America

Donald Trump, Designated Enemy of the State

The Washington Post ran it just above a (news?) article titled “Inside Biden’s Hot Streak, from the Poolside to the Capitol”. Seemingly unsure whether or not they could trust Donald Trump even on this, they went with the headline “FBI Searches Trump safe at Mar-a-Lago Club, Former President Says”. Those final three words are the editors’ hedge: maybe it happened, maybe it didn’t, but no one can deny that he said it.

The Post helpfully explained that Trump has a history of stealing government property from the White House, and has been at loggerheads with the National Archives over presidential records ever since he left office. A previous trawl of Trump plunder yielded “a cocktail napkin, a phone list, charts, slide decks, letters, memos, maps, talking points, a birthday dinner menu, schedules and more”—this, from a confidential source inside the investigation!

The desperation of the American political establishment has come to this: attempting to prosecute a former president for appropriating a White House cocktail napkin. Not even a full-sized linen serviette! They probably don’t have little ‘White House’ monograms in the corner.

Well, Trump always did like monograms.

The Wall Street Journal — a News Corp outlet but editorially independent — reported that “Former President Donald Trump said FBI agents ‘raided’ his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida on Monday” (their scare quotes, not mine). In its full explainer article, the paper exulted that:

Officials can face up to five years in prison for removing classified materials to an unauthorized location. The penalties for breaking other laws related to the removal of official records also include disqualification from holding federal office—including the presidency.

That final claim is patently false: in the somewhat dated nomenclature of the American political system, the Presidency is not technically a federal office, and in any case no federal law can override the Constitution in setting out the eligibility for the Presidency. Nonetheless, the paper was determined to raise the prospect of a Trump ban. The paper also slipped in the facts that Trump had previously called for the prosecution of Hillary Clinton (though apparently it couldn’t find a quote calling for the FBI to raid her home), and that the current FBI director was a Trump appointee. Nothing to see here.

Oh, and of course “the White House didn’t get any advance notice of the FBI search” — an unnamed source said so.

The American political establishment — leading Democrats and Republican never-Trumpers alike — is desperately afraid of a Trump political comeback in 2024. They fabricated a Russia collusion hoax, spent two years on a special counsel investigation, impeached Trump twice, jailed Trump supporters for trespassing at the Capitol, held partisan Congressional hearings to broadcast hearsay evidence against the former President without the opportunity for cross-examination, and weaponised the entire federal law enforcement bureaucracy (and some state ones, too) against this one man. And if they can do it to him, they can do it to anyone.

The United States Constitution outlaws bills of attainder. That’s not in the Bill of Rights, the ten amendments that were added to the Constitution during the ratification process. It’s right up front in Article 1: “No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.” A bill of attainder is a piece of legislation that proscribes an individual person, declaring that person guilty without the need for a trial. Were it not for that clause, the American political establishment would certainly have proposed an attainder for Trump. They are effectively attempting to pass one through a variety of back doors.

Since 2016 I have written for Quadrant as a moonlighting academic, as a friend of Australia, and as a Philistine. Today I am writing as an American. Too many Australians agree with the media class that Donald Trump is beyond the pale. Maybe he is. But this is no longer about Donald Trump. It is about individual liberty. It is about democracy under the rule of law.

Whatever you think of Donald Trump and his presidency — even if you’re a Trump supporter — lay that aside. Tell your friends that this is about freedom. It is about the ability of the political establishment to use the awesome power of the State to crush an individual. America isn’t a bastion of liberty because it has good social policy, or because of its outsized military. It is a bastion of liberty because it places the dignity of the individual above the majesty of the state. Even the dignity of Donald Trump.

Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, wrote in 1777 that “the happiness of America is intimately connected with the happiness of all mankind”; a repeated theme in his letters was that the independence of the United States ensured that liberty would always have an “asylum”. Australia, too, might fulfil that purpose, but for how long could it do so alone? Australians’ liberties, too, are “intimately connected” with those of Americans. We need your support, encouragement, and admonishment to maintain them.

For six years, Australian intellectuals have been admonishing America for tolerating Donald Trump. It’s time for Australians to turn around and admonish America for persecuting him. Your ABC won’t do it for you. It’s up to you to do it for yourself. On behalf of my country, I thank you.

