Trump claims to be a pre-eminently successful businessman. He boasts that he knows how to cut a deal. However, Donald Trump is no part of the rags-to-riches story of hard-working, risk-taking, blood, sweat and tears. The truth is that Donald Trump, from birth, was already a card-carrying member of ‘The Millionaires Club’.
Trump proceeded to gamble his way through life, facing down numerous law suits (settling claims out of court to avoid full disclosure of the truth). Trump’s business record includes bankruptcy and allegations of breath-taking levels of tax avoidance and fraud. He is adept at keeping the truth about his operations well-hidden while bragging about the fantasy.
Trump claims to be a family man. Mafia-style he strengthens his hand by placing as many family members as he can into positions of power. One has to wonder, ‘Is this even legal’? Donald Trump, a trumped-up and paper-thin image, is the personification of the Disney-esque version of the American Dream. A dream that is rapidly turning into a dystopia.
It should be abundantly clear to all by now that the contradictory statements and false promises of Donald Trump’s election campaign are all just part of his public persona. As with the eponymous Duck, it’s not always easy to make out just what is being said, but it is hard to ignore the quacking.
The Oxford English Dictionary announces ‘post-truth’ as the word of the year for 2016. This ugly word characterises the contemporary times in which we live as an era in which there is little belief even in the very concept of ‘telling the truth’. Truth is the victim of the culture of greed. We are so sophisticated as to fully appreciate how very often we are quite blatantly and obviously lied to. We shrug it off, after all, as we well know, we live in a post-truth world now, don’t we.
Our own Foreign Minister, Boris Johnson, plays the role of a trigger-happy, jovial fool. He shoots from the hip, seemingly often ill-prepared, uninformed, and caught off-guard on camera. This masquerade of innocence is all part of the strategy. In a post-truth world it is spin, rather than sincerity, that counts. Goofs, gaffes and obnoxious remarks are all attention-seeking, headline-grabbing achievements.
Prime Minister Theresa May has caught on to this notion of obliqueness of intent, though she doesn’t exactly model herself on either Daffy-Donald or Bozo-Boris. May uses self-serving secrecy as the primary part of her governing strategy. She tells parliament and the electorate that they have no right to know what she is up to. She will inform them when she is good and ready.
May has Ministers advising on Brexit who contradict one another. Parliament is informed only that it is ultimately she herself who will decide. Never elected into the office she now holds, May acts as if she is totally unconstrained by any election manifesto commitments – commitments that might otherwise legitimise the decisions of a government. Like Trump, May reserves the right to chop and change according to which way she feels the wind is blowing.
The shock of the US Presidential election is that language so many were utterly repulsed by was no impediment to Trump’s success. The white supremacists have been emboldened by Trump’s successful campaign. They are no longer afraid or ashamed to express in public their alt-right views, or to chant ‘Hail Trump’, with its unmistakably worrisome echoes of ‘Heil Hitler’.
Trump’s statements appear to be continuously watered down and rolled back, but they remain firmly in place as an integral part of his arsenal. The challenge to the UK government to place the former UKIP leader, and Trump ally, Nigel Farage, in Washington as UK Ambassador, is clearly all part of the fun. Trump is teasing and testing the British Prime Minister to see how far her government is prepared to go to appease his will. It is no lack of understanding of protocol that drives Trump’s remarks. It is a deliberate effort to dig around for the sheer sport of it, bullying his opponents and amusing his supporters in order to achieve ever-greater demagogic power. It is one more component of the divisive and bullying tactics which demonstrate a total lack of moral self-restraint.
Donald Trump does not represent a rejection of establishment-thinking, though voters may have thought so when they elected him into office. Trump is the human embodiment of the establishment’s own neoliberal doctrine of pure, unadulterated greed. America is coming face to face with its own Disney-esque creation in the form of ‘The Donald’. It all makes sense now doesn’t it!