peter deck

Why do people support Trump?

peter francis deckby Peter Francis Deck

Why do people support Trump?

He has used his power over media and politics for his personal benefit and not to the benefit of the country. In my lifetime of presidents, Trump does not compare to both father and son Bush, Reagan, Clinton, Carter, Obama, and Kennedy, from what I have read about him. I don’t have a strong opinion about Johnson, Nixon, and Ford. But all of them, including George W Bush with his Iraq debacle, even if you don’t believe in their politics, most people respect them as a former President of the country. They tried to lead the country, not a fraction of it for their personal benefit.  Which raises the question, how can so many middle-class white people support Trump? Are his remarks against the “others” (immigrants and people of color) coming to take over the cities and suburbs believed? Are all protesters looters and dangerous anarchists? Do people fear “socialism” from the Democrats? Is it that simple or is it more than that? 

Trump has made statements and actions against election procedures, security and intelligence offices (FBI, DHS, CIA) and regulatory agencies such as the EPA, and many international organizations (NATO and the UN for example) have been defunded, ridiculed, and tarnished by him. With Trump’s removal of the USA from the Obama-initiated Trans-Pacific Partnership/TTP, the Paris Climate Agreement, and the Iran Nuclear Agreement he has reduced the stature of the USA as a world leader. Now China has created a trade agreement with all the countries that had agreed to the TTP, essentially replacing it and the status of the USA as a trading partner in Asia. Do his supporters think these agencies and Agreements that were made to protect and support international and national cooperation are not important for the USA? Will it make America stronger without them? 

Trump has destroyed people’s lives and careers and indirectly caused harm and even death to thousands of people, through his defunding of Planned Parenthood particularly in Africa and two UN agencies (UNRWA and WHO), his immigration policy, and most recently with his lack of leadership and example during the coronavirus pandemic.  I am astonished that about half the country supports him including just about all of the Republican Party politicians. His false claims of a rigged election have given a reason for about 30 percent of the population to question our democracy. They can’t call the USA ‘the greatest democracy in the world’ anymore.

I remember the first time I was in Germany and was invited to dinner with the family of a German girl I met in San Francisco. It was a warm summer evening on their apartment balcony in Heidelberg where we were having dinner. To the father, I naively asked, how could so many Germans go along with Hitler? I’ll never forget the contorted look on his face. Slowly he responded, to the effect of saying “How numb and dumb we were”, and then spent the rest of the evening trying to explain the confusing times they once lived to his 23-year-old American guest. My friend Betina afterward said, my father never talked about the war. Someday, it will be the same situation for Trump’s 73,146,358 supporters or for the 78,781,258 others. One or the other is numb and dumb! Hopefully, as Germany did, the USA will overcome this divide.

During one of my last assignments with the UN in South Sudan, I lived for a year with our Russian telecommunications/IT officer in a converted container. Needless to say, we had small quarters and shared breakfast and dinner most days under a fan on our small porch. He was a great guy and a great cook and very resourceful in finding fresh vegetables, vodka, and wine from the mostly Russian-speaking UN pilots. Sergey was also a Putin and Trump supporter, though he did not follow US politics. I was always at a loss in our many discussions during the morning and evening newscasts describing Putin’s actions. Sergy could easily dismiss me for not understanding that Russia needed a leader like Putin. Is that what supporters of Trump think they need? Being outside the USA, I could easily put the US news and Trump tweets out of my mind. After a year and a half back in the USA, the anxiousness driven by Trump is unavoidable. And so many voted for all his bullshit for four more years? 

It’s cathartic to write down wrongs. Below is a list of Trump issues and brief comments, not necessarily in a timeline as they occurred. The focus is on Trump, not Republican policies. Issues such as Black Lives Matter, the appointment of judges, abortion rights, and the Second Amendment are not included as people obviously have different legitimate political views, regardless of Trump. But I’ll comment here that the lack of adequate gun regulation is one of the largest problems in this country that unfortunately is not addressed by men (and women) who argue with gross negligence for the right to own an automatic weapon that could knock down an elephant. Guns in a country now with so many economically insecure, uneducated, badly fed, mentally afflicted, alcohol and drug-influenced people, many of which are ideological and religious extremists? But that’s a discussion for another day.

If you read further, I would be interested in any response to any of the issues and comments below. Trump’s actions reflect on his integrity, decency, diplomacy, and honesty, and of a man not worthy of being president. Accounting is always good. Leaving out the racial arguments, my effort is to try to understand why someone supports Trump. If you agree or disagree with the comments, please clarify or correct anything below or add an issue or action that should not be left out of a Trump record. A simple, “I agree” or “I disagree” with number 12, for example, would also be great. If you received this I consider you a friend and would appreciate your thoughts and civil discussion. Apologies for the length of this but it is not a complete description, only a fraction of Trump’s actions.

