- 23 Dec 20
The outgoing President of the USA, Donald Trump, is widely reviled and frequently depicted as the ultimate low-life. Which got our columnist wondering: how does he really compare to the three most recent presidents, Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton?
Presidents: don't you just love 'em.
As he rants and scants on his way out of the White House, it’s important to keep in mind that just because Donald Trump says something doesn’t mean it’s not true. He has long been known for farting out truths that more refined sorts would surreptitiously clench their buttocks to keep in.
So, by way of good-bye to the bawling baby boss and 2020, I thought I’d try to highlight ways in which Trump has been of much of a muchness with other recent presidents and in certain respects better than some.
I recall him being asked on CNN whether he shouldn’t distance himself a bit more from Vladimir Putin, on account of Putin being a bad bastard generally and a dangerous enemy of human rights in particular.
“He’s a killer!” the CNN guy bristled.
“Well,” responded Trump. “We have killed a few people ourselves.”
What other president would have answered with such brazen honesty? Trump felt no need to mitigate the brutality of power. Didn’t prettify what presidents routinely do. This is one of the main reasons he’s reviled by refined folk. Letting the cat out of the bag. Letting ruling class down.
DARLINGS OF NEWS ANCHORS
The relevance of Putin arises from the apparent conviction of thousands of journalists that the Russian ogre interfered in the 2016 presidential election to the benefit of Trump and the detriment of Hillary Clinton. Putin must have something on Trump, it was widely suggested. Sex workers hired to piss on him in a Moscow hotel bedroom. Golden reign. That sort of thing.
But among thousands of column inches scanned for info on these attractive possibilities, none that I’ve seen has offered evidence that Putin delivered a single vote to Trump. In what counties, what states, what demographics were votes shifted away from Clinton and towards Trump as a result of Russian meddling? Answer comes there none.
A shred of evidence is all I’d need to believe that Putin slaughters peasants and eats their young. But not a shred has been revealed.
It’s been reported in respectable media that 17 (!) – the number cited was exact – US intelligence agencies have confirmed that Putin was manipulating US elections. If they’d said 13 out of 17, I might have believed them, although not really, because who would believe a word from their palsied lips, apart from Republicans, Democrats and members of the British Labour Party who hate Jeremy Corbyn.
The CIA and the FBI have become the darlings of news anchors and commentators of impeccable taste. They may have overthrown democracies, hired goons and grifters to murder political leaders and presidents who stood half an inch to the left of centre, procured the kidnap and torture of random citizens suspected of radicalism, but they are four-square with us now against the rampage of Trump through the established norms. So, sit down and stop rocking the boat.
TOP OF THE DUNG-HEAP
Trump is a climate denier, a covid denier and a denier of everything wholesome and good, which is why Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barak Obama felt it appropriate to come together for a photo-shoot on December 2nd, announcing that they’d each get a covid shot just as soon as the vaccine became available. Common-sense moral men giving good example.
That would be a man accused of being a rapist (I believe her), a man who concocted lies to launch a war in which between half a million and a million people perished, and a guy who would gather in a basement in the White House every Tuesday morning with his intelligence and military advisors to decide which perceived enemy of the States should be offed by drone in the afternoon.
But forget about that, too, as nearly everybody has – apart, presumably, from the families of the people ripped apart or blown to bits or waterboarded to drowning and death.
Bush, Clinton and Obama – former Presidents all – now stand at attention on the shoulders of history, taking the salute of an admiring multitude.
Trump is a low-life who has clawed his way to the top of the dung-heap. No decent person would want to walk on the same side of the street. He’s a guttersnipe who’d be thrown out of Sandino’s before he came in. But one of his main differences from Bush, Clinton and Obama has to do with style, not substance .
SENSE OF GRIEVANCE
UN and other agencies tell us that the worst humanitarian disaster in the world today lies in Yemen, where bombs have been raining on innocent people since the launch of the Saudi-US assault in April 2016. Schools, hospitals, and residential neighbourhoods have been obliterated.
April 2016. When the sainted Obama was president.
Nobody holds that against him now.
“There’s room at the top I’m telling you still/ But first you must learn how to smile as you kill/ If you want to be like the folks on the hill.”
Trump has a well-developed sense of grievance, not to say self-pity. He might yet be whipped down Pennsylvania Avenue, blubbering that, “It’s not fair!”
And in a certain meaningful sense, he’d have a point.
You know the way people keep saying they are glad to be shot of 2020? How do they know next year won't be worse?
Happy Xmas one and all.