Thu | Oct 29, 2020

Mark Wignall | An autocratic Trump fully unleashed

Published:Wednesday | June 20, 2018 | 12:00 AM

'Breathes there the man with soul so dead,' is the first line in the poem by 19th-century poet Sir Walter Scott, and it is quite fitting as a descriptor of President Trump, his obvious personality abnormalities, and the rogues gallery of a cabinet he has surrounded himself with.

If there is something charitable that one would wish to say about Donald Trump, it would be that his vile governance and the cruelty of his policies are not exactly surprises that he sprung on an unsuspecting nation. He is what he pushed on the campaign trail; an incurious, unlearned and dangerously chaotic man, filled with rage and hate of immigrants, especially those with brown skins.

And now, 17 months into his presidency, the worst possible outcome of his pushback on immigration has been manifested in his administration snatching young children from central American mothers and fathers fleeing assorted dangers in their homeland and placing them in internment camps, while the adults are hauled before the courts.

It has been a process mired in confusion, and one can only imagine the horrors that these young children must be going through as they wail uncontrollably for Mama and Papa, especially when there is no guarantee that there will be any chance of the families being reunited.

In the first few months of his presidency, many saw him as a global laughing stock. That has now radically changed. Now he is seen as a global danger, threatening allies of the USA, destabilising tried and tested alliances, lending his anger to undermining the EU, while making no pretences of his admiration for brutal strongmen like Duterte in the Philippines, el Sisi of Egypt, Erdogan of Turkey, Kim Jong-Un of North Korea and his bosom buddy, Vladimir Putin of Russia.

Many are asking, how did America devolve into this, to the point that matters of embarrassment in US governance that Americans thought were buried way back in the sordid past, have once again reared their ugly heads.




Part of the answer may be found in a recent poll carried out by Pew Research Center. The poll, which surveyed more than 5,000 adults, asked those involved to correctly identify five factual statements and five opinionated statements. Only 26 per cent of those surveyed correctly identified all five factual statements. They were slightly better at identifying opinion, with 35 per cent identifying all five correctly.

All of those findings pale into insignificance when placed alongside the troubling inhumanity of the Trump and Sessions' doctrine, carefully refined by Trump's special adviser and propagandist speech writer Stephen Miller, a man seemingly in love with, and closeted in, a deep and foreboding version of the new nativist United States.

Jamaicans as a bloc have never cited gang violence as a reason for seeking asylum in the USA. We simply emigrate, with a visa in hand, to seek better for our family and ourselves.

Many of the bridges where potential asylum seekers from Central American countries would normally use to enter at the US southern border have been, according to reports, deliberately blocked to force those fleeing mass violence in their countries to enter illegally and thus automatically subject to arrest and detention and the snatching away of their kids, like a hog farmer would do at close to breeding time.

With seemingly no attack of conscience, neither the president, his wife, the homeland secretary or Jeff Sessions has seen it fit to visit these places to examine at first hand, the manifestations of their cruel policy.

But, again, why should they? The Statue of Liberty has long been neutered under the Trump Doctrine.