Defying the Odds: Trump’s Bronx Speech and Its Impact

E. Rowell:  The author’s friend looks at Trump the way elitists in general do.  Trump refuses to be politically correct and bow to the gods of DEI, therefore he is beyond the pale-someone no one need even listen to let alone vote for as President.  While praising Trump, the author points out that Trump is not perfect.  One very serious problem glossed over by the author is that he never repealed Obama’s executive order that created the DEI program now embedded in every single federal agency and most alarmingly, into the FBI and CIA.  When Trump issued his executive order to cancel DEI late in his presidency it was already too late.  DEI now RUNS the US government agencies and is totally embedded in each and every office and office holder of the deep state.  His appointing Gina Haspel to lead the CIA made a devastating problem worse.*

The man I heard in the Bronx bears scant resemblance to the bumbling yet dangerous ogre that the world has fabricated around the name Trump.

By Roger Kimball, AMERICAN GREATNESS    26 May 2024

Donald Trump’s Bronx rally on Thursday was memorable not only for its display of political virility in a foreign—i.e., Democrat—clime but also for the rhetorical excellence of the speech that Trump, in his usual circuitous manner, delivered.

Tweeting (or X-ing) the column I wrote about the event, I dilated on the suppleness of Trump’s speeches. “I know this sounds odd,” I wrote,

but here goes: Donald Trump has delivered some of the very best political speeches in American history.  We’re not supposed to notice that because, well, Trump.  But it is true.  Go back and listen to his 2017 speech in Warsaw.  It is a masterpiece.  Ditto his 2020 speech at Mount Rushmore. Although delivered in a different register, his speech yesterday in The Bronx will, I predict, turn out to be one of the most significant of the 2024 campaign.  Among other things, it will be seen to mark the moment when Trump’s gathering momentum became unstoppable.

Time will tell whether I am right about that concluding observation. While we wait, I thought I would share some reactions to my column—or, rather, to a misreading of something I said in response to a reader. I was asked “Do we know who writes [Trump’s speeches]?” I replied,  “Well, I do!” meaning I, like many people, know who writes Trump’s speeches, not that I write them myself.

A London-based friend whom I have not seen in a while wrote me an anguished, imploring note:  “Please tell me it isn’t true that you are writing Trump’s speeches. Surely it wasn’t you who advised him to say that immigrants were poisoning the blood of America? Straight out of the Mein Kampf playbook.”

 

Nope, not I. I am pretty sure the remark in question  was fermented and mis en bouteille by Trump himself.  Tout le monde—at least, the world of the elite media—was appalled by the remark just as they had been appalled by Trump’s calling shithole countries like Haiti “shithole countries,” his referring to Nikki Haley as “bird brain,” or many similar exercises in invective. In my view, none of Trump’s remarks bear any similarity to Mein Kampf, nor do I think he is an “authoritarian figure.”  My friend did say that “I wasn’t implying that Trump was actually a Hitler figure, but that his use of those words showed a staggering ignorance of their historical associations. I don’t see him as a fascist but as an ignoramus.” From “Hitler” to “ignoramus” is a slight upgrade, I suppose,  but not exactly the cat’s meow.

My friend and I went back and forth on Trump. In the course of the exchange, she went from comparing him to Hitler to saying that “most alarmingly he seems to be Putin’s useful idiot.” To that charge, I responded that “I know some people say that. I do note that Putin did not invade Ukraine during Trump’s presidency.  And I doubt Putin regarded Trump’s  destruction of hundreds of Russian troops in Syria in 2018 as a gesture of friendship, but who knows?”

My friend then allowed that “Putin annexed Crimea long before he went for the full invasion. What is most alarming is that Trump seems to feel he has Putin under his influence when it is really the other way around.”

I replied: “Right, 2014, back during Trump’s first term—oh, wait, Trump wasn’t POTUS yet.”

It was that other guy [I continued], the guy who sent blankets to Ukraine to show US support. In another demonstration of his subservience to Putin, Trump sent Javelin missiles instead of blankets.

In my view, the “Trump-is-Putin’s-puppet” meme is right out the Hillary “reset button” Clinton playbook, aided and abetted by such upstanding patriots as James Comey, Robert Mueller, Andrew Weismann, and Stefan Halper, with supporting roles for Christopher Steele, James Clapper, and John Brennan, not to mention the credulous left-wing media in this country.

My friend then offered this: “But look at his most recent claim that he could get Putin to release the US journalist held by Moscow immediately when he came to power, which was instantly (and humiliatingly) denied by the Kremlin.”  Quoth I:

I don’t quite see that his claim about being able to arrange for the release of the WSJ reporter was rebuffed means that he is “Putin’s useful idiot.” . . . I would also note that it is one thing for the Kremlin to respond to the statement of someone who, though famous, is a private citizen, and something else again for them to respond to someone who is the sitting President.  If Trump is reelected, I would not be surprised if that reporter is released, and I would expect it to be done sotto voce so that most people would not know whether it was done post hoc or propter hoc.

We started with Hitler, moved on to Putin, and then the conversation got personal. “My whole point,” my friend wrote, “is that [Trump] is seriously stupid and delusional. Not the man to be holding the most powerful office in the free world at the most dangerous historical moment since the end of the Cold War.”

