a little rough around the edges, but he loves this country.
He’s not a politician.
That’s just who he is.
He’ll become more presidential.
He’ll listen to good advice.
Donald Trump deals in a very targeted, deliberate, and well-practiced rhetoric. It is designed to make white working and middle class Americans feel aggrieved and victimized. Coupled with this are policy positions that offer a soothing balm to these woes. Theoretical solutions that provide comfort to those who want to avoid any semblance of nuance in their political considerations. He provides easy answers to complex questions, then makes sure your attention is placed elsewhere, so you won’t see how hollow they really are.
He lies through his teeth, and rarely, if ever, says anything of substance. He can speak, flat-out, for 30 minutes and say absolutely nothing. It’s spell-binding.
I genuinely believe that for a lot of those who voted for him in 2016, the presidency of Donald Trump has been an uncomfortable few years, if not an outright disappointment. The only reason you can possibly have to continue supporting this ignorant, rude, petulant, con artist and sexual predator is partisan politics.
I’m going to attempt to break down some of those oft-touted reasons why Donald J. Trump is the guy to stick with, and also examine some of the primary events of his tenure and his responses to them.
I would ask you to keep an open mind. Consider the points being made, all of which are far more factual than they are subjective. Entertain the possibility that you are on the wrong side of history right now.
Fiscal conservatives love a booming economy. And yes, the economy is doing very well. Or, at least, it was before the coronavirus came along. So I have one question. Why? What did Trump do that made the economy boom? Did it actually boom because of Trump? Or was it booming anyway? Look at the GDP growth figures for 2000 to 2018:
Trump has made a great fuss about how he inherited a broken economy from Obama. The truth is he inherited an economy that was already showing upward trends, having been recovered from the Great Recession by Obama, who inherited that from Bush. Trump continued a wave that was already rolling when he came to power. Economies are fickle, depending on a vast amount of metrics and factors to affect their performance. Presidents, all presidents, can only take so much credit for them.
Of course, it’s not all about GDP. There’s the deficit, which Trump promised to shrink. What happened to fiscal conservatism, Republicans? Trump blew up the national debt, a supposed red line for red voters. All for a tax cut that primarily helped out the wealthy. And an increase in military spending that was wholly unnecessary. When you already have the strongest military in the world, by a significant magnitude, why do you need to make it stronger?
If none of this has swayed your support for him, can you really continue to call yourself a fiscal conservative?
Before his election to the presidency, Donald Trump had bragged about walking in on teenage girls getting changed at beauty pageants he owned. He was also recorded bragging about molesting women, during an Access Hollywood taping.
“I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it. I did try and fuck her. She was married.
And I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping. She wanted to get some furniture. I said, “I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture.” I took her out furniture — I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.
I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”
Before his election to the presidency, he had multiple affairs over the course of three marriages, and showed no remorse for any of it. This included hush money paid to adult actress Stormy Daniels, an affair apparently conducted while his wife was pregnant.
Before his election to the presidency, he was subject to 18 accusations of sexual assault, harassment, or misconduct:
Sexual assault by Jill Harth.
Sexual harassment by Temple Taggart, former Miss Utah.
Sexual misconduct by Cassandra Searles, Miss Washington 2013.
Sexual misconduct by Tasha Dixon, Miss Universe contestant.
Sexual misconduct by Mariah Billado, Miss Teen USA contestant.
Sexual harassment by Rachel Crooks.
Sexual misconduct by Jessica Leeds.
Sexual misconduct by Mindy McGillivray.
Sexual misconduct by Jennifer Murphy.
Sexual harassment by Natasha Stoynoff.
Sexual misbehaviour by Lisa Boyne.
Sexual misconduct by Kristin Anderson.
Sexual misconduct by Samantha Holvey.
Sexual assault by Summer Zervos. Later files a defamation lawsuit.
Sexual misconduct by Cathy Heller.
Sexual misconduct by Karen Virginia.
Sexual misconduct by Jessica Drake.
Sexual harassment by Ninni Laaksonen.
Before his election to the presidency Donald Trump was accused of raping a 13-year-old girl with his friend, Jeffrey Epstein (court documents can be seen here and here. The plaintiff also claimed that she was threatened with physical harm if she did not keep the assault quiet. And you can add to this his casual comments over the years about his own daughter, Ivanka. For example, when asked how he would feel about Ivanka posing for Playboy, during an interview with The View in 2006, Trump responded:
“I don’t think Ivanka would do that, although she does have a very nice figure. I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her. Isn’t that terrible? How terrible? Is that terrible?”
I would think that the heavily Christian GOP, and Christian voters everywhere, would want no affiliation with his man. Especially given their condemnation of Bill Clinton’s wrongdoings. I was wrong about that, however. He continues to be accepted and promoted by Christians and evangelical groups, with rare exceptions.
If you are a person of faith who voted for Trump, do you really believe that this man shares that faith? Do you fall for the phony prayer breakfast attendances and the courting of prominent evangelists? Are you that desperate to have some champion, any champion, that you will embrace someone so utterly lacking in the virtues you claim to uphold? Is there anything Godly or virtuous about this man?
What happened to the Christian values of helping the neediest, as he proposes cutting all federal assistance and turns his back on those seeking asylum? What happened to the Christian notions of tolerance, charity, and sacrifice? Do you see those virtues being displayed in the man ordered to pay $2 million in damages to non-profit groups, after using money raised by his charitable foundation to promote his campaign, pay off business debts, and purchase a portrait of himself for one of his hotels?
He has not even put on a good show when tackled about his faith. During an interview on Bloomberg Politics in 2015 Trump was asked what his favorite Bible verses are and why.
Here is the exchange:
“I wouldn’t want to get into it because to me that’s very personal. You know, when I talk about the Bible it’s very personal so I don’t want to get into verses. The Bible means a lot to me but I don’t want to get into specifics.”
“Are you an Old Testament guy or a New Testament guy?”
“Probably equal. I think it’s just incredible, the whole Bible is incredible.”
Then, in the same month, he told a South Carolina audience:
“I am Presbyterian Protestant. I go to Marble Collegiate Church. As often as I can. A lot.”
Problem is, Marble Collegiate is a Reformed, not Presbyterian, church. Also, Marble was quick to confirm that Trump “is not an active member.”
Still not convinced? Okay, when David Brody, of the Christian Broadcasting Network, asked Trump why he loves the Bible, this was his response:
“So many things, like you know, you take, whatever you want to say, there’s so many things that you can learn from it. Proverbs. The chapter ‘never bend to envy.’ I’ve had that thing all of my life where people are bending to envy.”
Can you tell me where that particular phrase is in the Bible? It doesn’t exist, does it?
What was Donald Trump’s church attendance before he suddenly needed your faith to win office? Or are you just scratching each other’s backs? Are you as happy with a transactional relationship as he is?
Even Pope Francis has called Trump out on more than one occasion, for his border policies or his stance on racism. So please don’t tell me about your prayers and Christian faith while you vote for this man, because I’m sorry to say you are a hypocrite. And you ARE betraying the values you claim to hold so dear, just as he does.
Trump campaigned on the slogan “Drain the Swamp” and positioned himself as an antidote to the self-serving, dishonest, political elite. And yet he openly displays all those traits that he attributed to the “swamp dwellers.” For a start, he is a liar. He is a well documented, compulsive liar. There are so many factually established and recorded instances of Trump lying (Google it) that for you to insist otherwise singles you out as nothing more than the easy mark of an accomplished con artist.
He is also the single most self-serving president in American history.
But he doesn’t take his salary!
Classic sleight-of-hand and misdirection, as any good con artist will tell you. Make the left hand seem so beguiling that no one will notice what the right is doing. Who needs that salary when you haven’t divested from your own businesses, most of which benefit financially from your presidency. Plus all that golfing on the tax payers dime, at your own resort.
Because Trump’s assets remain in a family-managed trust, the Trump family profit directly from his presidency. Special interests seeking to win favor with Trump know exactly how to do this. Fundraisers and galas at his resorts, with the proceeds going to his family-owned business.
The Center for Responsive Politics has tracked payments from political entities to Trump properties to the tune of $23,096,577 over the course of Trump’s presidency. Compare this to the $168,745 spent over the preceding 8 years and you can see why Trump can afford to donate his presidential salary. And why the presidency is a very profitable venture for a man who is not held accountable.
Here are some fun facts:
- Trump has spent 127 days at Mar-a-Lago, so far.
- Estimated cost of flights to Mar-a-Lago, as of Feb 2019, were around $64,000,000, all funded by the tax payer.
- Trump has visited his clubs once every 4.7 days since his inauguration.
- The projected number of visits to golf clubs in four years, based on attendance so far, is 311.
- So the projected visits in eight years will be 622.
- Obama’s total golf days during his eight-year Presidency was 306.
Despite promising on the campaign trail that he would be too busy to go golfing, Trump has spent nearly as much time golfing in 4 years as Obama did in 8. And always at a Trump resort, which pours tax payers’ money into his own business, estimated at around $138,000,000, so far (see here for more details). This figure includes flights, security and room charges for staff and secret service members.
And then there are the tax breaks for people that are, well, just like Trump. And no tax returns handed over (as promised) to prove he hasn’t benefited from them, unlike every other modern President.
You want a more recent example? Then how about the fact that the administration has refused to disclose the recipients of $660 billion in taxpayer-funded business loans during the coronavirus pandemic, despite assurances that they would do just that. Let’s not forget that Trump publicly refused to commit that his businesses would not receive any funds from this pot.
Or how about Trump using his presidential pardon power to commute the sentence of felon Roger Stone? A man who was convicted on seven charges, including lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing a congressional committee proceeding. All of these were done, by Stone’s admission, to protect Trump. If that is not corrupt use of presidential powers, please tell me what is. Not even Nixon went that far.