Salvatore Babones is a citizen of the United States

49 thoughts on “Donald Trump, Designated Enemy of the State

  • Botswana O'Hooligan says:

    He might not be the nicest person around but the Presidency isn’t a beauty contest and he put many runs on the board for both the people of the USA and the World. One fondly hopes that justice will prevail and he will ride this out as he has survived the other attempts to prevent him from running for office again.

  • Suburban Boy says:

    Greg Sheridan, when asked about the Mar-a-Lago raid on The Bolt Report, 9 August 2022: “Trump is someone who always lives on the edge of illegality … he’s a bit like the Chinese Communist Party, he lives in that grey zone, you know, flirting right on the edge of legality. … Trump is really a despicable person.”

    Sheridan made no criticism of the raid or of the Democrat officials who were behind it.

  • Homer J says:

    @Suburban Boy: Sheridan is a sworn Trump hater. He is usually a good commentator on foreign affairs but when it comes to Trump he goes into an apocalyptic meltdown. Better to ignore him. Let’s not forget that Sheridan was promoting Biden in 2020. That went well didn’t it?

  • Peter OBrien says:

    Sheridan is becoming increasingly irritating to listen to.

  • 27hugo27 says:

    As Trump said, “They’re not after me, they’re after You”, hit the nail on the head. This is persecution, evil at it’s worst because we all lose if they win. Myself, always been a supporter of the US, every slimy Democrat notwithstanding, and shaking my head in disbelief at what they’ve been able to get away with, even before Trump. Remember the Clintons renting out rooms in the Whitehouse? Or when they left office and trashed furniture, petulantly removing keys from keyboards etc?. And don’t tell me that they didn’t “souvenir” anything that wasn’t bolted down. As for Sheridan, the less said the better and I’ve barely read his column 5 years. He has lost all credibility and craves the comfort of the media approval.

  • Edwina says:

    Why this insanity with Donald?
    My observation is that he is light years above those that criticise him…….in every single way!
    It is THEY that repulse me. Thinking of you Sheridan among many, many others.
    He will go down in history as the greatest President the US has ever had.
    He is a great and wonderful man and we will one day owe him plenty. Shame on those who don’t get this.
    He will single handedly save America and Western Civilisation. Then they may eventually understand.

  • brandee says:

    Salvatore is immensely credible in this exposure of the persistent dishonest attacks on Donald Trump by the US Democrats. “Whatever it takes’ is often the modus operandi of the Left.
    Following this exposure there are 3 comments which have been negative about columnist, commentator, and author Greg Sheridan. Although Sheridan seems quite wrong about Trump he is so right on most other subjects as diverse as military warfare and culture warfare.
    Similarly with another valuable conservative columnist and commentator, Chris Kenny. Once in years past Kenny perceptively saw the deception in the Hindmarsh Island Secret Womens Business and voiced the falsity of the indigenous claim that would stop a bridge and land development. In what now almost seems cognitive dissonance he supports The Voice as a bridge leading to indigenous opportunities and not to a treaty leading to the apartheid break up of Australia. Why does he now only see the positive in The Voice whereas Jacinta Price and Andrew Bolt seem fully aware of the negative.

  • Doubting Thomas says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with all of the above comments. Whatever else President Trump might have been, at least he was a competent President and, if nothing else, by far the best value for money. It’s laughable to think that a man who gave his annual salary to charity would stoop to steal trivia from the White House.
    As for his alleged moral shortcomings, he compares more than favourably with any of the male Kennedys, Bill Clinton and various others of his predecessors. Our own Bogan Bodgie, Bob Hawke, was orders of magnitude worse.

  • Peter Marriott says:

    Thanks Salvatore, good piece. I’ve always been a supporter of Donald Trump and thought he was the right man for the job, of what I saw and still see as getting America back on track. An ulterior motive in this thinking is that for Australia to be in a good position, we need the USA to be in a good position, with a strong free enterprise thriving economy, with big manufacturing and a powerful military….the present incumbent cannot achieve this and in fact none on the left can and only a man like Trump could achieve it on the right I think.
    I draw a veil over appearances, and in fact have always found his hyperbolic sense of humour and satire humorous and harmless….he also knows how to get things done, and well and truly combat the left, doesn’t cower to them or try to appease’em, all good things in my eyes. I hope he gets the nomination and I hope he wins the next election….I’d certainly be voting for him as things stand at present.
    One other comment on his salary when President, I always thought he’d insisted on just $1 a year, having been told he had to, by law, be paid something, after he’d initially asked to be paid no salary at all ?

