by W.D. Ehrhart
Where do I begin? Let’s just dive right in:
Donald J. Trump claims he is the same as a veteran of military service because he went to a military academy as a schoolboy, though he avoided military service during the American War in Vietnam by obtaining a medical deferment for bone spurs from a podiatrist who was financially beholden to Trump’s father.
Apparently, he learned a lot about war at the New York Military Academy because he has subsequently claimed that he knows more about war than career generals and admirals. He has considered awarding himself the Purple Heart Medal while musing aloud over the graves of American dead at Arlington National Cemetery, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?”
In his stellar career as a successful businessman, he has presided over the failures of Trump Steaks, GoTrump, Trump Airlines, Trump Vodka, Trump Mortgage, Trump The Game, Trump Magazine, Trump University, Trump Ice, The New Jersey Generals, Tour de Trump, Trump Network, and Trumped!, as well as the bankruptcies of Trump Taj Mahal, Trump’s Castle, Trump Plaza Casinos, Trump Plaza Hotel, Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts, and Trump Entertainment Resorts.
He has openly ridiculed handicapped people, mimicking their speech and movements on television for an international audience. He has bragged about grabbing women by their genitals, and expressed sexual attraction for his own daughter. He has resorted to sex with prostitutes while his (third) wife was nursing his newborn son. He has been found liable for sexual abuse in civil court.
Speaking of “voluptuous” Ivanka (dad’s description), after Trump became president and appointed her a senior advisor, the Chinese government granted her multiple trademarks on everything from sunglasses, handbags, shoes, and jewelry to beauty services and even voting machines.
U.S. military personnel have frequently stayed at Trump Turnberry Resort, at a cost of hundreds of thousands of U.S. taxpayer dollars, though there are multiple less expensive hotels much closer to the Scottish airport U.S. military planes often use.
Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., which Trump retained ownership of until last year, became a magnet for diplomats, lobbyists, and sycophants seeking Trump’s attention and favor.
Trump has called Vladimir Putin a “genius,” praised Putin’s methods of dealing with troublesome journalists by physically silencing them (i.e. by having them murdered), and characterized Putin’s invasion of Ukraine as an effective negotiating tactic.
Of North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un, he has said, “We fell in love.” Of Turkey’s strong-armed president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “It’s my honor” to be his friend. Of Chinese president Xi Jinping, who made it possible for Xi to rule with no term limit, “He’s a friend of mine who’s a very, very good man.”
Trump has spoken just as warmly of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the general who overthrew the only democratically elected government in Egypt’s history; Mohammad bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, who ordered the murder and dismemberment of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi; and Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte, who instigated non-judicial summary execution of anyone suspected of dealing drugs.
He has been impeached not once but twice—one of multiple “firsts” in his presidency—and would have been convicted and removed from office if the Senate had not been controlled by a Republican Majority whose Senate leader denied Barack Obama the constitutional right to appoint Supreme Court nominees only to ramrod through three radical Republican appointees nominated by none other than Donald Trump.
He has steadfastly denied the legal results of the 2020 presidential election, though every credible source has found it to be the most transparent and fair election in U.S. history. He has been recorded asking Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger to “find enough votes” to overturn that state’s election results.
On the very day the election was to be officially certified, he urged his supporters to descend upon the Capitol and “fight like hell” in an attempt to disrupt the peaceful transfer of presidential power for the first time in U.S. history, saying to the insurrectionists, “I’ll be there with you,” and describing them as “peaceful people, these were great people.”
Nevermind the state criminal charges pending for his payment of hush money to the hooker he was screwing while Melania was nursing his latest child, or his federal indictment over mishandling of classified documents, or even this newest indictment stemming from the events of January 6th. The laws he so openly disdains say he’s innocent until proven guilty.
Those last three items aside, have I missed anything? Probably. But this should be enough to raise the question: How in the name of Abraham Lincoln can Donald J. Trump still be a viable candidate for another term as president of the United States, let alone the front runner for the Republican Party? What does this say about the Republican Party, once the party of Lincoln?
Even more damning is the question: What does this say about the American electorate, roughly half of whom continue to support this shameless, lying, narcissistic, ignorant, mean-spirited, sexist, racist, incompetent grifter? Of the people, by the people, and for the people? God help us.
W. D. Ehrhart is a retired Master Teacher of History & English, and author of a Vietnam War memoir trilogy published by McFarland & Co.