In the Trump administration transparency is avoided at all costs. Recently, Trump has either fired or replaced five inspectors general, all of whom were performing oversight on his administration. Why is that? Why does he constantly act like a man with something to hide?
And then there is the incessant lying. As of January 2020, President Trump had made 16,241 false or misleading claims. That’s over 1,095 days, which means an average of 14.8 a day. That’s incredible by anyone’s standards. That is the level you would get in a fairy tale character, or a nursery rhyme, with a cautionary message at the end. He lies even when he doesn’t have to. He can’t help himself. Trump has out-lied every politician, every “swamp dweller” that ever walked the halls of power in this county.
So if you are going to vote for him again, because he is so much more ethical than those career politicians, think again. Your savior is just about the most corrupt man to ever walk the halls of The White House.
America’s Institutions and International Standing
This president has managed to trample, denigrate, despoil, or otherwise belittle just about every institution that Americans hold dear. He’s dismissive of the intelligence community, because they dared suggest that our democracy was under attack from foreign players. He will belittle any agency that focuses on facts rather than spins stories that support Trump’s worldview. He peddles in unfounded “Deep State” conspiracy theories, providing no evidence, and casts himself as the innocent victim in some imaginary political melodrama.
Donald Trump has no regard for the justice system, withholding witnesses and ignoring subpoenas. He has engaged in flagrant cover-ups, and fires any public servant who puts the country’s interests above his own. He pardons, or teases the promise of a pardon, to cronies and peers and right-wing enablers, in order to ensure their silence. He is the very definition of an autocrat.
In fact, when asked about the checks and balances between the legislative and executive branches of government, Trump referred to them as archaic. He added:
“Maybe at some point we’ll have to take those rules on, because, for the good of the nation, things are going to have to be different.”
This, from a man who congratulated China’s President, Xi Jinping, for eliminating term limits and awarding himself a lifetime presidency. You think he’s kidding? Trump has always had warmer words for the autocrats and dictators of the world than for the democratically elected leaders.
On Chinese President Xi
“He’s now president for life. President for life. No, he’s great. And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot some day.”
To Russian President Vladimir Putin (while gesturing to the press)
“Get rid of them. Fake news is a great term, isn’t it? You don’t have this problem in Russia but we do.”
And about Putin
“If he says great things about me, I’m going to say great things about him. I’ve already said, he is really very much of a leader. I mean, you can say, ‘Oh, isn’t that a terrible thing’ — the man has very strong control over a country. Now, it’s a very different system, and I don’t happen to like the system. But certainly, in that system, he’s been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader.”
On Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte (who boasted about killing drug dealers when he was a local mayor and has overlooked extrajudicial killings of drugs suspects)
“I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem.”
On Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (having cracked down on Turkish civil society, the media, and his opponents)
“Frankly, he’s getting very high marks. He’s also been working with the United States. We have a great friendship and the countries — I think we’re right now as close as we’ve ever been … a lot of that has to do with a personal relationship.”
On Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (who took power in a coup and has been accused of multiple human rights abuses)
“We agree on so many things. I just want to let everybody know in case there was any doubt that we are very much behind President el-Sisi. He’s done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation. We are very much behind Egypt and the people of Egypt. The United States has, believe me, backing, and we have strong backing.”
On North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un (who, among many other things, executed his Uncle with an anti-aircraft gun)
“Well, first of all, let me say that I think that Kim Jong Un, or Chairman Kim, as some people say, is looking to create a nation that has great strength economically. I think he’s very much — I talk to him a lot about it, and he’s very much into the fact that — he believes, like I do, that North Korea has tremendous economic potential like perhaps few other developing nations anywhere in the world.”
The Department of Justice
Trump has made every attempt to transform the Justice Department into his own personal enforcement agency, purging any independent application of the law which does not suit his purpose. From the moment he asked James Comey for personal loyalty, he made it clear that he finds no value in government of the people, by the people, for the people. It’s all about how it works for him, not us. Nothing demonstrates this better than his reaction to Jeff Sessions’ recusal from overseeing the Mueller Investigation. Although there was an absolute legal requirement for the Attorney General to recuse himself, given his extensive and active ties with the Trump campaign, Trump took it as a personal betrayal. In his eyes, Sessions’ job as AG was to protect Trump, not to uphold the rule of law. This is unacceptable in a President.
Impeachment and Abuses of Power
Trump was impeached for attempting to leverage $400 million in aid to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation to uncover dirt on Joe Biden and his son. Trump was keen to find information relating to (Joe’s son) Hunter Biden’s seat on the board of Ukrainian company Burisma, when his father was Vice President. Although the fact of Hunter’s position on the board is undoubtedly shady-looking, nothing illegal or unseemly has ever been proven. And for Trump to scream “nepotism” while his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and daughter, Ivanka, have numerous roles in his administration, is extremely hypocritical. Apart from their lack of governmental experience, there is also the fact that Kushner was unable to obtain security clearance due to his business ties with foreign governments.
The recent release of John Bolton’s book The Room Where It Happened has highlighted further instances where Trump has abused his position for his own ends. Whatever you might think about John Bolton and the veracity of his claims, the notion that Trump would ask China’s President Xi to help him win re-election is as plausible as it is appalling. And that’s the point, isn’t it? Whether or not it actually happened, it is easy to believe it did, because Trump has set the precedents for himself. It’s easy to believe that Trump did not know that the UK was a nuclear power. It’s easy to believe that Trump agreed to help Erdoğan end a federal investigation into a Turkish state-owned bank.
After multiple attempts to oust Attorney General Geoffrey Berman, US attorney for the Southern District of New York, he was fired by Trump. Among the many cases being investigated by Berman were possible foreign money connections with the Trump campaign, and an indictment of Turkish bank Halkbank, the same bank that Bolton claims Trump agreed to help Erdoğan with.
Do you really need help connecting the dots here? You okay with this? Is there a level of corruption that you are not comfortable with? Or should we start talking about Hillary’s emails again?
It has been clear since the beginning of his presidency that Trump has no love for international treaties and cooperative agreements. It is often less clear why. Nevertheless, he has attacked NATO, the United Nations, the G7, the World Health Organization, and the World Trade Organization. In addition he has withdrawn the US from, or renegotiated, several treaties and agreements:
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty — Ensured the US and Russia eliminate ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of about 300 to 3,400 miles. The Trump administration believes the treaty puts the US at a strategic disadvantage with China and plans to withdraw.
The Paris Agreement — A historic climate pact that included nearly every country in the world. The Obama administration joined and agreed to curb US use of fossil fuels. Trump said the deal was poorly negotiated but provided little explanation and withdrew the US.
Trans-Pacific Partnership — A huge trade deal between 12 Pacific rim countries, designed to counteract China’s economic power. Trump withdrew, saying it was unfair to American workers.
North American Free Trade Agreement — The Clinton-era trade pact between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Trump negotiated a new agreement, the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, but it has yet to receive congressional approval.
United Nations Human Rights Council — The US withdrew from the group (formed in 1946) after the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights criticized the Trump administration for its policy separating children from their parents at the US-Mexico border, calling it “unconscionable.”
United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization — The US withdrew in 2017, citing anti-Israel bias.
Iran Nuclear Deal — Trump pulled the US out of the agreement, negotiated by the Obama administration, to curb Iran’s nuclear weapons program. This was despite the fact that Iran was abiding by the terms. Trump has so far failed to find an alternative, and seems uninterested in doing so.
NATO — Trump has repeatedly threatened to withdraw the US from its oldest alliance, formed to counter Soviet power. Doing so would benefit Russia more so than it would the US.
Trump has politicized the military in a way that few presidents have done before him. He has often referred to “my military” or “my generals”, betraying once again his misunderstanding of the role of America’s institutions. He surrounded himself with generals at the beginning of his tenure, but most of them are now gone and many (such as James Mattis and John Kelly) have spoken out about the dangers Trump poses.
Envious of France’s Bastille Day military parade, he made every effort to organize a similar parade in Washington, eventually succeeding in having tanks roll down the streets of the nation’s capitol on Independence Day, in the rain. It was a hollow display of military might that previous presidents have found unnecessary and gaudy. Not so Trump, who revels in childish displays of power and strength. Needless to say, many in the military leadership did not approve.
Recently, Trump signed an order which authorized sanctions and visa restrictions against International Criminal Court workers who are investigating US military figures for war crimes in Afghanistan. What this says is Trump believes that US military personnel can commit atrocities with impunity, and without answering to the international community. He has voiced before the opinion that he does not consider the idea of war crimes a valid one, and has pardoned some military personnel already found guilty by their own judicial process, against the wishes of his own military command. He would see the US military and intelligence services brought down to the level of ISIS or Al Qaida, free from rules of engagement and free from repercussions. This is not what the United States military is supposed to stand for.
He’s a Great Businessman
No, he’s not. Trump’s own teacher at the Wharton School of Business, William Kelly, described Trump as “the dumbest goddamn student I ever had.” To this day, Trump has gone to great lengths to prevent his grades from being released, while telling anyone who will listen what a “stable genius” he is. Well, I would imagine that geniuses tend to want people to see their grades. He certainly has never presented himself as modestly ashamed of his “genius”. Why would he try so fervently to hide the evidence of it?
He started out with a fortune given to him by his father, contradicting his own claim that he was self-made. A New York Times investigation found that Donald Trump received the equivalent of $413 million from his father’s real estate empire. His glittering career has been marked by a series of failed projects, bankruptcies, stiffed contractors (he is legendary for not paying his bills), books written by other people, and dodgy loans from foreign banks (once the American banks had begun refusing him).
Some of his more notable failures:
Trump Airlines — Planes and flight routes purchased with a $245 million loan. Defaulted after two years.
Trump: The Game — Produced in partnership with Milton Bradley, the game sold only 800,000 copies and was discontinued in 1990.