  • Biggles says:

    The Demorats had the game sewn up in the last election in two ways: the use of Dominion voting machines which allowed extraordinary vote rigging and the voting drop-box racket. The former has since been smothered up, although those who followed events in the immediate aftermath of the election know what it is about. I hope that lawyer Sidney Powell is able to call the offenders to account before the mid-terms, but with such heavy pressure from the corrupt ‘three-letter’ agencies, DOJ, FBI, corrupt judiciaries, etc., I think my hope is vain. As regards drop-box stuffing, see 2000 Mules by Dinesh D’Souza. The film is worth watching if only for an eye-opening account of the possibility of tracking anyone carrying a mobile phone to an accuracy of about 30-45 cm! I would also suggest anti-Trumpers read Trump’s book The Art of the Deal, but then, why should they confuse themselves with facts? As to Sheridan, I gave up reading him long ago; he is a pathetic priest-ridden creature.

  • Salvatore Babones says:

    Thank you everyone for your supportive comments. We really do need your help. Salvatore

  • Geoff Sherrington says:

    Biggles,
    You might find this comforting.
    https://www.reuters.com/world/us/wisconsin-supreme-court-outlaws-ballot-drop-boxes-elections-2022-07-08/
    I have kept my notebook scribbles made as the US election counts were being reported. I remember my incredulity when in the dead of the US night, there were sudden large count changes that were, in my previous experience, deserving of explanation. I have found nobody who has produced an official report on what caused these anomalous jumps in Alabama, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, North Carolina in particular. One is left with a belief that the election was rigged.

  • Salvatore Babones says:

    Geoff,
    “I have found nobody who has produced an official report” … nor will you ever. But as I wrote in my April Philistine column, maybe it’s better that Americans get to see what the political establishment does with untrammeled power:
    https://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2022/04/apart-from-god-only-trump-can-stop-trump/
    I always take the long view.
    Salvatore

  • Katzenjammer says:

    If Trump is called an enemy of the state, then I am that too. Include me among those who abhor extreme corrution and the hatreds of the far left idiots.

  • Stephen says:

    I recall that when the possibility of Trump running for President first arose I was among many who thought that this reality TV star with a “colourful” past surely wasn’t suitable to be President. I watched with slightly shocked amusement as he won the nomination. I was frankly astonished when he was elected. He then went on to be a very effective president which upset his haters terribly. It was never-the-less clear that there were many folk who could never overcome their frankly irrational hatred of being led by a reality TV star no matter how well the country was doing.
    American politics has always been a great spectator sport but the issues raised in this article are concerning because they show that the DOJ and he FBI can no longer be trusted to be unbiased referees of the sport. Root and branch reform of US Federal Law enforcement is a high priority.

  • RB says:

    Like Trump or not.
    There are more problems than his current legal problems.
    87,000 new IRS agents are soon to be ready to deploy against their political enemies.
    A search warrant issued by a Judge who is linked to Epstein.
    The Russian collusion hoax.
    An X foreign secretary used a hammer and chemicals to hide improper transmissions of state secrets.
    A sitting president whose drug-addled son’s videos depict him undertaking crimes is ignored.
    The ” big man” cut.
    The almost certain subsidy of the son’s questionable business practices using government-funded planes etc.
    I am sorry Mr. Babones but your country is in strife. Regrettably, Trump is not the man to calm things down.

  • ianl says:

    Salvatore B

    Do you have a view on possible reactions if Donald Trump is actually arrested and charged following this raid ?

    Any charge does not need to have substance. I’m sure most of us know this.

  • Occidental says:

    When will people agitate for a change in the voting process. It is obvious that state governments or administrations in the US use there power over the machinery of voting to influence outcomes, on both sides of the political spectrum. My fervent hope is that electronic voting for elections once shown to work will evolve naturally into voter participation in legislation. The benefits of that to honest governance could be huge.

  • Peter Marriott says:

    Geoff, my reaction was exactly the same. I have been involved in many elections here, Federal , State and Council and done plenty of scrutineering when the ballots closed, and the counting started, and never ever over the initial 18 hours after ballots closed or over the next week or so with postal ballots has the trend changed dramatically beyond some minor ups and downs. With the US election and those huge swings, all one way in the middle of the night, it was as plain as the nose on your face that there was sculduggery going on, and the vote was being rigged. And then to see the US supreme court under the aggressive leadership of a Democrat appointed justice actually refuse to hear the case, almost beggared belief in my eyes.