Here we go:

1. According to Trump he is an excellent businessman and produced the greatest economy the USA has ever known before the “China virus”. Is this true? Who would believe such a self-serving statement or respect a person who boasts as he does about everything he does? According to Trump, he’s “the best”, “the greatest”! Mohammad Ali can get away with it, but Trump?

2. Two family members of Trump, one a former federal judge and the other a clinical psychologist have publicly denounced him. The psychologist describes the president as a person likely afflicted by multiple psychological disorders who is profoundly unsuited to be president. There may be a family dispute which we all have, but do you think these family members are making it all up?

3. Tax cuts were well-timed for a fiscal stimulus and before the pandemic employment was at the lowest level in 50 years. Wages for lowest-paid workers were rising, but is this all to be credited because of only what Trump did?  Since 2010 employment and wages had been steadily rising.

4. Trump also claims that because of him the stock market is the best it has ever been, in all history.  Are the stock market gains connected only to him? And even if they largely were, do  Trump supporters vote because of the stock market with no concern for the majority of US people who are not invested in the market and never will be? Of course, people vote because of their own self-interest but is their 401k the purpose of their political thought?

5. Trump’s actions have eroded the standards of public life and particularly of a president. As mentioned above, unlike all other presidents, Trump chooses to lead a faction (of Republicans) not the nation, and as a result, he has increased division within the country. Trump embodies and exacerbates division. Is that a quality for a president?

6. No matter how much tax he paid, Trump still has not made public his tax returns. Almost every president since Richard Nixon has made their tax returns public. The only exceptions are Trump and Gerald Ford.  Transparency does not matter?

7. How can a person running for president by taped saying, “when you’re a star, they let you do it, you can do anything … grab them by the pussy”, and his supporters think nothing of it?

Trump has been accused of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment, including non-consensual kissing or groping, by at least 25 women since the 1970s, the latest in 2019. Men might think he is macho (just “locker room talk”), but do women think ALL the women, including his ex-wife, are making false accusations?

Well, the Italians had “Berlusconismo” and the Ruby (underaged prostitute) case. 

8. One of Trump’s first actions as president was to defund Planned Parenthood in Africa. As a result, thousands of women have suffered from pre and postnatal illnesses and thousands have died. It is well documented that without access to this type of health care, including abortion, it leads to more risky abortions so more babies and mothers die in Africa and I assume on other continents. Other than pleasing some anti-abortion supporters, how does this provide any benefit? By contrast, George W Bush is still considered a savior in Africa for funding anti-viral programs to combat AIDS. 

9. During his four years as president, not once did Trump visit Africa. What kind of example is that for Africans and African Americans?  Civil society leaders are celebrating his departure and heads of state all across the continent are congratulating Biden. I hesitate to say anything derogatory about Melania, but I can’t resist including that during her visit to Africa she wore a pith helmet, a symbol of European colonialism. A historian is quoted as saying it is like showing up to a meeting with African-American farmworkers in a Confederate Uniform. In her defense, she still looked hot!

10. Immigration has been reduced with Trump’s actions and regulations. Is that good given that America’s main distinction from other countries and strength is based on immigration? Trump said he would deport 11 million illegal immigrants, So far has deported less than 1 million. More immigrants were deported during the Obama administration.  What happened with the wall that Mexico was to pay for?

11. Under Trump, a policy was created for children to be intentionally separated from their parents and detained specifically to deter immigrant families. A nation of refugees and immigrants now cannot claim legitimacy in the world regarding immigration, refugee, and human rights.

12. Trade sanctions with China have not helped American manufacturers or farmers. But farmers and some manufacturers are getting billions in federal aid, as they always have. China policy is important but what has Trump actually accomplished?

13. Tariffs have been slapped on friends and foes, not just China, but also the EU, Canada, and Mexico. Is that any way to treat allies to protect a few thousand jobs in industries such as steel?

14. Trump’s response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and disparaging remarks toward Puerto Rico and its leaders has been documented, embarrassingly unpresidential.

15. Trump openly lies – This is a tricky topic to address to people who support Trump. 

Many news organizations and independent monitors fact-check him and the result is, he provides more misinformation than facts when he speaks publicly. The media is the “enemy of the people” according to Trump. Facts he does not like are lies. Supporters of Trump respond to fact-checkers as if it’s not important, “all politicians lie”. If there is no effort to hold a leader to the truth, that means people will believe and do whatever that leader says. A scary place to live.