Trump Casinos — The Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City was $3 billion in debt after a single year. The Trump Marina and Trump Plaza casinos, also in Atlantic City ended up $1.8 billion in debt. And the reorganized Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. missed an interest payment on a $53.1 million bond and declared bankruptcy.
Trump Mortgage — Lasted just over a year, folding in September 2007 after Trump predicted a booming real-estate market, at a time when it was already beginning to collapse.
Trump Steaks — In 2007 Trump struck a deal to sell Buckhead Beef through the Sharper Image, rebranding as Trump Steaks. CEO Jerry Levin said “[W]e literally sold almost no steaks.” They were pulled from shelves after just two months.
GoTrump.com — A basic rip-off of Travelocity, Trump’s site launched in 2006 and folded in 2007.
Trump University — Selling mentorships in real estate, asset management, entrepreneurship, and wealth creation for as much as $34,995 a pop. The so-called Trump Entrepreneur Initiative was supposed to put students in touch with hand-picked, personalized instructors. Actually, what students got were seminars from motivational speakers, often without any relevant qualifications. After an inquiry by the New York Attorney General’s office a lawsuit was filed in August 2013. Trump eventually settled for $25 million.
Trump Vodka — Maybe alcohol from a self-proclaimed teetotaler was never going to catch on. Two years after its launch the trademarked was abandoned.
So, he may not be a fantastic businessman, but there is one thing that Donald J. Trump excels at, and that is convincing the world that he is around 98% more successful than he actually is. He is unmatched in his ability to project a success that isn’t there. To this end, Trump has also gone to great lengths to prevent his tax returns from being released, despite countless promises to release them at various points of his presidency.
How about good old-fashioned patriotism? Trump loves America, right? He hugs the flag, says things like “America First” and “Make America Great Again” (see above re: deliberate rhetoric designed to make Americans feel aggrieved and victimized).
Well, okay, then. So what exactly does Trump love about America? Has he ever said? What makes America great (or made America great, given the meaning behind his favorite slogan) in Trump’s mind?
Perhaps it might help to ask by what metric you measure the greatness of a country. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has some interesting figures when comparing the US with the other 35 member countries.
Of the 36 developed countries in the OECD, the United States of America:
- Has the fourth highest rate of poverty.
- Has the third highest obesity rate.
- Spends the most on healthcare but ranks at 29 for hospital beds per 1000 people.
- Has the seventh highest income inequality rate.
- Has the sixth lowest employment rate.
- Has the sixth lowest adult education level.
- Has the sixth lowest percentage of women in politics.
- Has the eighth highest suicide rate.
- Has the highest rate of death by assault, by five times the second highest.
Do any of these make America great?
If improving any of these stats would make America great again, has Trump addressed a single one of them?
What about FREEDOM, which is usually touted as that one thing which makes America great? America is the freest country in the world, right? Wrong, according to the 2019 study The Human Freedom Index by The Cato Institute. In fact, in the ranking (based on Personal Freedom, Economic Freedom, Human Freedom, etc.) the USA comes in at 15th. It is beaten by, among others, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Germany.
How about I list the things that I believe make America great, since it really is such a subjective thing.
Diversity. Opportunity. Sanctuary.
I’d like to think that most people agree these things are America’s strengths. These are things that have made, and do make, America great.
Here’s how Trump attacks them.
Trump made it clear from the outset of his campaign that he would not be a champion of diversity. From his opening comments on Mexicans, to his alleged desire to have more immigrants from Norway, he has made it abundantly clear that, in his opinion, white is right. The personal politics of his senior advisors, particularly Stephen Miller, also inform his belief that immigration is something to be limited and tolerated rather than celebrated. And yet, there are few countries in the world so built on, and so dependent on, immigration. This has not stopped Trump manipulating fear of The Other for his own ends. From Mexican “rapists”, to African “shitholes”, and the “Chinese virus”, Trump’s disdain for foreigners, particular those of color, is stark, and he will lay blame for all the country’s ills at their door, every chance he gets.
America was, for generations, seen as the place where dreams are made. Particularly to those who arrived from other shores. During his farewell address, Ronald Reagan made the following comment:
“I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.”
And that’s how the rest of the world saw us. Not anymore. If Trump’s proposals go ahead, immigrants will not only need will and heart, but money and a degree. Trump doesn’t just target illegal immigration, which was probably a vote-winner for you, but he targets legal immigration, too. The USA will no longer be the place where dreams are made. Just another exclusive club with membership requirements.
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
Who imagined that such an inspirational, defining poem would become such a bitter refrain?
Sadly, it has.
America, the beacon of hope, the land of the free, the shining city on the hill, the place where the hopeless could lay their heads and escape the horrors of the outside world.
Meanwhile, in New York City, a future president was looking upon his country’s open arms and acts of kindness and seeing nothing but weakness and gullibility. But that’s how you view the world when all you see are the weak and gullible.
Trump has cut the number of refugees allowed into the US each year from 110,000 (in Obama’s final year) to 18,000. He even went so far as to limit the number of Iraqis who had worked with the US Military from finding a new home here. He has shredded the image of America that Reagan so cherished, leaving hundreds of thousands of desperate human beings to a fate we could have alleviated.
If that makes you proud, I think there is something wrong with you. If it makes you ashamed, why would you vote for more of the same?
Promises Made, Promises Kept
Trump makes big claims with his slogan. But how many of his campaign promises did he actually keep?
We’re going to build a wall, and Mexico is going to pay for it.
This is the gift that keeps on giving. After nearly four years into his Presidency what has happened? After years of wrangling with Congress (the plan to make Mexico pay did not last much longer than Mexico saying no), including a 35-day government shutdown, Trump succeeded in diverting $3.8 billion from the military for border barriers (not really a wall anymore, either), but was then prevented from using it by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
As of May 2020 only 16 miles of the 194 miles that have been constructed were built in places where fencing didn’t already exist. Of the 170 miles of primary wall that have been built, three miles are in places where no barrier existed before. Also, despite Trump still claiming that Mexico will pay for the wall, so far it has only been the US tax payer. And the costs are spiraling.
We’ve got to get rid of the $19 trillion in debt.
This one really backfired. Thanks to Trump’s massive tax cut, mainly for high earners and businesses, the debt now stands at $27 trillion and counting. Rather than get rid of it, Trump simply added another $7 trillion (it was a little under $20 trillion when he took office).
I will be immediately repealing and replacing the disaster known as Obamacare.
Trump’s obsession with reversing anything that bears Obama’s name is legendary, and repealing the ACA was his signature promise. However, this has not been achieved, despite every effort by him and the GOP to do so. The closest they have come is to roll back the Individual Mandate, a core funding source for the ACA.
Republicans were shocked to discover that the ACA was actually extremely popular with voters. Who knew that people would have liked having healthcare?
Trump has now decided to ask the Supreme Court to invalidate the entire Affordable Care Act, potentially throwing 23 million people off healthcare in the middle of a pandemic. How are you okay with that? And before you start telling me about the executive order he signed in September that protects pre-existing conditions, that was a symbolic gesture with no legal standing at all. P. T. Barnum strikes again.
Insurance for everybody, no cuts to Medicaid, no one will lose coverage, everybody’s going to be taken care of, we’re going to have a phenomenal health plan, we will protect pre-existing conditions, etc.
Yeah, no. Trump and the GOP were so busy trying to repeal Obamacare that no-one bothered to address the “replace” part. And they still haven’t produced a coherent, convincing health plan in nearly four years. Not even close. All, or most, of Trump’s budget proposals have involved cutting Medicaid. And, as detailed above, the Trump administration has been in court to try and gain full repeal of the ACA which would include protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
Some other promises not kept
Bring back water-boarding*
Stop the AT&T/Time Warner merger
Remove existing Syrian refugees*
Allow individuals to deduct health care insurance premiums from taxes
Cut the number of tax brackets
Sue his many accusers of sexual assault and misconduct*
Enact term limits
Release his tax returns
Expand right to carry to all 50 states*
Establish a Muslim ban*
Eliminate the Carried Interest loophole
Medicaid thru block grants (attempts to introduce this were not successful)
Grow the economy by 4% a year
Impose death penalty for cop killers*
Renegotiate the Iran deal*
Place lifetime ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections
Add additional federal investment of $20 billion toward School Choice
Get Congress to allow health insurance across state lines
Eliminate Common Core
Open up Libel Laws*
Will not take vacations
Will not go golfing (go here for the truth)
*Disclaimer: I’m happy that he did not keep these. You may not be.
And some he has kept
Take no salary
Won’t say “Happy Holidays”
Move U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
Keep Guantanamo Bay Detention Center open
Cancel the Paris climate agreement
Create a 10-percent repatriation tax
Raise tariffs on goods imported into the U.S.
Limit legal immigration
Cut federal regulations
Declare China a currency manipulator
Ask countries we protect to pay more for joint defense
Save the Carrier plant in Indiana
Reverse Barack Obama’s 2016 gun executive order
Create private White House veterans hotline
Use U.S. steel for infrastructure projects
The Man and His Deeds
Ask yourself these questions:
Do you like Donald Trump? Are you proud of him? Is he someone you look up to? Is he someone you admire? Does he inspire you? Would you like to be like him? Is he any kind of role model? Would you want to hang out with him? Would you want your daughter to hang out with him? Would you want your son, or grandson, to turn out like him? Do you trust him?
Don’t you think the President of the United States should tick a few of those boxes? How did the bar get set so low? When did the character and moral fiber of the President become so inconsequential? It sure as hell wasn’t inconsequential when Bill Clinton was President. Fantastic economy, but one blow job and he was on his way to impeachment. How is this not a double standard? How is this not “partisan politics”?
The things that this man has done, and which have become normalized, and overlooked, and excused (often to avoid having to confront the darkness in one’s own soul), are staggering when viewed in their entirety. Taken day-by-day, and one-by-one, people have become numb to his abnormal behaviors.