To which I replied at some length:

Well, “seriously stupid and delusional” are heavy charges!  They prompt a few questions, though. Is Trump any “stupider and delusional” than Joe Biden? (A separate but nonetheless pertinent question: is Trump any more dangerous and destructive than was Barack Obama?)

I think we can agree that Trump is not an intellectual.  All things considered, though, I am not so sure that is a liability in a political leader.

Back in 2015-2016, I wrote probably a score of columns making fun of Donald Trump. He is a man that, in some ways, cries out for caricature.  I was at that time backing Ted Cruz. Then Cruz dropped out and it was Trump or Hillary.  To me, that was an easy choice.  I regarded Hillary as the most corrupt serious candidate for President in history (I did not then know about Biden’s unfathomable corruption).  So I cast my lot, somewhat reluctantly at first, in with Trump.  But the more I listened to him, the more I was impressed with what he said: about the inner cities, energy, regulation, the border, the media, foreign affairs.  True, he was not a master of the honeyed phrase, but I agreed with him about many things.

Then there was his actual performance.  He actually accomplished almost everything he promised to do (the great exception was getting rid of Obamacare: John McCain, in his last fit of pique, prevented that).

Trump pushed through a huge tax cut that benefitted the majority of taxpayers and increased federal revenue by billions.  He exploited our energy resources and made America energy independent.  He drastically curtailed illegal immigration.  He drastically reduced the regulatory burden on businesses. Until Covid hit, the economy boomed. Inflation and unemployment were low—minority unemployment was the lowest on record—and wages, especially wages at the lower end of the scale, soared.

Trump managed to get three Supreme Court Justices and hundreds of federal judges approved.  He challenged the destructive ideology of  critical race theory and what’s come to be called DEI.  In foreign affairs, he moved our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, something that had been promised since the time of Bill Clinton but which was never done. He brought into being the Abraham Accords, a world historical achievement, in my opinion, which should have won him the Nobel Peace Prize.  He destroyed ISIS.  He rebuilt the US military infrastructure. And he did all this, remember, to the steady drum beat of a hostile media and deep state apparatus that kept screaming about (we know now) illusionary Russian collusion, etc.

Trump’s two biggest liabilities, in my view, were incontinent spending and poor personnel choices.  I am afraid that he has not learned to forgo the former.  About the latter, though, he seems to have made great strides.  If he is elected we won’t see anymore Rex Tillersons or Jim Mattises.  Whether he will be able to navigate the perilous, weed- and snake-infested waters of The Swamp is another question.  I have recommended he bypass Washington altogether, beginning with holding his inauguration elsewhere.  I don’t think he will, though, and I think it is an open question whether he can triumph over the entrenched elite that actually governs the country.

But the bottom line, for me, is that Trump was, despite the monolithic hostility of the establishment, an extraordinarily successful president.  Was that the work of a “seriously stupid and delusional” figure?  I don’t think so, but opinions, I’ve noticed, vary.

Having begun with Hitler and moving on to Putin, we ended with Mussolini. My friend wrote that

Over here we are appalled by the choice between Biden who is certainly dangerously incompetent and Trump who looks to Europeans like Mussolini. We feel we are much closer to global threats than Americans and find Trump’s isolationism terrifying. I really hoped that Biden would stand aside. I still think it possible for him to find a VP who would make an acceptable replacement if and when he becomes totally incapable. It is difficult to convey just how much panic there is here over the state of US politics

As of my sitting down to write this, I had the last word. “I confess,” I responded,

that I don’t see the Trump as Mussolini (or Hitler) meme. We saw what he was like as president and, leaving aside the media hysteria, I would argue that there were no fascist signposts.

I also don’t think that “America First” is isolationist; rather, it is an attitude that urges caution about foreign adventurism.  It has been a theme in one major current of American policy since George Washington’s Farewell Address, which bears re-reading.

The subject of “global threats” is a large one.  I myself am much more worried about Xi than Putin, but I understand that opinions on the threat Putin poses differ. I think it is still possible that Biden will be pushed aside.  It may well be that the June debate is a sort of audition for his retirement foisted on him by his puppet masters. If, as is eminently possible, he blows it, the calls for him  to withdraw may become overwhelming.  The party is in a jam, though, because it will be very difficult for them to replace Kamala Harris and were she the candidate Trump would win in a landslide.  I am coming to think that he might well win in a landslide anyway, but we’re still six months out and, as Harold Wilson famously observed, a week is a long time in politics.

We’ve come a long way from the rally in the Bronx. But Trump’s peroration is still ringing in my ears: “It doesn’t matter whether you are black or brown or white, we are all Americans. We all want better opportunity—and I’m not just going to promise it, I’m going to deliver it, as I did against all odds for four straight years.”

The man I heard in the Bronx bears scant resemblance to the bumbling yet dangerous ogre that the world has fabricated around the name Trump.  But the very fact that he has been so effectively demonized should give us pause.  If nothing else, it shows what a large task awaits us all.

*Big Intel:  How the CIA and FBI Went From Cold War Heroes to Deep State Villains, By J. Michael Waller, Chapter 31

May 27, 2024 | 1 Comment »

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  1. The irony of the Democrats and their supporters calling Trump and Republicans “Nazis” is that the closest thing this nation has ever had to Nazis is today’s Democrat Party.