16. At a campaign rally he encouraged supporters to remove peaceful protesters against him. In one rally, when a person protested against him, he said, “There is a remnant leftover, Maybe get this remnant out, get this remnant out”.  The crowd chanted “USA, USA” and Trump responded, “isn’t this more fun than any rally you have been to before?” I never thought a US politician could act like this because of the widespread respect for First Amendment rights. Nazis did the same at their rallies, they chanted, “Heil Hitler”.

17. During Trump’s first campaign he mocked Senator John McCain, saying, he liked people who “weren’t captured” and aren’t “losers.” Are his comments presidential? McCain said about Trump, “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in history”, after Trump met with Putin at the 2016 Helsinki conference and instead of taking Russia to task for meddling in US elections, Trump shifted the blame to US intelligence agencies and their investigation of the same interference. Trump fired FBI and CIA top officials and has never denounced Putin.

18. The list of the number of people Trump has fired is too long to put here and so many have resigned before they were fired so it is difficult to give a specific number of people who left in disgust with him and because of the many different reasons people leave their job. But it is a fact, more turnover in Trump’s presidency than in any other, and most positions are left unfilled. Does that indicate a problem with Trump or are all those people who left for whatever reason the problem?

19. Trump focused on overturning the Affordable Health Care Act (Obama Care) with no specific plan to replace it  (over 20 million Americans would have their current health care taken away or impacted in a detrimental way favoring insurance companies). Does that make sense particularly with a health crisis?

20. Some Israelis and American Jews like the destruction Trump did to the Two-State Solution for Palestine and Israel; US foreign policy in agreement with the EU and Russia and China since 1994. He has given Israel all it wants, i.e. embassy in Jerusalem, withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council claiming it is biassed against Israel. But he has completely abandoned the Palestinians and in doing so defunded UNRWA, the UN agency providing schools and healthcare for the Palestinians for over 60 years. Do you think this helps peace between Israel and Palestine? Trump has promoted this as the deal of the century for the Middle East.

21. Trump’s efforts for the agreements with Arab countries to normalize relations with Israel are positive and deserve congratulations, but not in exchange for billion-dollar weapon sales. This will only embolden and create further chances for war in the region, particularly with Iran.

22. Trump abandoned the nuclear deal with Iran, against the advice of all western countries and allies except Israel. Iran now is moving closer to nuclear weapons.

23. Trump abandoned the Kurds after they sacrificed their lives to fight against ISIS. James Mattis resigned in protest, the first Secretary of Defense ever to resign. The Kurds were on the front lines and American soldiers stayed behind them, granted, providing significant financial and military support.

24. Trump-led Foreign policy by appointing Rex Tillerson an oil executive with Russian business interests and then promoted evangelical ideas with the appointment of Pompeo as the next Secretary of State. (I am sure many people like Tillerson and Pompeo, but does this send the right signal to have these known persons with Russian/oil connections and religious fundamentalist ideals as the representative of the USA to foreign countries?

25. As the Education Secretary Trump selected a multi-billionaire, Betsy Davos. She has no teaching experience, but her career as a Republican fundraiser has been very successful. Her appointment was the first time in U.S. history that a Cabinet nominee’s confirmation was decided by the Vice President’s tie-breaking vote. Because of so many protests against her in many of the venues she visits, extra security for her has cost so far over 8 million dollars of taxpayers’ money. For such an important position, shouldn’t there be an experienced education expert and not a Republican Party hack?

26. Trump attempted to use the power of aid as a quid pro quo from the Ukraine President to obtain information about his political rival (Biden) that led to his impeachment. And the resulting slurring and firing by Trump of so many diplomats, military officers, and Mueller (as the Republican Congress watched). Do people think the diplomats were lying? Do people believe when Trump says the Mueller investigation did not expose wrongdoing on his part? Did they read the Mueller Report? or just believe the selectively redacted version of it that AG Barr publicly provided?

27. Undermining EU and NATO, Trump give support to Putin, Hungary’s Orban, and Poland’s Duda who violate human rights according to the EU Human Rights Commission. Trump is correct to demand more contributions from EU countries for security but he supports Russia when he explicitly does not guarantee to fulfill the protection of the NATO Security Alliance. 

28. During Trump’s campaign he told the American people “I have no business dealings in Russia”. He lied, later proven by the FBI and in testimony and documents during the trial of Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen. From that moment, the FBI was forced to investigate Trump because, according to the FBI, Trump was compromised. Russia knew he was lying and he needed Putin’s complicity to maintain the lie. Did people vote for a lying President influenced by Russia?