I did originally compose a list of things that Trump has done, said, or enacted, that demonstrate how offensive his administration has been. Unbelievably, it ran to 7 pages (in a smaller font size than this), and I really didn’t think it would get read. So I’m going to consolidate a little.
Trump Speaks, Trump Tweets
Nothing exposes Trump for the man he is quite like the simple act of opening his mouth and speaking, or picking up his phone and tweeting. He has said some things that would have finished the careers of other politicians, but somehow he rarely finds the rebuke he deserves.
Here are some choice examples:
On Ivanka Trump
“I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
On President Obama
“ISIS is honoring President Obama. He is the founder of ISIS. He is the founder of ISIS, OK? He’s the founder. He founded ISIS.”
On John McCain
“He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” Says the guy who dodged the draft.
On Megyn Kelly
“You know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”
On two supporters who beat a homeless Latino man
“I will say, the people that are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.”
On Omarosa Manigault Newman
“When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!”
Trump praises Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
“I just want to let everybody know in case there was any doubt that we are very much behind President el-Sisi.”
The Egyptian President had sentenced 17 Egyptians to jail for protesting his regime. He had been barred from the White House for four years.
On his first 100 days in office
“I thought this would be easier.”
Having just fired James Comey, Trump jokes with the Russian Foreign Minister and Russian Ambassador
“I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job… I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
He later admits in an interview that he fired Comey over the Russia investigation. At the same meeting he shares highly classified information.
And there’s more…
- During a campaign speech Trump imitates, and appears to mock, reporter Serge Kovaleski, who has arthrogryposis, a congenital condition affecting the joints.
- Trump allegedly says Haitians “all have AIDS” and Nigerian immigrants wouldn’t ever “go back to their huts.”
- After a protester is killed by a white nationalist during the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Trump refuses to condemn the white nationalists, blaming instead the “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.”
- At the UN General Assembly, Trump calls Kim Jong-un “Rocket Man” and threatens to “totally destroy North Korea.” He also applauds the healthcare system of African nation Nambia. There is no such place.
- Asked about all the vacant high-level positions in the State Department, Donald Trump replies — “I’m the only one that matters, because when it comes to it, that’s what the policy is going to be. You’ve seen that, you’ve seen it strongly.”
- Trump retweets anti-Muslim videos by Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of Britain First, a notorious white nationalist group.
- Trump on whether Democrats had committed treason for withholding their applause during his State of the Union Address — “Can we call that treason? Why not? I mean, they certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much.”
- At a joint press conference in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump sides with Putin against the US intelligence community. His response to a question on Russian interference in the 2016 election — “They said they think it’s Russia; I have President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be. I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”
- Trump is laughed at during a speech to the United Nations — “In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.” Trump claims “They weren’t laughing at me, they were laughing with me.”
- Trump makes disparaging remarks about the Admiral behind Osama Bin Laden’s killing, Admiral William McRaven — “Wouldn’t it have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than that, wouldn’t it have been nice?”
- Trump tweets — “In the beautiful Midwest, windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded. In coming days, expected to get even colder. People can’t last outside even for minutes. What the hell is going on with Global Warming? Please come back fast, we need you!” Not the only time he fails to understand the difference between climate and weather.
- Trump complains that he wasn’t thanked for giving John McCain “the kind of funeral he wanted.”
- Trump praises Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte, who plead guilty to assault for body-slamming Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs — “Any guy that can do a body slam — he’s my kind of guy.”
- Trump says he would be willing to accept information about political rivals from a foreign government.
- On 1.5 million Americans testing positive for coronavirus — “When you say that we lead in cases, that’s because we have more testing than anybody else. So when we have a lot of cases, I don’t look at that as a bad thing. I look at that as, in a certain respect, as being a good thing because it means our testing is much better. So I view it as a badge of honor. Really, it’s a badge of honor.”
- On his own COVID-19 tests — “In another sense, I tested positively toward negative, right? So no. I tested perfectly this morning, meaning I tested negative. But that’s a way of saying it. Positively toward the negative.”
To say that this is the tiniest fraction of examples would be an understatement. There are countless times that Donald Trump has said things that were offensive, ignorant, inflammatory, insulting, misogynistic, or all of the above. If you want to see for yourself, just look at his Twitter account. Do it every day for a week and you will see.
- The Obama Obsession
It started with the whole ‘birther’ movement, continued with an argument about crowd sizes, and has never let up. For whatever reason, and there are a few possible explanations, Trump seems to be obsessed with outdoing, smearing and erasing the Obama administration. Most of the shortcomings of his own administration he has blamed on Obama, almost always without evidence or validation.
As a result of this pathological hatred, Trump has done significant damage to the country’s own natural resources, the fight against climate change, animal welfare, worker safety, human rights, and more. If Obama put a regulation or plan in place to improve conditions somewhere, Trump has reversed it, often without any explanation.
Along with this, Trump has also implemented some policy and regulation roll-backs, unrelated to Obama, which are just as damaging.
Here are some examples:
- Trump signs an executive order to allow the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, blocked by Obama, because of environmental concerns and intrusion onto sacred Native American grounds.
- Trump rolls back Obama’s Mercury Effluent Rule, regulating the safe disposal of mercury in dental offices.
- Trump rolls back Obama’s regulation requiring oil companies to provide details of minerals purchased from foreign governments.
- Trump repeals the Stream Protection rule, which prevents coal companies from dumping waste into rivers. The rule is, of course, Obama’s.
- Trump signs an executive order rolling back Obama’s directive allowing transgender students to use the school bathroom of their gender identity.
- Trump reverses Obama’s decision to phase out for-profit prisons.
- Trump accuses President Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower. He presents no evidence, and his own Justice Department had already debunked the claim.
- Trump reverses Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces regulations, which protected workers against safety hazards during government contracts.
- Trump rolls back Obama’s law requiring employers to keep records of employee injuries.
- Trump rolls back Obama’s protections to help students with their student loan payments.
- The Trump Administration moves to end funding for Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn initiative, which educates young women in developing countries.
- The Trump administration rolls back Obama’s healthy school lunch standards.
- Trump withdraws from the Paris Climate Agreement, signed during the Obama administration. This leaves the US and Syria as the only countries to reject it.
- The Trump administration rolls back Obama’s efforts to open diplomatic ties with Cuba.
- The Trump Administration begins rolling back emission standards for cars and light trucks.
- The Trump administration ends a $400,000 grant for Life After Hate, a group that works to eradicate white nationalism.
- Trump ends the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Once again this is an Obama legislation, protecting nearly 800,000 young people who arrived in the US as children.
- The Trump administration denies endangered species protection for 25 species facing extinction from climate change.
- The Trump administration reverses Obama’s protections for employer-provided birth control.
- Trump moves to repeal the Obama’s Clean Power Act, which lowers carbon dioxide emissions 32 percent by 2030.
- Trump scraps healthcare subsidies that help low-income Americans meet out-of-pocket expenses.
- Trump’s EPA multiplies the threshold for dangerous amounts of radiation by ten times that set by Obama.
- The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is signed into law, repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.
- Trump renews copper and nickel mining in Minnesota’s protected Boundary Waters, after lobbying from interests with connections to Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.
- Trump rolls back offshore drilling regulations, which were put in place after the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
- Trump renews an Obama-era law he had previously repealed, allowing employers to randomly drug-test workers who receive unemployment insurance.
- The Trump administration rolls back Obama’s ban on imported African elephant trophies.
- Trump announces that the USA will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, negotiated by Obama and six other countries, with which Iran had been abiding.
- The Trump administration announces plans to roll back Obama’s coal emissions standards.
- Trump announces (at the NRA’s annual meeting) that the United States will drop out of an international arms treaty signed in 2013 by President Obama.
- Trump repeals Obama’s Clean Air Act which tackles emission standards.
- Trump reverses banned hunting techniques, such as baiting grizzly bears with doughnuts soaked in bacon grease (and then using spotlights to blind and shoot hibernating black bear mothers and their cubs in their dens). Also back on the menu is gunning down swimming caribou from motorboats.
I don’t know how many of those you care about. Maybe you are okay with some of them, maybe most of them. Profit over people, though, is not good policy. Never has been, and never will be. Not if you want your grandchildren to have a planet worth living on. There is a negligent cruelty in many of those roll-backs. A single-mindedness that ultimately benefits very few, and harms more.
Do you really want to be party to another four years of that? Can you imagine what a newly enabled President Trump will damage with a stroke of his Sharpie? We may never recover.
The COVID-19 Pandemic
Recent events have placed Donald Trump’s incompetence and ineffectiveness in sharp light, for all to see. Of course, no-one can accuse Trump of being responsible for the existence of the coronavirus, and there is probably nothing he or anyone could have realistically done to prevent it reaching the US. He did close travel from China at an early stage and that undoubtedly had a positive impact. And it is beyond argument that China was way too slow to admit what was going on. But that does not mean that Trump’s overall response has been a “10”, as he once maintained.
Not even close.
Here is a timeline of the outbreak, and the Trump Administration’s actions and inaction.
The Trump administration, specifically through John Bolton, fires the executive branch team responsible for coordinating pandemic responses.
Dec. 31, 2019
The Associated Press reports that China is investigating an “outbreak of respiratory illness in the central city of Wuhan.”
Jan. 6, 2020
The CDC warns Americans to take precautions when traveling to China.
The CDC issues an alert about the coronavirus, saying it is “closely monitoring” the disease and there are “no known U.S. cases.”
China reports its first death.
The World Health Organization issues a statement about the first COVID-19 case outside of China, saying, “There is no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission.”
The CDC holds its first COVID-19 telebriefing. Screening of passengers on direct or connecting flights from Wuhan is announced.
Japan, South Korea, and Thailand confirm cases.
First case of the coronavirus in the US is confirmed near Seattle, the subject having just returned from Wuhan, China. It is around this time, and beyond, that intelligence agencies allegedly began delivering warnings to Trump about the possible global danger of COVID-19.