  • Trevor Bailey says:

    Thank you for this signal article, Salvatore Babones. That the corrupted apparatus of state is as naked as the Emperor is beyond doubt, yet its hard – so hard – to make people see through the artless eyes of Andersen’s child. I don’t even pretend to understand how this has come to pass. But, like you, all I can do is tell what any sane and rational person can see, and tell it loud and clear. I commend to fellow Australians the Rule of Law Institute, a private organisation whose aim and object is expressed in its title. It’s free, as are we, for the time being.

  • Ceres says:

    The pretext for this raid being ridiculously flimsy. Classified papers which the national archives had full access to at Mar a lago with no hint of non cooperation. No this is unashamedly about the corrupted DOJ and FBI going on a fishing expedition to ‘get’ their mortal enemy and send a message to anyone else who thinks about challenging the left. We will crush you if you oppose.
    Security cameras were ordered off but kept rolling so that could make for very interesting viewing.
    I’ve always liked Trump. His rather brash manner has never worried all the cops, military, firefighter types who seem to have loved him and his family have turned out pretty well with solid principles which says a lot about the man. Most of his policies have been shown to be spot on and now we see the disasters as dementia Joe or Dr Jill, sets about dismantling it all, literally – the Wall.
    As for Sheridan and his ‘despicable ‘ comment which I was expecting, back it up or shut up.

  • Biggles says:

    When, as happened shortly after the BIden election, a Professor of Mathematics from MIT calls the result statistically impossible, you have to incline to the sceptical side. A further statistical statement follows; I only wish I could recall where I got it, but it might be of interest. ‘The average ratio of increase in voters from the last presidential election to increase in population since then is 0.47 for elections from 1960-2016 (+0.58, +0.17, +0.28, +0.97, +0.09, +0.60, +0.81, -0.16, +1.30, -0.82, +0.49, +1.95, +0.70, -0.26, +0.31). In 2020, that ratio was 3.34. This is very unlikely.’

  • ianl says:

    Peter Marriott

    >” … the US supreme court under the aggressive leadership of a Democrat appointed justice actually refuse to hear the case …”

    The US Supreme Court was established within the US Constitution specifically to protect the Constitution. Possible vote irregularity is exactly one of its’ jurisdictional responsibilities. Yet as you say, it refused to exercise that.

    On a much smaller level, we have seen the Australian High Court do crab walks where upholding actual simple statements from the Aus Constitution would have caused the Government embarrassment. Yet the Aus High Court was created within the Constitution to protect that.

    As I noted above, the reaction if Donald Trump is arrested following this raid, irrespective of the substance or not of any charge, could be spectacular.

  • Sindri says:

    Salvatore, I know your heart’s in this, but the current director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, is a Trump appointee with a long history of public service, including being nominated as an assistant AG by the Bush administration. He has not done anything in the past to suggest that he would simply throw his integrity and his oath of office out the window, and no-one has ever suggested he has. If you want to accuse him of blatant corruption, you need to point to some evidence that he has concocted an investigation for blatant political purposes to get Trump. I haven’t seen any such evidence. The search warrant was issued by a Federal judge on the basis of probable cause to investigate, which does not mean proof that a crime has been committed. The hysteria about the judge who issued the warrant is that in private practice in 2008 he acted for Epstein. I mean, really. Lawyers in private practice act from time to time for all sorts of unsavoury people, as is their duty.
    Hilary Clinton was investigated by the FBI under James Comer, who was Obama appointee. Janet Reno, a Clinton appointee as AG and a lifelong democrat, authorised the investigation into both Whitewater and the Paula Jones/ Monica Lewinski scandals, the latter leading to impeachment proceedings against Clinton. I don’t hear anyone here alleging that those investigations were corrupt conspiracies designed to nobble the persons concerned. And of course, Nixon was investigated by officials appointed under his own watch. The mere fact that Trump is being investigated doesn’t mean that the whole thing is a giant conspiracy. And by the way, Trump was given a schedule of what has been removed. It would be interesting to know the contents.

  • Geoff Sherrington says:

    Sindri,
    The FBI search set a precedent retarding the somewhat useful procedure to show respect for the Presidential office. It was degrading and rude, no matter which person was President. Another link in the fragile chain of orderly leadership has been broken in a very public way. Geoff S

  • Sindri says:

    You may be right Geoff. The WSJ, not exactly a great fan of Trump, editorialised to much the same effect. We’ll no doubt see in due course. My point is that, if that’s the case, stupidity rather than conspiracy is to blame (as usual).

