Before my first collection of instances of Trump Derangement Syndrome had been published (Quadrant, September 2018) it had already been overtaken by a mass of new material, so virulent and widespread as to give the impression that the US and the Western world are in a kind of low-grade civil war.
The Trump Presidency has exposed deep and hitherto unsuspected levels of corruption, perhaps mere self-seeking, perhaps part of a larger, more treasonous agenda, in the “higher” Washington political class, including much of the media and parts of the Department of Justice and the FBI. Watching the current US political news brings to mind a passage in C.S. Lewis’s 1945 novel That Hideous Strength: “Here was a world of plot within plot, crossing and double-crossing, of lies and graft and stabbing in the back … and a contemptuous guffaw for the fool who lost the game.”
This essay appears in October’s Quadrant.
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Trump, for all his faults, appears to be standing against this, ripping up the established rules, speaking plain and simple truths—as he promised, draining the swamp—which accounts for some of the frenzied attacks on him. But there is more to it. Trump Derangement Syndrome appears in people who have no stake in the power game and when it is even contrary to their own interests.
It is easy to believe that a large number of Trump’s enemies, Republicans as well as Democrats, for all the loud professions of patriotism, are really opposed to him because they want his anti-Left program to fail. Their greatest and most permanent and decisive victory would be to have Trump impeached, notwithstanding the fact that more than two years of frantic searching has failed to discover any grounds for impeachment.
The activities of Left-fascist thugs, attempting to physically attack and silence Trump supporters and conservatives in general, are coming to bear a chilling resemblance to the political climate in the latter days of the Weimar Republic. This is emphatically not because the Sydney Morning Herald in October 2016 claimed that “Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler Have More in Common than Slogans”; rather, it is the institutionalisation and acceptance of violence and lies on the Left as an acceptable method of ideology making.
As Daryl McCann has pointed out (Quadrant, September 2018), Madeline Albright has called Trump, on no evidence whatsoever, “the first anti-democratic president in modern history”. This is not only false, but something like the reverse of truth. However, when it comes to the establishment attacking Trump, reason, logic and obvious facts cut no ice. A case could be made that he is hated, feared and despised by the media and other privileged denizens of academia, the “arts” and the political class, simply because he is democratic. He has better democratic credentials than all but a handful of presidents, and has ushered in an economic boom which has been of the greatest benefit to low-income-earners. This ignoring of fact and evidence for the sake of ideologically-based abuse seems to me to be itself a great threat to democracy and, in the long run, perhaps even to civilisation.
It appears to grow from overwhelming rage and fear on the part of the Left at seeing its overarching project for the socialist/communist transformation—or, for some, the destruction—of America and the West radically and effectively opposed for the first time since the Reagan Presidency. The fact that with the Obama Presidency it had looked as if the Left’s project was receiving a mighty boost towards total victory must have made Trump’s victory even more unbearable.
Writing in the Washington Post, the late Charles Krauthammer, a psychiatrist by training, originally named the condition of Bush Derangement Syndrome—“the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency—nay—the very existence of George W. Bush”. It has morphed into the more virulent and even more irrational Trump Derangement Syndrome.
Many of those suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome allow hatred of Trump to overcome their own interests, as well as any values of decent behaviour. Though obviously not part of the Left, the late unsuccessful presidential candidate Senator John McCain’s family’s use of his memorial service to attack and abuse President Trump showed how far the destruction of the ordinary civilities of political life had gone.
One member after another of Washington’s swamp elite used the occasion to abuse President Trump. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews even referred to McCain’s funeral as “a statement of resistance”. He was joined on “AM Joy” by a 2008 senior campaign adviser for McCain, Steve Schmidt, who went further, stating, “there was an inherent political meaning in this funeral. And it was a fundamental rebuke to the vileness, the corruption the self-centredness, the selfishness, the cruelty that we see emanate from the Oval Office in the form of President Donald J. Trump every day.”
What “vileness” and “cruelty”, exactly? Where is a single instance of it? Is it as vile as President Clinton’s various sexual predations? I do not recall that the funeral of a major public figure—or anyone else—has ever been used this way before.
The hatred of Trump, the virtually erotic frenzy to destroy him, has become so overwhelming in some quarters that it eclipses what should be the bipartisan interests of America, including its international interests. The last time anything remotely comparable happened, Indo-China was sold into slavery. The skull-pyramids of Cambodia and the tropical gulags of Vietnam and Laos were among the results.
For all the decrying of Trump, something that continually gets missed is how he got to the Oval Office at all. Voters made it clear all during his campaign—and have done so since—that they were sick of the status quo, which maddened the elites. A Florida woman accepted a $130,000 loss on the sale of a $495,000 house rather than sell it to a Trump supporter. Is that sane?
I mentioned in September that Congresswoman Maxine Waters’s criminal demand that: “If you see anybody from the Cabinet in a restaurant, at a department store, at a gasoline station … create a crowd … and tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.” This is something new in modern American politics, a legislator demanding that political debate be replaced by violent intimidation. I am not sure why she has not been jailed for this incitement to violence against public officials, but anyway her words are being followed.
Waters, incidentally, suggested in a church sermon that she was sent by God to stop Trump, claiming, “When God sends you to do something, you just do it.” Imagine the outcry if this claim of divine sanction had been made by a conservative politician. One would hope that in any democratic polity, the career of any politician, of whatever political persuasion, who made such a claim would thereafter be short.
