Once again America was lowered to the basement of human depravity.
While most of the nation spent days leading up to Thanksgiving making pies and perhaps polishing some silverware Donald Trump was rubbing shoulders with Nick Fuentes, a Nazi sympathizer, and holocaust denier. When not chatting it up at his Florida home with someone who has equated 6 million exterminated Jews with burned cookies in the oven, Trump was breaking bread with another dinner guest, Kanye West, who is an acknowledged antisemite.
It does not take this little site on the internet to remind readers that President Jimmy Carter built homes in his post-White House years. Or that his fellow officeholder, George Bush, takes an empty canvas and creates painted art, while Bill Clinton focuses on world problems, and Barack Obama works to create his presidential center as an engine for economic gain on the South Side of Chicago. All that is in sharp contrast to Trump intentionally stirring the vilest stew of violence, hatred, and bigotry that was unleashed in the 20th century.
When I heard the news over the holiday weekend, I wish able to say I was stunned. Or surprised. I wish there was a reaction other than feeling, well, this is the latest bizarre and tragic consequence of elevating Trump in our political culture. The thought that came to mind upon hearing the NPR news report was recalling a book published this summer that reported about Trump’s desire to have generals like the ones who had answered to Adolf Hitler. The following quote comes from “The Divider: Trump in the White House,” by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser.
“Why can’t you be like the German generals?” Mr. Trump told John Kelly, his chief of staff, preceding the question with an obscenity….”
I pondered the impact of Trump’s dinner last week on the nation. What it says about our citizenry where there is still a very sizable and energized segment who would follow him off a cliff if he said to do so. (No one should assume he would lead the way, however.) Historians will long study how so many susceptible people were lured into the bizarre cult of Trump.
Trump’s base supporters over the past days in rural America are deflecting from his actions, trying to spin them into an event where he was hardly even aware of it having happened. It is absolutely perplexing how Trump can still command their allegiance when it so sharply flies in the face of a chapter of history that is devastatingly painful. Yet for Trump, it just was something else to cheapen with his disdain and low-brow character. It is almost chilling to consider that Trump would not even know how to talk about the memories and messages of those who walked to their deaths in places like Auschwitz or Dachau.
I still believe in a political class that is defined by character, ethics, morals, and values. I guess that results from when I was born and the history I read and better try to understand. We can have sharp clashes over fiscal policy and the size of our footprint on the international stage, but when we witness the vilest and most absurd behavior from a pol as we did last week, and especially one who sat in the Oval Office, there is no other path the majority of the populace can take than one of complete and utter repudiation.
A few notables within the Republican Party found their resolve on Monday and spoke to the deplorable behavior of Donald Trump. We need an avalanche of their fellow party members to do the same, Every reporter needs to press elected officials to go on the record and speak about an ex-president sitting for dinner with a holocaust denier.
Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy stated: “President Trump hosting racist antisemites for dinner encourages other racist antisemites. These attitudes are immoral and should not be entertained. This is not the Republican Party.”
“There’s no bottom to the degree which he’s willing to degrade himself and the country for that matter. Having dinner with those people was disgusting”, said Utah Senator Mitt Romney.
Senate Minority Whip John Thune said of Trump breaking bread with a Nazi and Holocaust denier: “Well, that’s just a bad idea on every level. I don’t know who was advising him on his staff, but I hope that whoever that person was got fired.”
Many in the nation will wonder why an aide needs to be upbraided when we all know the only reasonable reaction Trump need to have taken upon seeing a Nazi sympathizer in his home was to point to the door and say, “get the HELL out!”