  • Brian Boru says:

    SB says, “It is about democracy under the rule of law.”
    .
    I was once a Trump supporter, not that I could say I actually liked him but the alternative was not palatable. Then the January 6 events lost me. In saying that I must note the burning and destruction by Democrats which followed his election.
    .
    If democracy and the rule of law is dead, then maybe it is, in dire circumstances, time to take to the streets but only then.
    .
    Whilst I am not conversant with all the machinations, Sindri above seems to make sense to me.
    .
    All this is an excellent reason for Australia to retain our system of government.

  • mags of Queensland says:

    Brian Boru: Our own electoral system has flaws as well. The preferential system has seen people getting elected only because of preference deals.

    All this blathering by the left media about this issue is just their insane need to report anything remotely about Donald Trump. Their disgraceful collusion with the utterly despicable Democrats to blacken his name with false claims went on for years. They would not accept that the American people had chosen a person who would operate outside the parameters of political parties. A successful business man who knew he could give America what had lacked for a very long time – pride in their nation. Sure, his volatile nature was on show but so were the tremendous benefits he brought to the people. The democrats have spent so much energy vilifying Trump they have lost any interest in the people. America has gone backward so fast it will take another Trump to fix it.

  • Peter Marriott says:

    Well said mags. I agree with you, and my vote would be for bringing back the original Trump & letting him finish the resurrecting job he was deprived of finishing……by 4 stolen years.

  • Brian Boru says:

    mags, much of what you say about the left media I would agree with.
    .
    I don’t agree however that our preferential voting is a flaw in our system. I think that on this you would be in concert with the MSM.

  • BalancedObservation says:

    Brian Boru

    The raid on the surface looks like an abuse of the executive power of government. We’ll see more about that as the issue unfolds further.
    .
    However to say this is an argument for our system of government over that of the US is totally erroneous.
    .
    The executive arm of government in Australia has arguably far fewer limits on its power than the executive arm of government in the US.
    .
    The executive arm of government in the US is elected separately to the legislative arm of government and is directly accountable to the people. It’s also accountable to the legislature. This structure is inherent in their system of “checks and balances”.
    .
    That of course doesn’t always work perfectly as we’ve seen but under the system of government in the US there’s more control over the executive arm of government than there is in Australia.

  • BalancedObservation says:

    The Biden administration said it didn’t know about the search in advance – yet the Attorney General, Merrick Garland, part of that administration signed off on it in advance.
    .
    Worrying.

  • Brian Boru says:

    BO. I like the idea of checks and balances on the executive, the more the better.
    .
    Our executive is directly responsible to parliament which is elected by the people.
    .
    I classify myself as a republican monarchist. I am republican at heart but can tolerate our system because it works without all the kerfuffle that we have seen in the U.S. including but not limited to this latest episode which as you say could be an abuse of power.

  • BalancedObservation says:

    Brian Boru

    “I like the idea of checks and balances on the executive …”.
    .
    Well we actually have fewer of them than the US does.
    .
    We have plenty of “kerfuffle” here. We go through far more PMs than the US goes through presidents. It’s been like a revolving door for PMs in Australia.
    .
    A PM can be removed in Australia by a simple majority in the House of Representatives. It needs a two thirds majority of the Senate to remove a US President.
    .
    It’s my understanding no president in the US has been removed from office in this way.

  • Sindri says:

    @balancedobservation: your remark that the executive arm of government in the US is “also accountable to the legislature” – it isn’t really. The head of government in the US is not accountable to the legislature at all. The only real way to make the head of government accountable to the legislature is the impeachment process, to put it bluntly. The Nixon fiasco, which dragged on for years, could never have happened in our system. This by the way is not a comment suggesting our system is better than the US system..

  • BalancedObservation says:

    Sindri

    Not the case . For example:
    .
    – About 1,200 of civil service political appointees by the executive require Senate approval.
    .

    – The House and the Senate must also approve appointments to the Vice Presidency and any treaty that involves foreign trade.

