Donald J. Trump is, to even the most casual observer, a peculiar, unpleasant man. From the bizarre, nebulous patch of hair levitating above its host’s pudgy, carrot-hued features, to his irritating tendency to immediately repeat another of his meaningless soundbites, perhaps only to give himself a second chance to identify the point he is trying to make – this is a supremely flawed individual.
He greedily seeks to enhance his own opulence in any situation in which he finds himself. Despite this, his companies, or branches thereof, have been declared bankrupt at least four times (and that is long before we approach the insolvency of Trump’s morals). Although in America, bankruptcy can seem to be badge of honour on the well-trodden path to celebrity rather than a source of shame, often (but not always) followed by a carefully choreographed public breakdown, before a less-than-rehabilitative stint in a rehab facility.
Trump, to his credit, is an exception. He has avoided the latter parts of this celebrity process, while reaping the rewards of his reality TV shows, an essential part of his portfolio of self-interest and cultural destruction. This has propelled him to the status of the first reality president of the reality age.
Despite his seventy-one years, he is an avid twit, no, twat – sorry, I’ll get it right this time – tweeter, which means his infantile whims, slanderous personal attacks and half-baked policy decisions are usually thrust on the world through a medium that permits only 140 characters per tweet – surely not enough to suffice as a vessel for serious political discourse. To counter this, he releases rambling series of tweets to his ‘followers’, often entirely unchecked – spelling and factual errors to boot.
Yet, a nation he has enraptured. Or at least part of a nation. He, as we know, actually received fewer votes than Hilary Clinton country-wide. Whatever one’s thoughts on the electoral system in America, what we can glean from this unfortunate reality is that there are enough people receptive to Trump’s dubious charms to enable him to sit at the desk of the Oval Office, and that is a truly troubling thought. Not only for America but for our world.
He appears far from convinced of the existence of the Holocaust while refusing to condemn the actions and beliefs of violent Alt-right groups. Furthermore, his hostility towards the LGBT community is well-publicised and inexcusable. As president, he has proposed legislation to abolish a lot of the previous incumbent’s progressive work regarding the ‘’War on Drugs’’. Should Trump get his way, sentences for crack cocaine offences would be lengthened significantly compared to those for powder cocaine from the 10:1 disparity to which the Obama presidency managed to reduce the imbalance. A thinly veiled push, then, to accelerate the social cleansing of black Americans and Latinos. His apparent fixation with building walls indicates a man more concerned with division than unity.
He denies climate change, and several headings have been altered to remove the word ‘change’ from the website of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a US government agency. The island town of Tangier, Virginia has lost 60% of its landmass and is currently home to those who scientists claim will be the first climate change refugees in the history of the USA (the lamentable irony of this situation of course, is that Trump received 87% of the town’s vote). Trump called the mayor of Tangier to lend him support in his assertion that the sea waters are not rising, and that the loss of over half of his town is down to ‘’natural wave action’’. Trump has, perhaps typically, also backed the construction of a sea wall around the island, one assumes just to be on the safe side.
In 2009, Trump decided to leave several of his properties under the name of Trump Entertainment in the hands of his lenders after his fourth bankruptcy. Like a rat fleeing a sinking ship he detached himself from responsibility and left, seeking to avoid muddying his most honourable name. In 2014, when Trump Entertainment (through the lenders Trump had abandoned) finally gave up the fight and declared themselves broke, the current president unsuccessfully attempted to sue his former company as he alleged that the failure of that business was damaging his own brand.
Alleged links to the mafia in New York have been dismissed by the Commander-in-Chief, while his history of grotesque misogyny is known by all. Renewing tensions and reinstating restrictions with countries like Cuba is a glaring example of his penchant for petty aggression and isolationism.
These are not the actions of an individual fit to serve as head of any state, let alone one with such international influence as the United States.
As for his obsequious cadre of cheerleaders and associates who support him loyally before they reach the end of their usefulness and are pitilessly jettisoned (Steve Bannon being the most high-profile example), what possible incentive could they have for working for this man (they work ‘for’, not ‘with’ him)? A self-serving bully, one imagines Trump as a spoilt child surrounded by toys he himself has chosen, only to lose interest and throw them at a passing chambermaid.
Prestige, honour and morality mean little to Trump, or they certainly don’t mean to him what they mean to most of us. He is perhaps the first President to principally identify the role as a means of making himself richer.
This is a man so lacking in etiquette that he has been pictured driving a golf buggy onto the green at his OWN golf club. On the subject of golf buggies…
It was recently revealed that the President of the United States has, in only seven months in office, spent $60,000 of his own and his family’s protection budget (state money) on hiring golf buggies from, you guessed it, his own golf resorts. Lining his pockets wherever he can, his notoriously tiny hands seem permanently embedded in the White House till.
I leave you with this extract from a letter written by one of the founding fathers of the USA, Benjamin Franklin, in correspondence with his daughter in 1784.
“I wish that the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country, he is a bird of bad moral character, he does not get his living honestly, is too lazy to fish for himself, so he waits on a nearby branch and steals from other birds instead. Like those among men who live by sharping and robbing, he is generally poor and often very lousy, besides he is a rank coward.”
One would not have to change many words of this letter to aptly apply to it the 45th President of the United States.