Wow. I’m not sure any presidential candidate has ever had such an astounding trifecta in one campaign. However, Donald Trump is an overachiever, so if any candidate is going to do something amazing… it’s going to be him.
On Sunday, candidate Trump made some stunning comments on Twitter and in the media, putting a cap on what has been the most circus-like campaign in modern American history. I chose three different Trump moments that I believe speak to a much larger trend from the Trump campaign, a trend that should be troubling for most (if not all) Americans.
First, earlier this month, IJ Review released a story detailing an interview that Donald Trump gave to Playboy magazine a few years ago. During the course of the interview Trump opined that it seemed to him that Mikhail Gorbachev had been too weak a leader to helm the Soviet Union and that the Soviet dictator should have been more “firm” with his people… like the Chinese at Tiananmen Square. (I kid you not.)
What were your other impressions of the Soviet Union?
I was very unimpressed. Their system is a disaster. What you will see there soon is a revolution; the signs are all there with the demonstrations and picketing. Russia is out of control and the leadership knows it. That’s my problem with Gorbachev. Not a firm enough hand.
You mean firm hand as in China?
When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak … as being spit on by the rest of the world–
Why is Gorbachev not firm enough?
I predict he will be overthrown, because he has shown extraordinary weakness. Suddenly, for the first time ever, there are coal-miner strikes and brush fires everywhere- which will all ultimately lead to a violent revolution. Yet Gorbachev is getting credit for being a wonderful leader and we should continue giving him credit, because he’s destroying the Soviet Union. But his giving an inch is going to end up costing him and all his friends what they most cherish-their jobs.
Jeff Dunetz at Lidblog asks some very good questions about Trump’s comments, wondering if this is what he means when he talks about needing a “strong” leader in the White House.
Is that what Trump calls strong leadership?
The “weakness” Trump was talking about was called “perestroika” and “glastnost” in the USSR. Gorbachev was trying to overhaul the communist party in the USSR, and increase freedom by easing the strict social controls imposed by the government/party. Gorbachev gave greater freedom to the media and religious groups and allowed citizens to express divergent views. Two years before Trump gave his interview, Gorbachev had expanded his reforms to include democratization, moving the USSR toward an elected form of government.
So is Trump calling the USSR greater freedom a weakness? Perhaps, because he said Friday that if elected president he will change the nation’s libel laws in order to make it easier to sue news organizations. Presently there are no federal libel laws only state laws. And in a 1964 Supreme Court decision (New York Times v. Sullivan) the court ruled that public individuals who wish to sue media companies for libel, must first prove that the news organization knowingly published false information with malicious intent.
Does Trump want to emulate China and put the media “down with strength.” A very frightening concept.
Then, earlier this week, Trump was endorsed by the most famous white racist in America, David Duke, the former Grand Wizard (leader) of the KKK, our nation’s most famous collection of white racists. Duke further argued that all white Americans should be proudly supporting Donald Trump’s candidacy, and that any white person who votes against Trump would be committing “treason to their heritage.” Instead of immediately tossing the endorsement aside and telling all Americans that he is ardently against the hateful rhetoric of all racists… Mr. Trump chose to say that he “doesn’t know enough” about the KKK or David Duke to disavow their endorsements.
(The comments on the KKK begin at about 6:00 into the video.)
In response to Jake Tapper’s questions on CNN’s State of the Union, Trump replied, “I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So I don’t know. I don’t know — did he endorse me, or what’s going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke; I know nothing about white supremacists.”
However, Mr. Trump knew David Duke and the KKK well enough to talk about them back in 2000 when Duke joined the Reform Party.
The GOP and Trump’s primary opponents were quick to condemn David Duke, the KKK and racism in general.
— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) February 28, 2016
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 28, 2016
Folks, a quick word of advice for anyone planning to run for office. When you get the opportunity, you should always denounce racism and hatred. ALWAYS.
By the way, this is how a real conservative leader responds to being endorsed by racists:
In 1984 Ronald Reagan was endorsed by the KKK for reelection. His response: pic.twitter.com/4rIGZMEhns
— Ed Borgato (@EdBorgato) February 28, 2016
Finally, Mr. Trump topped off the string of rhetorical and philosophical failures by deciding to tweet out an infamous quote from Italy’s former fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini. (Yes, that Benito Mussolini.)
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2016
The Mussolini retweet, while perhaps done innocently enough, is the cherry on top of Trump’s recent run of embracing executive power. Whether his commentary on Gorbachev’s “strength,” or his gleeful support of the theft of private property through eminent domain, or his most recent remarks on making it easier to sue people for saying things he doesn’t like, Trump is all about using executive power. Whether or not his supporters want to hear the truth, the simple fact is that Donald Trump is for an aggressively powerful use of presidential powers, and that is the exact opposite of what our nation needs or how our founders envisioned things. In fact, if you could only use one word to describe Donald Trump’s theory of government, based solely on his public statements, the word would be… authoritarian.
Update: Hours later and after a wave of condemnation – Donald Trump has finally denounced the KKK. Kind of…
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com