The benefit of hindsight which translates as 20:20 vision compels us to recognise and acknowledge that President Donald Trump’s foes predate his election as the President of the most powerful nation on earth.
Here is the health hazard warning and witness statement filed by 76 year-old left-wing Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont who would (had he been able to beat Hilary Clinton) probably have beaten Trump:
“During his campaign, Trump said some very interesting things. Unfortunately, his policies have been diametrically in opposition to what he said. I think essentially he lied on almost every major issue. And the clearest examples are the two major proposals in the last month, the healthcare proposal and, even worse, the budget. Trump’s proposed budget is the most outrageous transfer of wealth from working people to the top 1 per cent that we have ever seen. It’s a budget that’s not going to go anyplace.”
He went on to say: [On the front page of Financial Times]:
“No, I think Trump is actually quite smart — in his own way and for his own reasons. He may not know a lot about foreign policy or healthcare, but he is not a dumb man by any means. I think what Trump is doing is filling the agenda of people like the Koch brothers: essentially doing away with every major programme passed since Franklin D Roosevelt that would help working people, the elderly, children, the sick and the poor, and at the same time providing massive tax breaks to the rich and large corporations. In this budget, Trump did not propose cuts to social security [the American retirement programme], but I have zero doubt that will be coming down the pike.”
Sanders considers today’s Republicans an “extreme right” party. In the past, he says, “centre-right” Republicans such as Dwight D Eisenhower competed with conservative Republicans. “What you have now are, in a sense, right-wing Republicans competing with extreme right-wing Republicans.” Still, he adds: “A lot of Republicans in the House and Senate are not indecent human beings.
Such as who?
“I don’t want to get into names. I’ll get them into trouble. You see people like John McCain speaking out on this or that issue.”
“Here’s what I think is going on. If you were to tell Americans that if you are 70 and the doctor diagnoses you with cancer, that there should not be a healthcare programme to protect you, 90 per cent of people say, ‘You’re out of your mind, you want to get rid of Medicare? What are you talking about? You want to get rid of federal aid to education? That’s nonsense.”
“Many Americans simply do not know that the social welfare system in America is so much weaker than in Europe. It has a lot to do with corporate media, has a lot to do with a two-party system which doesn’t really ask hard questions. Do you know how much it costs to go to university here (in Britain), where we sit right now? It’s free. Do you think people in the US know that? People will be going, ‘Oh, Bernie, you’re radical.’ No. Much of what I propose is already in existence in many countries.”
“The younger generation in America is the least prejudiced in terms of race, gender and homophobia. It is a very open generation, a bright generation, a generation that I believe is prepared to think big and not just nibble around the edges.”
“Sometimes nice people do terrible, terrible things. And sometimes people who are not so nice — LBJ [President Lyndon B Johnson], my God, he was brutish in many ways, right? Yet he was one of the most progressive presidents in history.”
Under the unwritten rules of engagement, American television and radio stations are expected to give equal time (the right of reply) to both the friends and foes of Donald Trump. Not for FOX News. The television channel has remained fiercely and unapologetically loyal to Trump.
Its reward is lavish encomiums from the White House as well as Tweets from as early as 3 a.m. No question about it, it is on Fox News that Trump relies on for “genuine” news, information and statistics. No fake news. Not even when other channels are reporting that after only nine months in office, Donald Trump’s approval rating has plunged to 38 per cent (about the same as his hard core support base).
Graydon Carter went for the jugular when in the editorial of “Vanity Fair” magazine (November 2017 edition), he gave vent to his total despair and grave anguish:
“As we tiptoe up to the one-year anniversary of the election that left more than half the country – and much of the rest of the world – reeling in astonishment and revulsion, it’s difficult not to recoil at the sight of our great leader strutting the world stage, alternately lecturing and hectoring his betters. Donald Trump’s brand of preening narcissism and incompetence is a constant reminder of just how far we’ve fallen.
Not only is he the most childish man to have held public office, he may be the most childish man to have held public office in this country ever. You could replace “childish” with all sorts of adjectives – vindictive, erratic, vainglorious, temperamental, and untruthful quickly come to mind – and that declaration would still hold.”
Even more savage was the front page review (“The Observer” 6th August, 2017) of Joshua Green’s book:
“Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump and the Storming of the Presidency” by Michael Goldfarb:
“In the bizarre cast of characters hovering around the Trump administration reality show, White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon stands out. To begin with, he has a brain. This is attested to by most journalists who have spent time with him, especially Joshua Green, the author of this book. The use to which, Bannon has put his intellect, though, is what really makes him different. His worldview is one of “decline of the west” nihilism. How that worldview dovetailed with Donald Trump’s and helped create the greatest upset in modern American political history is the story told in this brief, snappily written book. Seeing Bannon through the prism of class doesn’t really explain the ease with which he gathered advanced degrees from two of America’s most prestigious graduate schools: Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and Harvard Business School. Something other than class needs to explain his restless advance to an office down the hall from the President.”
Then comes the vignette: “TRUMP IS A NUT WHO LIKES TO SURROUND HIMSELF WITH NUTS”, says one GOP operative.”
He could have added: Donald Trump likes being hated than he likes being liked (just like apostle Steve Bannon)
History is never perfect. Indeed, Michael Goldfarb teases us with the seductive proposition that journalism is the first rough draft of history.