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Trump is asked whether he has a plan to contain the coronavirus in the US. Trump says the US has a plan and that it’s “going to be handled very well.”
Trump — “It will all work out well.”
“Just received a briefing on the Coronavirus in China from all of our GREAT agencies, who are also working closely with China. We will continue to monitor the ongoing developments. We have the best experts anywhere in the world, and they are on top of it 24/7!” Trump creates the President’s Coronavirus Task Force, led by Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.
The WHO declares a global health emergency, amid thousands of new cases in China.
Around this time, WHO develops a test for the virus and gives the test to 60 countries. US decides to pursue its own test (although it is untrue that the US rejected an offer for the test. It simply did not request the WHO version).
Trump — “We think we have it very well under control. We have very little problem in this country at this moment — five. And those people are all recuperating successfully. But we’re working very closely with China and other countries, and we think it’s going to have a very good ending for it. So that I can assure you.”
The Trump administration restricts travel from China. By this date, 213 people have died and nearly 9,800 have been infected worldwide.
The first death outside China is confirmed.
Two former senior U.S. officials call on Trump to launch broader testing to find infected patients and isolate them, and ask the FDA to allow private labs to develop diagnostic tests.
The first US citizen with the coronavirus dies in Wuhan, China.
“Nothing is easy, but [Chinese President Xi Jinping] … will be successful, especially as the weather starts to warm & the virus hopefully becomes weaker, and then gone.”
The State Department announces they are shipping nearly 17.8 tons of medical supplies to China, including PPE equipment.
“I think the virus is going to be — it’s going to be fine.”
“We have a very small number of people in the country, right now, with it. It’s like around 12. Many of them are getting better. Some are fully recovered already. So we’re in very good shape.”
“I think it’s going to work out fine. I think when we get into April, in the warmer weather, that has a very negative effect on that and that type of a virus. So let’s see what happens, but I think it’s going to work out fine.” Meanwhile, Trump is still allegedly being warned about a possible pandemic.
The White House asks Congress for $1.25 billion funding to help with coronavirus response. The administration also asks to move $535 million more from an Ebola preparedness account. Trump tweets — “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. … Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”
“You may ask about the coronavirus, which is very well under control in our country. We have very few people with it, and the people that have it are … getting better. They’re all getting better. … As far as what we’re doing with the new virus, I think that we’re doing a great job.”
Larry Kudlow, economic advisor to Trump tells CNBC that the U.S. has contained the virus and that the outbreak is unlikely to be an “economic tragedy.”
After a closed-door briefing with health officials. Sen. Mitt Romney says he is disappointed that the administration was not doing more to prepare for a potential epidemic, including stockpiling medical devices and protective equipment.
The CDC warns that they expect community spread of the coronavirus. “It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness,” says Dr. Nancy Messonnier.
“Because of all we’ve done, the risk to the American people remains very low. … When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero. That’s a pretty good job we’ve done.”
“We’re going down, not up. We’re going very substantially down, not up. As they get better, we take them off the list, so that we’re going to be pretty soon at only five people. And we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time.”
Trump appoints Vice President Mike Pence to head the U.S. response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Washington Post reports that a whistleblower complaint claimed that the DHHS sent a dozen workers without proper training or protective gear to assist Americans evacuated from Wuhan, China.
Trump says during an interview — “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”
Trump says at a rally — “The Democrat policy of open borders is a direct threat to the health and well being of all Americans. Now you see it with the coronavirus.” He also refers to the virus as “their new hoax.”
After a month of faulty tests, FDA rules which initially prevented state and commercial labs from developing their own coronavirus tests, and limited criteria for who could be tested, the CDC announces that their test is ready for use country-wide.
First US death after an individual in Washington state dies from the illness.
Trump announces new travel restrictions from Iran and an advisory against traveling to certain parts of Italy and South Korea.
The FDA moves to expand testing capacity in the U.S.
Trump meets with drug companies to discuss speeding up development of a vaccine.
Trump then claims a vaccine would be ready in three to four months. “We had a great meeting today with a lot of the great companies, and they’re going to have vaccines, I think, relatively soon.”
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, later clarifies this to a year/year and a half.
Dr. Ghebreyesus of WHO on the fatality rate — “Globally, about 3.4 percent of reported COVID-19 cases have died. By comparison, seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1 percent of those infected.”
Trump on Hannity — “Well, I think the 3.4 percent is really a false number. Now, and this is just my hunch, and, but based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this, because a lot people will have this and it’s very mild.” He continued, “I think the number, personally, I would say the number is way under 1 percent.”
Trump signs an $8.3 billion spending package to combat the coronavirus. He visits CDC headquarters and says he “wouldn’t generally be inclined” to cancel travel and social gatherings, and claims that anybody who needs a test can get a test. HHS Secretary Alex Azar is forced to correct Trump’s claim — “You may not get a test unless a doctor or public health official prescribes a test.”
The Trump administration lifts tariffs on masks and other medical items imported from China.
Trump is asked whether he is concerned that the virus is getting closer to the White House. His reply — “No, I’m not concerned at all. No, I’m not. No, we’ve done a great job… It came out of China, and we heard about it. And made a good move: We closed it down; we stopped it. Otherwise — the head of CDC said last night that you would have thousands of more problems if we didn’t shut it down very early. That was a very early shutdown, which is something we got right.”
Trump’s former pandemic advisor advocates for social distancing and school closures in an op-ed for The Washinton Post.
Trump tweets — “So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!”
WHO officially labels the outbreak a pandemic.
Trump — “I think we’re going to get through it very well.”
US bans travelers from 26 countries in Europe for 30 days from March 13. White House clarifies that the ban covers people and not goods, after Trump makes specious claims during his national address. The address fails to halt the plunging Dow and is widely panned.
Coronavirus Task Force announces 30-day mitigation strategies for parts of Washington state, California and New Rochelle, New York.
Dr. Fauci on testing availability — “The system is not really geared to what we need right now, what you are asking for. That is a failing. It is a failing. Let’s admit it.”
Trump says there are a “million tests out now” and there will be 4 million in the following days. “If you go to the right agency, if you go to the right area, you get the test.”
Trump declares a national emergency and suggests that Google will help in making tests available. “I want to thank Google. Google is helping to develop a website. It’s going to be very quickly done, unlike websites of the past, to determine whether a test is warranted and to facilitate testing at a nearby convenient location.”
Google responds by clarifying that a tool to triage coronavirus cases is in early stages of development and will only be an informational website.
Trump takes to Twitter to place blame for CDC’s failures on Obama.
Trump — “This is a very contagious virus. It’s incredible. But it’s something we have tremendous control of.”
Dr. Fauci — “The worst is, yes, ahead for us. It is how we respond to that challenge that’s going to determine what the ultimate endpoint is going to be.”
The CDC recommends canceling any gatherings of 50 or more for the next eight weeks.
German newspaper Welt am Sonntag claims Trump offered funds to the German firm CureVac for a vaccine exclusively for the US.
New York, the hardest hit state in the US, closes all schools, bars and restaurants. New York Governor Cuomo is commended almost universally for his handling of the crisis.
Trump — “Just had a very good tele-conference with Nation’s Governors. Went very well. Cuomo of New York has to ‘do more’.”
Trump begins referring the coronavirus as the “Chinese Virus.” There is an increase in racist attacks on Asian Americans in the days after.
Trump — “I’ve always known this is a real — this is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”
Trump closes the Canadian border.
Trump signs the Defense Production Act, a provision that requires private companies to prioritize federal government orders for products, such as masks, respirators, and other critical items needed to fight the coronavirus. He then refuses to invoke the act, inaccurately comparing it to the nationalization of businesses.
Senate unveils a $1 trillion stimulus package. California lockdown enforced for 40 million residents. US cases top 10,000.
Trump closes the Mexican border.
Governor Cuomo orders all non-essential businesses closed, and workers to remain home. Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio, Illinois and many other states issue similar restrictions.
The FDA approves the first “point of care” test for the coronavirus, with test results in about 45 minutes.
Senator Rand Paul is the first US senator to test positive for the coronavirus.
Trump announces that he would love to have the country open again by Easter. “I just thought it was a beautiful time … a beautiful timeline. It’s a beautiful day,” he explains. When asked if it was based on any data, he responds, “It was based on a certain level of weeks from the time we started. And we were thinking in terms of sooner. I’d love to see it come even sooner. But I just think it’ll be a beautiful timeline.”
After numerous requests from Governor Cuomo for federal help procuring more ventilators for New York, Vice President Pence says the federal government is sending 4,000 ventilators from the national stockpile. Cuomo had said the state has 7,000 ventilators, but needs 30,000.
The USA overtakes China as the country with the most coronavirus cases.
Trump tells Sean Hannity, “New York is a bigger deal, but it’s going to go, also. But I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they’re going to be. I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You go into major hospitals sometimes, and they’ll have two ventilators. And now, all of a sudden, they’re saying, ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?’”
During a press conference, Trump appears to tie his willingness to help some of the hardest hit states with their level of “appreciation” for his efforts.
Trump tells reporters that Pence “calls all the governors. And I tell him, I’m a different type of person, and I say, ’Mike, don’t call the governor of Washington. You’re wasting your time with him. Don’t call the woman in Michigan. It doesn’t make any difference what happens.”
Trump also says his administration has “done a great job for the state of Washington,” and has “taken such great care of Michigan.”
He describes Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington as “a failed presidential candidate” who is “constantly chirping, and I guess complaining would be a nice way of saying it.”
And Gretchen Whitmer, Governor of Michigan? “Michigan, all she does is, she has no idea what’s going on, and all she does is say, ‘Oh, it’s the federal government’s fault.’”
“All I want them to do — very simple: I want them to be appreciative,” he said. “I don’t want them to say things that aren’t true. I want them to be appreciative.”
