November 29, 2016

DAVIES | We Need to Talk About Trump (As if We Haven’t Already)

Print More

Donald Trump, like Mobutu Sese Seko’s illegitimate child, is already showing his nepotistic tendencies. Unprecedented is an understatement. Trump’s transition team reportedly enquired about obtaining security clearances for his children, the very people who would be controlling his “blind trust.” Ivanka Trump sat in on her father’s meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan. Trump, *ahem*, reportedly closed their meeting by asking his guest if he could help him understand just quite why “the nuclear” is so bad.

Jared Kushner, a newspaper proprietor, could bring peace to the Middle East, according to Trump. That is despite members of his family coming close to disowning, for what appears to have been at least the second time, him for backing Trump’s anti-Semitic tweets. Still, his Wikipedia page now states him to be a “political operative.” No one has ever sat down as a guest at a dinner table and asked their host what they do, only to have them reply, “Why, didn’t you know? I’m a political operative.”

Down to nominations for positions that many believe will hold little power in a Trump administration, like Ambassador to the U.N., we see glimpses of the megalomaniacal machinations of this man. Trump has nominated South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (R-S.C.) to that post, in a seeming ploy to bind the wounds of division within the Republican Party. Haley has no foreign policy qualifications or experience.

If Haley were confirmed to that position, South Carolina’s current lieutenant governor, Henry McMaster, an early Trump endorser, would slide right into the governor’s mansion. It seems odd that Trump would nominate Haley to such an important post considering her paucity of experience. Maybe not so odd when put in the context of Trump trying to reward his faithful. McMaster’s ascension would give Trump a zealous ally in state government. This, in conjunction with his selection of Reince Priebus for White House chief, seems to be a continuation of Trump’s attempt to smother the Republican Party.

Trump’s nepotism will be greatly intensified by his lack of preparation and the disgust he inspires among much of the conservative foreign policy elite. One is almost required to staff vital agency chairs with one’s own progeny when one has repulsed most of the Republican Washington swamp-dwellers.

Equally worryingly, Trump continues to sideline the press, breaking long observed precedents for that oh-so-important steak dinner. With Breitbart looking set to morph into a Trumpian Pravda, Trump’s media strategy will only make it more difficult for Americans to hold his administration accountable. The Donald doesn’t even try to justify his infringements through, say, arguments about his family’s privacy. No, among Trump’s most substantive critiques of the media has been that “they don’t know how to write good,” a statement after which an aide interjected, “at least he speaks good.” I’m not joking.

The latest piece of Trump antics that seems most concerning is his persistent questioning of the election results. Previously he stated that he would have won the popular vote if that had been what mattered. Now he is stating that he did win the popular vote once one subtracts the millions of illegal votes. This is unsubstantiated, untrue and dangerous. Will Little Donald’s tight-shut eyes and tantrums and arguments save us at the eleventh hour when “millions of illegal nuclear weapons are pouring out of Russian borders and coming to America”?

Donald Trump is clearly a man frustrated with the details of means. Don’t talk to a woman, just grab what you want, you’re a star. Don’t construct buildings, just license your name out like a washed up country singer bringing out a new line of Walmart clothing. America must not let its president’s immaturity steer us away from questioning his actions. If “millions” of votes can be arbitrarily declared “illegal” by a soon-to-be-sitting president, and the American people — not the American intelligentsia, not the American coasts — barely stirs, like an opiate addict in a trailer park, it only becomes more likely that this country will rue the day it did not do more to stop what may happen.

Alex Davies is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at ajd253@cornell.edu. Have I Got News For You? appears alternate Tuesdays this semester.