29. Trump took the USA out of the Paris Climate Agreement is an example of not caring to be a world leader on this difficult problem that of course will require world cooperation. Do supporters think you can “Make America Great Again” without working with other countries to overcome global warming? Trump supports the coal industry when the world is moving to green energy. Do most Trump supporters believe global warming is “a hoax”?

30. Trump has opened up more Alaska and Rocky mountain land to logging and oil exploration for lease sales to start just before his departure in January 2021. These pristine areas are subject to the irreversible detriment to wildlife and nature, when the world is moving toward green energy and oil companies are not expanding exploration at this time. Trump shows disregard for America’s public lands, or the wildlife and Indigenous communities that depend on them. MAGA?

31. Trump has weakened international institutions including NATO, the WTO, and the UN in general. These are part of the international multilateral institutions that were created under the leadership of previous US presidents for the US to have legal forums to deal with world issues, similar to US regulatory agencies that Trump has weakened by less funding and reducing protection by lowering regulatory standards for chemicals, water, air quality, and emissions.

32. Trump openly supports Mohammad bin Salman, the person who authorized the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist, an American green card holder who resided in Washington DC, and Trump continues to provide support to Saudi Arabia with weapons sales in its destruction of Yemen. The UN describes Yemen as the worst humanitarian disaster in modern times.

33. Trump described protests against Neo-Nazis in Charlottesville as “very fine people on both sides”?

34. He authorized peacefully protesting people to be tear-gassed for a photo op in front of the White House?

35. Everyone agrees mistakes are made in elections and the process needs to be improved in many states. But even before the elections, Trump claimed it would be fraudulent and not be fair, putting American democracy into question. To the right-wing group “Proud Boys”, he said, “stand back and stand by”? Now his supporters think elections in the USA are fraudulent and they should address them with a show of force?

36. Trump has mismanaged the pandemic. Instead of being a world leader, he focused on blaming China for its spread, resorting to a blame game like a child. He has not advocated wearing a mask and has criticized scientific experts, including Dr Fauci the NHI and task force infectious disease expert.  By not telling the public the seriousness of the virus when he learned about it, people followed his actions and his expressed lack of seriousness, as a result, a greater number of people have been infected and more people have died. He stated right before the elections, “we are just rounding the turn with or without a vaccine”. 

37. Trump blamed the WHO for its role with China and the handling of the virus. His actions of pulling funding from WHO impacts on world health, including monitoring of diseases, and shows disregard and no understanding for world health programs and how the UN works. Does Trump think the UN can tell countries what to do?

38. America’s reputation as the World leader has plunged during the Trump presidency according to Pew Research. All western world leaders have welcomed Biden. Even China’s Xi. North Korea, Russia, Brazil so far have been quiet. What about Asia’s model of Trump, Duterte? Do you have to ask why only the authoritarian leaders of these countries are acting like Republican politicians?

39. America was looked upon as a beacon, a champion of democracy, and human rights. Now the functioning of US democracy is called into question under a president who stokes racial division and distrust towards its own institutions and allies, and people seeking freedom on its shores and borders.

40. The Dept. of Homeland Security official in charge of election security stated there was no fraud in the elections. Trump fired him and still claims he won the election. Again discrediting an American security and intel office. Do supporters think there is a conspiracy against Trump within DHS? 

41. Trump continues to claim fraud in the election and prevents the transition of government to Biden. Even if he had a legitimate legal claim, he is weakening national security. MAGA?

42. Last but not least, Trump, like all of us is similar to the company we keep. A shortlist of Trump’s close aids so far convicted (there are more not listed):  

Roger Stone, a longtime Trump adviser, and confidant has been convinced on multiple counts and pardoned by Trump.

Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, was in prison, but home detention because of covid.

(Trump’s friends: As US citizens Paul Manafort and Roger Stone worked for [Congolese dictator] Mobutu Sese Seko and [Philippine President] Ferdinand Marcos before Trump, and Manafort also worked for Putin. They both worked on Marcos’s 1986 election that was widely denounced as fraudulent.)

Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, and business associate is in prison.

Rick Gates, Trump’s former campaign vice-chairman, has been convicted and is awaiting sentencing.

Michael Flynn, Trump’s former White House national security advisor, plead guilty twice for lying to the FBI and convicted. Trump has intervened with the DOJ which is presently making an intervention to dismiss all charges. 

George Papadopoulos, Trump’s former campaign advisor on foreign policy has already served his prison sentence.

43. Once Trump’s presidential immunity from prosecution is gone, he could join this list. Inshallah!
I would appreciate any comments, Thanks in advance.