Trump decides against his original plan of relaxing stay-at-home guidance by Easter. Extends the period to the end of April.
Cases reach 163,000. Although 1 million tests are administered, it is still too few. Trump claims he “inherited a broken test” for COVID-19. This is clearly a falsehood as there could not have been an existing test for a disease that didn’t exist until December 2019.
Trump confuses screening (temperature check or a questionnaire) with tests at airports. “They’re doing tests on airlines — very strong tests — for getting on, getting off. They’re doing tests on trains — getting on, getting off.”
Trump urges use of the drug hydroxychloroquine to fight the virus, despite no evidence as to its effectiveness and evidence that it can lead to heart damage.
The United States surpasses Italy for confirmed COVID-19 deaths (over 20,000).
Trump incorrectly asserts that he has “total” authority to decide when states lift quarantine rules and other restrictions.
Trump delays stimulus checks so that they can include his signature.
He also announces that the United States will freeze funding to WHO, blaming the UN organization for America’s predicament.
The Trump administration releases guidelines to restart the economy, ceding major responsibilities to states, despite his threats to exert executive control.
Despite the guidelines from his own administration being quite clear on re-opening, Trump sides with protesters defying stay at home orders in blue states.
Trump predicts a final death toll from the coronavirus of “about 60,000.”
Maryland’s Republican Governor manages to get 500,000 tests from South Korea, side-stepping the Trump administration. After several reports of the administration confiscating supplies of tests and PPE, Governor Hogan puts the stockpile under the watch of the National Guard.
During his daily briefing, Trump wonders if a disinfectant injection, or introducing light into the body, might cure COVID-19 patients. This is quickly followed by multiple reports of people ingesting disinfectant.
Trump abruptly discontinues daily coronavirus briefings after criticism of his disinfectant comments. He remarks, “what’s the point?”
Trump raises his death toll estimate to 70,000, claiming “we’ve made a lot of good decisions.”
Jared Kushner calls the administration’s response to the virus “a great success story.”
Trump expresses his support, and encouragement, for armed protesters who storm government buildings and demand that the Michigan governor re-open the state. “These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely!” He also encourages Governor Whitmer to, “give a little, and put out the fire.”
Trump once again re-evaluates his death toll prediction. “Let’s say it’s 100,000, or 90 or 95.”
“In a way, by doing all of this testing, we make ourselves look bad.”
Trump claims that the US is “the world leader” in coronavirus response, despite the fact that several other countries are far closer to flattening their curve than the US.
Trump continues to counter the guidelines of his own administration by urging states to re-open non-essential businesses. He coins the phrase TRANSITION TO GREATNESS.
Weijia Jiang, a White House correspondent for CBS News, asks Trump why he sees coronavirus testing as a global competition when more than 80,000 Americans have died. Trump responds by suggesting she “should ask China.” After Jiang tackles him about the seemingly targeted response Trump storms out of the conference.
Trump tells reporters he is taking hydroxychloroquine, despite some evidence that suggests the anti-malarial drug is linked to increased risk of death in coronavirus patients.
Trump responds furiously to a Columbia University study that suggests 36,000 lives could have been saved if social distancing measures had been implemented only a week earlier. This is on the day that he visits the Ford plant in Michigan without a face mask. When asked why he responds that “he didn’t want to give the press the pleasure.”
Discussing his daily test result — “I tested very positively in another sense. I tested positively toward negative, right? So no, I tested perfectly this morning. Meaning I tested negative. But that’s a way of saying it. Positively toward the negative.”
Trump labels churches as “essential” and falsely claims he can override governors who do not re-open them.
As the US death toll edges toward the 100,000 mark, Trump goes golfing for the first time since the pandemic began.
The US hits 100,000 reported Covid-19 deaths.
The FDA withdraws emergency approval for use of hydroxychloroquine, long touted by Trump as a viable treatment for COVID-19, stating that it is “unlikely to be effective,” and highlighted “serious side effects.”
Trump holds his first rally, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Despite a series of spikes in red states, Trump decides to fill a 19,000 capacity arena for his first rally in months. And, although he has been assuring anyone who will listen that the virus is well in hand and about to disappear, he makes every attendee sign a waiver agreeing they will not sue the campaign or event organizers should they develop the illness after the event.
As of the updating of this article, July 27 2020, the US is at 4.33 million coronavirus cases, and approximately 149,000 confirmed deaths, with several states beginning to show severe spikes as a result of re-opening. Some have even decided to roll back on the re-opening as a result.
At every turn, from the beginning of 2020, Donald Trump has had a single-minded approach to this crisis. He ignored warnings about the severity of the coming outbreak, refusing to put in place a plan of preparedness for the country (closing down travel from China was a good move, but it was not enough by any measure). Once it arrived he made light of it and played down the possible dangers, assuring the public that is was going to miraculously disappear soon.
The moment Donald Trump started to take this pandemic seriously was the moment it began to affect the economy. Then he started to take action. Then he realized that his re-election could be threatened. But it didn’t last long because then six out of the seven top Trump properties were closed down and stopped generating revenue. So then he decided that we should all just go back to work as soon as possible, hopefully by Easter, despite being warned against this by just about every expert, both medical and military.
President Trump’s ineffectiveness, lack of empathy, carelessness and ignorance have been on full display during this pandemic, for anyone with clear sight to see. His sole concern, as it always has been, is himself, his ever-fragile ego, and his own economic and political survival. To this day, he has made every effort to curtail factual data from reaching the public, and when it does he tries to put his own positive spin on it. He has hawked treatments that don’t work, he has tried to pass off the increasing numbers as a product of increased testing and nothing more. He has both eyes on his re-election and none on the health and well-being of the American people.
During one of his many press conferences throughout this crisis, Trump was asked a very simple, very reasonable question by a journalist:
“What do you say to Americans who are scared, though? Nearly 200 dead. Fourteen thousand are sick. Millions, as you witness, who are scared right now. What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now who are scared?”
This was his chance to be President, to speak directly to the American people and say something from the heart, off the cuff, something to reassure the public.
“I say that you’re a terrible reporter; that’s what I say. I think it’s a very nasty question. And I think it’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the American people. The American people are looking for answers, and they’re looking for hope. And you’re doing sensationalism. Let me just say something: That’s really bad reporting. And you want to get back to reporting instead of sensationalism. Let’s see if it works. It might and it might not. I happen to feel good about it, but who knows? I’ve been right a lot.”
Can you honestly tell me that you are happy with that answer? Is that really a response befitting the President of the United States? No. It is a failure on every level, and symbolic of the preoccupations of this President. Not the well-being of the American people, but himself and his petty squabbles with whoever has displeased him that day.
Black Lives Matter
On May 25 2020, George Floyd was killed by a Minnesota police officer, after allegedly handing over a counterfeit $20 bill in a convenience store. While three other officers watched, Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for a total of 8 minutes and 46 seconds, slowly killing him. The entire incident was captured on video and went viral.
What followed was a sustained explosion of public rage. Outrage over the long-standing belief that there is systemic racism in the US police forces reached a boiling point, and protests, under the Black Lives Matter umbrella, quickly emerged across the country, and the world.
The protests turned violent in some cases, and looting was reported on multiple occasions.
There have been numerous accounts concerning the identity of the looters, including extreme left-wing activists, white-supremacists with their own agenda, simple opportunists taking advantage of police absences, to flat-out anarchists. The truth is probably an element of all of these but, of course, the violence was used by those on the right to attempt to negate the cause of those peacefully protesting.
It was also used as an excuse for violent actions against those peacefully protesting. And it was just such action that was enthusiastically encouraged by President Trump.
The situation is ongoing, and the protests (three weeks after they begun) are now overwhelmingly peaceful. But it is worth pointing out some interesting facts about Trump’s reactions to the protesters. That is, beside the fact that he still has not demonstrated any real understanding of the cause, and has delivered only a token gesture toward a solution.
As mentioned earlier, when heavily armed protesters stormed the Michigan state Capitol building, shouting at police and demanding the Michigan governor re-open the state, Trump publically expressed his support for them. He even referred to them as “very good people.” What was the difference in Trump’s eyes? Was it that the protests were for a cause that was useful to him, since he had been agitating for re-opening since the pandemic began? Was it because the protesters in this case were all white? One has to wonder.
Trump suggested that the military could be used to suppress riots, calling the protesters “thugs” and using the (historically loaded) phrase “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” It is debatable whether he was aware of the phrase’s history (first used by Miami Police Chief, and noted racist, Walter E. Headley in 1967), but what is not debatable is the seriousness of suggesting that the military be used against citizens of the United States. It is a threat he has made several times, including the threat that he will override governors to deploy troops in their states.
During a heated phone call with governors, Trump berated them as “weak” and demanded that they “dominate” the protestors. Here are some snippets of Trump on the call transcript:
You have to dominate. If you don’t dominate, you’re wasting your time. They’re going to run all over you, you’ll look like a bunch of jerks. You have to dominate, and you have to arrest people, and you have to try people and they have to go to jail for long periods of time.
You have every one of these guys on tape, why aren’t you prosecuting them? Now the harder you are, the tougher you are, the less likely it is that you’re going to be hit. This is a movement. We found out they’re delivering supplies to various place in various states, your people know about it now. But we found out many things, it’s like a movement, and it’s a movement that if you don’t put it down, it’ll get worse and worse, this is like Occupy Wall Street. It was a disaster until one day, somebody said, that’s enough and they just went in and wiped them out and that’s the last time we ever heard the name Occupy Wall Street, until today when I heard about it, I heard Occupy Wall Street. I haven’t heard about it, I heard about it today for the first time in a long time. They were there forever it seemed on wall street. they closed up Wall Street, the financial district of the world, total domination, they were ordering pizzas, nobody did anything. And then one day somebody said that’s enough, you’re getting out of here within two hours, and then after that everything was beautiful and that was the last time we heard about it. These are the same people. These are radicals and they’re anarchists. They’re anarchists, whether you like it or not, I know some of you guys are different persuasions and that’s OK. I fully understand that. I understand both. I’m for everybody. I’m representing everybody, I’m not representing — radical right radical left — I’m representing everybody but you have to know what you’re dealing with. But it’s happened before, it’s happened numerous times. And the only time it’s successful is when you’re weak. And most of you are weak.
