(Door Hugo kijne te Hoboken USA)
At a Ku Klux Klan rally in May 1927 in Queens Fred Trump, then 21 years old, was arrested. Although he was not charged and it is not clear if he was a clan member, he was definitely a sympathizer. By all accounts Fred Trump had major influence on his son Donald, who has often called his father his role model. In 1973 father and son Trump had to settle a lawsuit because they refused to rent apartments to black tenants, whose applications were marked with a C for ‘colored’ and summarily denied. In 1989 five young black men were wrongfully convicted of raping a female jogger in Central Park. Donald Trump led the charge against them and took out a full-page advertisement demanding that they be given the death penalty. After the miscarriage of justice had been exposed and the ‘Central Park Five’ were exonerated and received repairs, Trump was overheard saying: “Now they are rich rapists.” The ‘birtherism’ movement Trump started was a shameful attempt to delegitimize the first black US President, and Trump’s only real agenda is to erase each of Barack Obama’s accomplishments.
There can be no doubt that by upbringing and shown public behavior, which includes calling Mexicans ‘rapists,’ attacking an American judge for his Mexican heritage, and urging his followers to ‘rough up’ Black Lives Matter activists, Trump is a racist. It explains his first comments about the events in Charlottesville, when he refused to blame the fascists who initiated the riot and stated that there were many culprits, left and right. Two days later he was forced to change his position and condemn the ‘alt-right,’ but he did that with the spontaneity and conviction of a hostage video. For a pathological narcissist like Trump even the appearance of having made a mistake and corrected himself was unbearable, so the next day he reversed course again, doubling down on his first statement and declaring that there were also ‘fine people’ among the Nazis, maybe thinking of his father. And although racism and narcissism are the primary sources of Trump’s behavior, his Chief Strategist Steve Bannon added a strategic component: It’s what a large part of the Republican base wants to see and hear.
In the total chaos that followed his first and third statements Trump went farther off the rails by comparing Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson with George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, conveniently disregarding that the latter built a nation and the former betrayed it. Steve Bannon in the meantime undermined the president’s rhetoric towards North Korea by saying in a spontaneous interview with a left leaning journal that the US has no military options.
Although this was one of the few occasions when Bannon spoke the truth, today he lost his job as Chief Strategist. So far Trump has been fearful of what Bannon can do to him from outside of the White House, but the conflicts and confusion the former Breitbart CEO so enjoyed caused paralysis in the executive branch, and Chief of Staff John Kelly apparently decided that enough was enough.
Taking one rat off the ship doesn’t make it stop sinking. Business leaders have turned their backs on Trump and Senator Corker has questioned Trump’s ‘stability and competence,’ which comes close to 25th Amendment language. On top of that, without Steve Bannon Trump may lose his base.
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