  • BalancedObservation says:

    The irony is this seeming abuse of power by the executive arm of government and the apparent help from a left media and the ignoring of the opinions of ordinary Americans has arguably helped lead to the Donald Trump phenomenon.
    .
    Trump’s achievement to become president, even without the full support of the Republican establishment, was quite astounding. He virtually came from nowhere.
    .
    And he still has considerable power in the Republican Party partly thanks to the scepticism of the US people of establishment executive power, including old established power within the Republican Party itself.
    .
    From my personal observations Donald Trump appeals less to people here than he does in the US. There’s less scepticism here of establishment and executive power and of the mainstream media than in the US. I’d argue their system of checks and balances reflects that.
    .
    So much so, if the Biden administration is seen to be overplaying its hand on this raid in particular and on actions against Trump in general and if it’s seen to be abusing power it may well give Trump’s return to the presidency much added impetus. He may well astound again.

  • Sindri says:

    BalancedObservation, yes you’re right, but that’s confirmation, not oversight or accountability. Once those appointees are confirmed, there’s no accountability to Congress.

  • BalancedObservation says:

    Sindri

    Sindri they were simply examples I gave before.
    .
    The Constitution of course also grants Congress the sole authority to enact legislation ( the president can’t do that but an Australian PM can) and declare war; the right to confirm or reject many Presidential appointments (as I’ve already said) and substantial investigative powers.
    .
    Congress has the authority to conduct investigations in aid of its legislative function. That authority can extend to investigations for the purpose of deciding whether legislation is appropriate, to information gathering on matters of national importance, to “oversight” of federal departments and executive agencies.
    .
    The main point I set out to make was that the executive arm of government in the US is subjected to far more oversight than it is in Australia.

  • BalancedObservation says:

    Its inherent in the US system of checks and balances.

  • Salvatore Babones says:

    Sorry everyone to be so late in responding!

    STEPHEN: “Root and branch reform of US Federal Law enforcement is a high priority.”
    ==> Actually, I think the only real law enforcement problem is the politicization of the FBI. State and local police aren’t out there playing politics. Of course, there are also problems with the intelligence services.

    IAN: “Do you have a view on possible reactions if Donald Trump is actually arrested and charged following this raid?
    ==> It will just make the whole thing all the more comic. I think they certainly intend to arrest him. They’ve arrested everyone else. But despite all the rhetoric from the American establishment about the risk of “right-wing ethno-nationalist violence,” I don’t think there’s any risk of that. The political process will continue.

    TREVOR: “I commend to fellow Australians the Rule of Law Institute, a private organisation whose aim and object is expressed in its title.”
    ==> Thanks for the tip. I’ve signed up.

    SINDRI: “Salvatore, I know your heart’s in this, but the current director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, is a Trump appointee with a long history of public service.
    ==> Thank you very much for your kind words. But unlike many of my colleagues, I don’t think the US government has been taken over by a bunch of radicals. I think what we’re seeing is the American political establishment seeking to rule by authoritarian means. Respectable people can be authoritarians; in fact, classic authoritarianism is based on rule by the most respectable elements in society, without reference to the will of the ordinary.

    BRIAN: “All this is an excellent reason for Australia to retain our system of government.”
    ==> I freely admit that the Australian system (under Australian conditions) produces better outcomes, but I will never admit that any country is as free and democratic as the United States — even now! 🙂

    Salvatore

  • bearops says:

    It seems the Trump deranged political establishment is not limited to Democrats or even US politicians. John Howards recent disparaging comments of Trump, like those of Sheridan reek, of an elitist club snobbery with scant regard to the considerable achievements of the Trump phenomenon. If these people are the guiding lights of conservatism in this country the future is indeed dim.

  • pmprociv says:

    It disappoints, and worries, me to see such a pile-on of rabid support for Trump in these pages, including this article from The Philistine, whose well-articulated views I usually sympathise with (and even find uplifting and often entertaining). It seems that the above comments of Sindri (about 20 up) and Brian Boru are the most sane ones here. For me, The Shovel sums up the current shemozzle in the USA pretty accurately, albeit satirically: https://www.theshovel.com.au/2022/08/10/the-shovels-view-on-the-fbis-raid-on-donald-trumps-home/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=the_shovel_s_view_on_the_donald_trump_fbi_raid&utm_term=2022-08-14
    Having followed Trump’s career for decades in various media, all I can see is a slimy sleazebag of a dodgy real estate spruiker, who’s made his fortune, originally inherited from an equally dodgy but more hardworking father, by extracting other people’s money then locking it up through serial bankruptcy. If Trump has any genius, it’s for sniffing out opportunities for making personal cash — as he’s brilliantly demonstrated throughout his presidency, and now with his crowdfunding appeals supposedly to fight the Biden administration. Maybe OK for an insanely avaricious private citizen, but not really the sort of person you want leading the “Free World”. And don’t forget his sycophantic meeting with Putin, the proverbial Rooster being mesmerised by the proverbial Fox (were Trump president today, I guess all the US military aid would be going to Russia instead of Ukraine).
    Given the current crop of political leaders and candidates (both in the USA and Australia), it’s easy to see how so many people might be disillusioned with current administrations, and feel driven to protest. But why would any normal, decent, talented person want to expose themselves to such a dysfunctional and destructive political apparatus as had evolved in our democracies? “The system” happens to select weird outliers, often individuals who’d have trouble functioning elsewhere. I can understand folks wanting to rebel by voting for anybody from outside “the system”, and Trump sure has fooled millions by pretending that he’s such a one (helped by their wishful thinking). It’s been said, and is well-known by real estate salesmen, that to do the best for others, you tell them the truth; to do the best for yourself, tell them what they want to hear. Trump’s been telling them all along what they want to hear; even though most is pure bullshit, they just can’t seem to swallow enough of it. It saddens me to see so many Quadrant readers, and even contributors, succumbing to all those rampant conspiracy theories by falling for Trump’s shtick.

  • David Flint says:

    Excellent piece. Judged by what he delivered, Donald Trump was clearly the best President since Ronald Reagan, who was also disliked by much of the mainstream media. The desperate search for a crime, any crime, to charge him with, recalls Beria or the Victorian police in relation to Cardinal Pell.

  • abrogard says:

    We don’t have any intellectuals in Australia.
    We don’t have a government.
    We don’t have a medical establishment.
    We don’t have democracy.
    We don’t have a population that gives a damn.
    We don’t have any media.
    Carry on from there.

  • Alice Thermopolis says:

    Thank you SB.
    My interest is the TIMING of the DOJ/FBI raid on Trump.
    If, as some insist, written on, or wrapped in, the said cocktail napkin, were atomic secrets that allegedly breached the Espionage Act, why did they take so much time to act? Or was this a nasty piece of stage-managed political theatre designed to remove Trump , as many commenters suggest above, in a week when the Democrat’s “inflation” etc. bill finally made it into law?
    I may be wrong, but perhaps the ALP duplicated the strategy this week with its attack on a past PM for “crimes and/or misdemeanors”, supported by another past Liberal PM, and the ABC in full fright mode.

  • Sindri says:

    Trump has demonstrated that he is utterly unfit to be President in a number of ways, but an early indication in 2015 was particularly telling. He said of John McCain, “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” This, from a man who got four draft deferments and has never served, about a man who was a POW for nearly six years, in solitary for two, who was tortured repeatedly and so badly that he was left with permanent disabilities, and who for good measure, in the midst of his torment, rejected an offer of release cynically made by the North Vietnamese because his father was a high official. They hoped that he would destroy his own reputation by accepting. Extraordinary heroism. Trump’s jeering remark was not just an outburst under provocation and in the heat of battle. He never retracted it or apologised to McCain for it. Commonsense tells you that it reflects not just a grotesque, narcissistic selfishness, but a complete absence of decency or honour, and that sense of respect that the war service of someone in McCain’s position ought to inspire in any decent person. Like honesty, honour in little things means honour in big things, and, true to that principle, Trump has repeatedly shown himself before and since to be both dishonest and dishonourable.

  • Sindri says:

    And I agree with pmprociv’s remarks about Salvatore’s columns, which I also enjoy (even if not always agreeing with them!)

  • pmprociv says:

    Sindri’s above outline of Trump’s attack on John Cain says more than enough about the character we’re dealing with here. If anyone is interested how Trump has managed to be so “successful”, i.e. stay out of jail for so long, here’s what I’d call a fair, objective, brief account: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/08/donald-j-trump-guide-getting-away-anything/671165/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=atlantic-daily-newsletter&utm_content=20220818&utm_term=The%20Atlantic%20Daily
    It’s demoralising, and stuns credulity, to see how much support for Trump remains within the Republican Party, but obviously individual political survival, rather than national integrity, is the driving factor. One can only hope that the bulk of the US population retains a healthy degree of sanity.

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