You have everybody on tape, you gotta arrest all those people, you gotta try them. And if they get five years or ten years, they have to get five years or ten years. There’s no retribution. So I say that and the word is dominate. If you don’t dominate your city and your state, they’re gonna walk away with you.
While reading Trump’s rambling stream-of-consciousness here, your first notion might be to think he has every right to demand that order be restored to the streets. But the truth is Trump was not just talking about the looters and the violent. Trump was talking about ALL of the protesters. Not once does he draw a distinction between peaceful protesters and rioting protesters. In fact, his example of the behavior that warranted the violent repression of the Occupy Wall Street protests was “ordering pizzas.”
On June 1, Trump decided to hold a press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House. In the speech, he mentioned the George Floyd murder (once) and went on to condemn the rioting and looting, laying the blame entirely on the side of left-leaning organizations, despite evidence suggesting players on both sides of the divide. He made another threat to use the military and, bizarrely, made a reference to protecting Second Amendment rights.
He also assured the crowd that he was “an ally of all peaceful protesters.” While making that assurance, police cleared Lafayette Square of peaceful protesters with horses, pepper-balls, flash-bang grenades, and smoke canisters (or possibly tear gas). The reason for this display of his standing as “an ally of all peaceful protesters” is so Trump can walk to St. John’s Church and pose outside it with a bible in his hand.
The move draws immediate rebuke from both religious and political figures for the brutal clearing of a peaceful protest and the cynical use of the Bible as a prop.
Perhaps one of the most telling actions of this administration during protests decrying racial disparity and brutalization was Trump’s decision to restart his rallies by holding the first in Tulsa, Oklahoma on 19 June. Tulsa is the site of the infamous race massacre of 1921, when the affluent African American community of Greenwood was attacked by white supremacists, leading to the loss of 300 African American lives. Also, the 19 June, or Juneteenth, is the anniversary of the emancipation of the slaves.
There are two possibilities here. One, there was a distinct lack of awareness when planning this event, a tone-deafness that demonstrates, not for the first time, Trump’s terrible ignorance of history and its meaning. Two, he did it deliberately to sow discord and to let the protestors know that he simply does not care what they think.
Whichever you believe, the decision was reprehensible, and beneath the behavior of a President of the United States.
Recent events have taken an even more damning turn, as Portland, Oregon, has seen the arrival of unmarked, federal forces who have engaged in some disturbing encounters with protesters. Trump has threatened to send what is essentially an occupying army into other major cities, too. This, despite Governors and Mayors stating that they do not want these forces in their cities. This is shocking behavior from the party that claims to abhor federal interference from “big government” and upholds the belief in state’s rights. Would Reagan have done this?
Comparisons With Hitler
It has become almost passé now to make comparisons to the rise and behavior of Donald Trump with those of Adolf Hitler. And yes, often the comparisons are made too readily and with flimsy accuracy. But we are going there now because, behaviorally, there are similarities. There are patterns of behavior, and we should not simply brush off those patterns, that can act as indicators of future intentions, given the lessons of history we have at our disposal. And there is also the fact that, according to Ivana Trump, Donald Trump was fascinated by the pre-WWII speeches of Hitler from his book My New Order. The book included not only the speeches, but annotations detailing the effect they had on the media and politics of the time.
In his book, When at Times the Mob Is Swayed, civil rights lawyer Burt Neuborne highlights 20 points of comparison between Trump and Hitler:
1. Neither was elected by a majority. Trump is well-known to have lost the popular vote, winning only by the fortunes of the electoral college. Hitler, too, rose to the position of minority chancellor in 1933 and did not assume absolute power until after a dedicated program of demonizing opponents followed by the Reichstag fire, which is believed by most historians to have been caused by Hitler’s own men.
2. Direct communication to their base. Hitler gave out radios with a single channel, tuned to Hitler, avoiding Germany’s traditional media. Trump, of course, has his online equivalent.
3. Both heap blame on The Other and enable racial divisions. For Hitler, it was the demonizing and blaming of Jews for Germany’s problems. Trump’s relentless targeting of immigrants, both legal and illegal, is directly comparable.
4. The demonization of opponents. Hitler would continuously attack his political opponents with name-calling and baseless accusations. Trump follows this template to the letter.
5. Attacks on the notion of objective truth. There is, in both men, an ongoing erosion of the idea of objective truth, a promotion of the idea that everything is subjective, and therefore open to interpretation. This brings us to…
6. Targeting the mainstream media. Hitler coined the phrase “Lügenpresse” (lying press), Trump says “Fake News.” Over time, this creates a distrust of any information that does not come directly from the source.
7. Attacks on science. Hitler was given to belittling scientific experts and academics who questioned his notions on race. Trump treats his own experts in climate, immigration and economics with equal contempt if they question his ideas.
8. Their constructed realities become their followers’ realities. Both men blur the lines of reality to such a degree, with their incessant lies and twisted perspectives, that their followers become isolated mouth-pieces, repeating verbatim whatever the new hard-line theory is.
9. Mass rallies. Hitler reinforced his status as leader and Führer with orchestrated rallies, designed to create an emotional bond between him and his followers. Trump follows the same pattern, continuing to hold rallies throughout his presidency.
10. Extreme nationalism. Hitler invoked an image of a Germany lost, and a promise to restore the nation to greatness. “Make America Great Again” may be a copy of Reagan’s slogan, but the application is all Hitler.
11. Closing borders. Hitler called for the closing of Germany’s borders and an end to non-Aryan migration. Trump called for similar changes, including the now infamous Muslim ban.
12. Mass detentions and deportations. Hitler’s great promise was to rid Germany of Jews and Slavs. Trump has promised to slow, cease, or in some cases, reverse, immigration for Muslims, Africans, Mexicans, and non-whites of other descriptions. Trump, like Hitler, believes creating fear in The Other will keep them away.
13. Trade wars and economic belligerence. Both men favor protectionism, trade wars to favor national corporations at the expense of foreign competitors and the environment.
14. Enrichment of elites. Hitler gave political and financial power to leaders of industry and corporate executives. The same is true of Trump, who has overseen massive deregulation and tax windfalls for corporate America.
15. Rejection of international diplomacy and alliances. Hitler preferred military and economic bullying over international cooperation, the results of which are well known. Trump is also contemptuous of international organizations, partnerships, agreements and pacts. His entire foreign policy is one of withdrawal and coercion.
16. Attacks on the democratic process. Hitler purged voting rolls, challenged the integrity of the electoral process, and questioned the effectiveness of democratic governments, eventually doing away with democracy itself. Trump has attacked the legitimacy of elections, supporting purging voter rolls to combat imaginary voter fraud and taken no action to tackle Russian interference in the electoral process.
17. Attacks on the judiciary and rule of law. Like Hitler, Trump threatens the judicially enforced rule of law, attacking judges who rule against him, praising Andrew Jackson for defying the Supreme Court, abusing the pardon power and refusing to allow subpoenaed members of his administration to appear at hearings.
18. Glorification of the military. Trump, like Hitler, is obsessed with the military and military strength. He has severely increased military spending, requested more than one military parade, and pardoned members of the military found guilty of war crimes. Military threats are also his go-to response to most international crises.
19. Unchecked power. Trump has, more than any other president, governed not by consensus and decision-making, but my proclamation and executive order. He has been known to announce policy in a tweet, throwing his administration into chaos. And, like Hitler, he often claims absolute power to overrule all branches of government. He has joked about being a president for life and openly admired leaders who rule without limitations. He has set dangerous precedents which the “checks and balances” have so far neither checked nor balanced.
20. Demands for personal loyalty. Like the Führer before him, Trump has demanded personal loyalty from public servants who are there to serve the country. From Comey to Sessions, Trump has demonstrated many times that he believes the role of the judicial branch is to protect him, and not the country.
Taken together, these similarities are striking. And while no one is suggesting that Donald Trump is planning another Holocaust, or World War III, he is clearly an admirer of Hitler’s style of power-building. The rhetoric that he has unleashed in his road to power has a life of its own, just as Hitler’s did, and it could be years before we know the full extent of damage done to the country’s standing and well-being, for the sake of winning an election.
And what of the worst-case scenario? Is it unthinkable? Could Trump, driven by admiration for this tyrant, and all tyrants, find a way to chip away at the democratic norms that Americans take for granted? Can you look over the last three and a half years and be certain that he hasn’t begun to do that already? It’s easy to say to yourself that “it couldn’t happen here” but it is exactly that kind of apathy and smugness in which fascism flourishes, unnoticed by the unwary.
I’ll leave this section with the words of Burt Neuborne:
“But then there was Donald Trump, the only president in recent American history to openly despise the twin ideals — individual dignity and fundamental equality — upon which the contemporary United States is built. When you confront the reality of a president like Trump, the state of both sets of brakes — internal [constitutional] and external [public resistance] — become hugely important because Donald Trump’s political train runs on the most potent and dangerous fuel of all: a steady diet of fear, greed, loathing, lies, and envy. It’s a toxic mixture that has destroyed democracies before, and can do so again.”
Let’s Get to the Meat and Potatoes
As I said in the beginning, rationalization among supporters seems to have become vital to Donald Trump’s longevity. The lower he sinks, the more creative his defenders become. And the more creative his defenders, the more normalized his behavior seems. I have seen footage of supporters at his rallies admit, in plain English, that they don’t care what he does, he will always have their support. Support that doesn’t need to be earned on an ongoing basis has dangerous consequences. It enables the subject of the support, and Donald Trump is feeling extremely enabled.