The latest Trump administration official to discover that dining out is perilous nowadays, following Waters’s incitement, is Attorney-General Jeff Sessions, who went to a restaurant. He was not harassed during the meal, but the restaurant at which he ate was forced to shut down its social media accounts after his visit ended with a photograph. A picture of Sessions and the son of owner Rolando Laurenzo brought the restaurant death threats. Laurenzo actually later issued an apology.
A fan of the band Social Distortion went to a recent show in Sacramento and says that the lead singer attacked and beat him because he was a supporter of President Trump. Tim Hildebrand, who describes himself as a “Republican farmer”, says the singer, fifty-six-year-old Mike Ness, began abusing Trump—and America—during the band’s July 15 show at Ace of Spades.
Hildebrand took offence, according to CBS Local Sacramento. He said, “I stood pretty much with my silent protest with my middle finger up for the next two songs.”
Ness didn’t like that. In a video, you can see him motion Hildebrand to the stage, where the singer spits in his face. Hildebrand says the two were yelling at each other when Ness lunged towards him.
He said he told Ness, “I pretty much said I paid for your music, not your politics.” Then Ness “takes his guitar off, jumps off the stage and proceeds to punch me multiple times in the head”, Hildebrand said.
Afterwards, the lifelong Social Distortion fan says he was dragged out of the venue, but has filed a police report and plans to press charges. “Someone that has the status that he does shouldn’t get away with assaulting someone.”
Hildebrand says he was badly injured in the attack, suffering two black eyes, a split lip, a concussion, and some loose teeth. And he says other fans of the band took part, too. “I wasn’t able to defend myself because people in the crowd were holding me back.”
Conservative Turning Point USA head Charlie Kirk, whose stated mission is “to educate students about true free market values”, and (black) communications director Candace Owens were sitting at a restaurant in Philadelphia when members of the leftist activist group Antifa spotted them through the window.
Within minutes, Kirk told the Daily Wire, twenty to thirty of these mobilised, and proceeded to harass Kirk and Owens inside the restaurant before attacking them outside. Police (Black and Hispanic, as it happens) were required to separate the mob from Kirk and Owens. In an ironic reversal of stereotyping, their leftist fascist attackers were white. One commentator remarked, “I haven’t seen so many white Democrats kick a black woman out of a diner since the 1950s.”
Democrat Senator Cory Booker urged all Democrats to oppose President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, saying anyone who supports him is “complicit in the evil”. Anti-Trump celebrity Rosie O’Donnell, along with a number of Broadway performers, protested against President Trump outside the White House. They bused into Washington from New York City to perform musical numbers, hoping they would be so loud that it would disrupt the President’s sleep—but they had failed to note that President Trump was in New Jersey at the time.
Wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap in Seattle can be dangerous. Ashton Hess, an Illinois teenager who was vacationing with his family in Seattle recently, has released a video showing how he was harassed for wearing one of the trademark red caps worn by Trump supporters. According to Fox News, Hess said he was with his family waiting for a ride outside the Starbucks Reserve Roastery when the incident occurred.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo claimed: “They [Trump’s people] are on a Jihad to deport as many people as they can who they believe are not in the United States legally.” Robert Spencer commented:
What’s that? They’re on an interior spiritual struggle to deport people? The irony here is that if confronted about Islamic jihad, Cuomo would doubtless say that it’s a beautiful thing, a spiritual struggle, and that we all must avoid “Islamophobia”. But here he uses “jihad” in a way that shows that he thinks of it in negative terms. Will the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations reprimand him, or give him a pass because he has been useful to them?
Mary Anastasia O’Grady claimed in the Australian on July 24: “Americans are rightly upset over Donald Trump’s obsequiousness towards Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. The KGB agent heads a gangster government and Trump should have stood up to him.” Several points can be made about these two sentences. “Americans are rightly upset”? How many Americans? Two? Three hundred million? And who counted them? The adjective rightly is blatant editorialising.
The talks between Putin and Trump were confidential and no reporter knows their substance. It is no more than ordinary diplomacy for the leaders of the major powers to talk to one another. Can one imagine the outcry, the warnings of imminent nuclear apocalypse, if Trump had not met Putin?
And note the reverse Cold War rhetoric, with the Left attacking a President for being soft on Russia, despite the fact that Trump has greatly strengthened US defence/space spending, pushed for greater NATO defence spending, strengthened Poland and the Baltic states, and is trying to wean Western Europe from its dependence on Russian oil and gas. President Obama, who actually did appease Russia, was never criticised by the Left and won a Nobel Peace Prize. Would a responsible paper publish such crass, amateurish political blathering about any other Western political leader?
In 2016 the former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers predicted that if Donald Trump were elected, there would be a protracted recession within eighteen months. Heeding its experts, a month before the election, the Washington Post ran an editorial with the headline, “A President Trump could destroy the world economy”. Steve Rattner, a Democratic financier and former head of the National Economic Council, warned, “If the unlikely event happens and Trump wins, you will see a market crash of historic proportions.”
When Trump’s electoral victory became apparent, Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman warned that the world was “very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight”. In fact, since the election of Trump, America has achieved solid and uninterrupted economic growth. Unemployment, and particularly black unemployment, is lower than it has been for many years. Home ownership is up. The stock market continues to climb. New industries have started and old ones have been revived. Trump’s America is prospering.