In a way, it seems to me that this rationalization has become vital to his supporters’ self-respect. However, I genuinely believe that there is also a large swathe of people out there who voted for him but have been horrified by the last three and a half years. I genuinely believe that there are people who voted for him and now watch him grandstand and obfuscate his way through the Presidency with mounting shame. I sincerely hope these people swallow their pride, choose the actual lesser of two evils this time, and do not inflict this maniac on the country for another four years. The cost is too high.
Look. Here it is. Here is the man you chose as the country’s leader, and may well be considering choosing again.
Donald J. Trump is a narcissist
A malignant narcissist, according to multiple psychologists. His every view, every opinion, is centered on how he alone is affected. He is pathologically incapable of viewing any situation from an external point of view, and is disinterested in the affairs of people who are not related to him, or who do not benefit him in some way.
Donald J. Trump is thin-skinned and pathologically insecure
Simply put, Donald Trump cannot take criticism of any kind. He has never responded maturely and calmly to any criticism that has been leveled at him, no matter how well-founded. Instead, he lashes out on Twitter with petty insults and petulance. He is now wholly predictable in this regard. If he is taken to task by anyone, wait for the tweet. It will come. He sees every encounter in life as simply WIN or LOSE, with no margin for compromise or negotiation.
Donald J. Trump is a misogynist
He has freely demonstrated, on numerous occasions, that women are nothing more than decoration to him, even going so far as to tell the French first lady that she is “in good shape.” His objectification of women is indisputable. He has had more accusations of sexual assault and sexual misconduct leveled at him than any other political figure in modern history, by far (yes, including Bill Clinton).
Donald J. Trump is a con man
He has a long history of misrepresenting his assets and refusing to pay his contractors, instead tying them up in litigation, or bullying them into submission. He has been successfully sued for his phony university program, and for his misuse of charity funds. There are few, if any, professional colleagues or acquaintances who speak highly of him.
Donald J. Trump is a racist
He was sued by President Nixon’s Department of Justice for discriminatory practices in his rentals, had black employees hidden from his view in his Casinos, and pursued an unfounded case against five black youths after an assault on a jogger in Central Park, even after they had been acquitted through DNA evidence. Also, his assertion that a group of protesting white supremacists had some “good people” in it speaks volumes. He clearly believes that being a white supremacist is not enough to deny you that compliment.
Donald J. Trump is a sociopath
If you think he cares about you, or your family, or even your country, think again. He simply is not capable. He demonstrates no warmth, no emotional weight, no indication that the cares or pain of other people mean anything to him. Tony Schwartz, who spent a considerable amount of time with Trump while he ghost wrote Art of the Deal has said, “He is a psychopath. Meaning he is missing the two ingredients that are critical and common for human beings. Number one, conscience, and number two, empathy.” Trump has displayed, consistently, several major signifiers of a sociopath:
- Risk Taking
- Lack of empathy
- Inability to form mutually intimate relationships
If you want to hear it all from a reliable source just Donald’s niece, Mary Trump, a trained clinical psychologist. In her book Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, she details not just the President’s sociopathy, but the family traumas that created it. This man should not be running any country, especially not the most powerful in the world.
Donald J. Trump is ignorant and poorly educated
He has consistently demonstrated no grasp of history, political science, the Constitution, or even the limits of his office. Nor does he seem to have any understanding of the levels of government and their separation of powers. He has no curiosity about the country he leads or the world it inhabits. He doesn’t read his daily briefings, he doesn’t consult his intelligence agencies or listen to them when they advise him. Donald Trump is utterly convinced that all he needs to guide and lead the most powerful country in the world is his “gut.” He is, for all intents and purposes, a self-made idiot.
Donald J. Trump is a poor representative for the United States of America
He has been laughed at numerous times by the international community, has betrayed allies and reneged on international treaties. He has seriously diminished America’s standing in the world, and eroded trust that was built over decades. And if you don’t think this matters, think again. As the world turns away from the US, it will inevitably turn elsewhere. China? Russia? Europe? The US is losing its place at the head of the table, as it turns inward under the guidance of this fool. Ask yourself, who stands to gain from this?
Those are the visible and provable deficiencies. There are other, alleged, deficiencies.
Donald J. Trump has been accused of raping a 13-year-old girl, and then making threats so that charges were dropped. He has been accused of walking into a dressing room of 15-year-old girls during Miss Teen USA, and then boasting about it.
There is substantial evidence to suggest that Donald J. Trump did indeed accept the help of Russian interests in his election campaign. The Mueller investigation DID NOT exonerate Donald Trump at all. That was another one of his falsehoods, repeated verbatim by the usual suspects until it became an established truth in the minds of his followers. But it is not the truth, which is all right there if you are prepared to look for it. And before you scream FISA at me, any arguments as to the legality of methods used to obtain information DO NOT change the nature of the information that was found. After all, let us not forget that Clinton’s email scandal was the result of an illegal hacking.
It surely can be no accident that there is a direct correlation between the stock market fluctuations and Trump’s Twitter activity. Does he manipulate the market for his own benefit? How would we know if he did? There’s that lack of transparency again.
I could go on. I really could. For pages. But if this is not enough to convince you that this man is unfit to hold the office of President, then I may as well wait for him to drown a bag of kittens. Can’t wait to see how you rationalize that one. If you can honestly look back upon everything listed here and still reach for the Hunter Biden/Hillary’s emails/Socialism tropes, believing you have balanced the pros and cons, then you are beyond help.
The cumulative stain that President Trump has left on the country I love is palpable and undeniable. Racist attacks and hate crimes reached a 16-year high in 2018. The Trump Presidency has seen a rise in white nationalist confidence, some groups even going so far as to voice their support for him (with no blowback from him). And now we have protests in the streets of major cities all over the country. Did Trump invent racism? Of course not. Has Trump fanned the flames whenever possible? Absolutely.
The effects of his regulatory roll-backs, either driven by his obsession with Obama or simply for financial gain, will be felt for generations to come if they are not soon reversed. Trump’s rhetoric and disdain for decorum have undoubtedly led to a lowering of standards in the national discourse. Attacks on the freedom of the press, political opponents, foreign allies, the intelligence agencies, and scientists have led to a culture of ignorance and fear not seen in this country since the days of McCarthy.
He has celebrated dictators, pardoned war criminals (against even the wishes of the military commanders), attacked veterans and the families of veterans, broken diplomatic protocols, called a woman a “dog” and several men “low-lifes”, and now, with his lackluster response to the COVID-19 crisis (and insistence on finding an early way back from it), shows little regard for the lives of Americans.
As for the Republican party. It is unrecognizable. Cruel, spineless, greedy, completely subjugated to Trump and cast in his image. Under what previous President, red or blue, could you imagine an official suggesting that the lives of our elderly are risked for the sake of the economy, as Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick did in late March? That is the Trump Effect. And this is where you will find the reason why people have blocked you on Facebook, and why your family is not as close as it once was. Has the Trump Effect made you a little more unpleasant to be around?
He genuinely believes himself, and the office of the President, to be above reproach and criticism. He sneers at the checks and balances put in place to rein in leaders just like him. Blind, unquestioning allegiance to this broken man is a betrayal of the Founding Fathers, who created the separation of powers as a safeguard against the ascension of a “man who would be King.” Trump is that man. But what use are the checks and balances when they are not utilized by a simpering, partisan GOP?
To those of us who cannot understand why you would vote for him, there is only one way to see this. People under his sway, people who we thought were decent, good people have changed as a result of standing with this man. At least, that’s how it seems to us. They are more belligerent, more selfish, more intolerant, more ignorant, and suffer from a superiority complex about being American that was not there before he came along.
And that is why this election is not just a political matter. That’s why this election is a moral question. This election will define what kind of person you are prepared to countenance in the highest office in the land. Not just what your political views are, not EVEN what your political views are, but where YOUR red line is. To what level are you prepared to let the office of the President of the United States sink? How many disgraces, and embarrassments, and demeaning acts, are you prepared to overlook for your tax cuts, for your Republican allegiance, for your outrage that someone out there may get help that you don’t think they deserve? What’s the price of your superiority?
You see, like it or not, for those of us who find Donald Trump every inch the reprehensible, vile, unforgivable moral vacuum that he is, your decision to vote for him brings with it an unavoidable judgment call from us. This isn’t like Reagan, or Clinton, or Bush, or Obama. This isn’t red/blue, left/right, elephant/donkey. Not anymore. Trump is something else, however much you try to pretend he is just another President. He is not. And I think you know that in your hearts.
Supporting him, especially after the last four years, says more to us about who you are than just which political party you support. To those of us, your family, your friends, your loved ones, who see Donald Trump as toxic, dangerous, and a threat to all that is pure in this country, your vote for him is a black mark that we may never recover from. It says that you are not the person we thought you were. It says that you’re okay with things that we can never be okay with. It says that our differences far outweigh our similarities.
He has diminished you in our eyes. Considerably. And we feel like you allowed it, and we worry that you will continue to allow it.
We’re not okay with that. And we are really not okay with another four years of this horror show. If that is what you vote for, we cannot overlook it in the future. At best, we will not be able to forgive you. At worst, you will find, in the years to come, that you will not be able to forgive yourself.
Election Day is only 12 days away now. We must not become complacent. If you haven’t shared The Case Against Trump (and why some of your friends and family no longer want to speak to you) please do it now, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Linked In, wherever you can.
Use hashtags to get peoples attention.
#goodtrouble #nevertrump #dumptrump #TrumpleThinSkin #ThePresidentIsACrybaby #notmypresident #election2020 #liarinchief
Give everyone what they need to convince those who can be convinced to vote Trump out.
We cannot allow this man another four years. Do what you can. Thank you.
The Washington Post
The New York Times
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
The Cato Institute