Trump's Enemies

Only Abraham Lincoln vies with Trump in the amount of demonization he endured.

Rachel Neuwirth,

Rachel Neuwirth
Rachel Neuwirth

John Landau co-authored this article

No previous President of the United States has been so hated by America's political, journalistic, and cultural elites as has Donald Trump. None has been the target of as much verbal abuse, vilification and demonization, and false and biased reporting emanating from these elites as has Trump-with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln.

No previous candidate for President of a major political party has been subjected to such systematic and widespread harassment on the campaign trail as has Trump. None before him has met with such widespread and well-organized attempts, often violent, to disrupt his campaign rallies, to prevent him from speaking, to prevent citizens from attending his rallies, and to harass and even assault them if they did insist on attending them.

No President-elect has been targeted by so many hostile and often violent protests after he was elected in an election whose outcome was not even seriously in dispute.

Never before have the members of the Electoral College, chosen by the people in accordance with a provision in our constitution going back 230 years, been subjected to such massive pressure, even threats, to vote contrary to the wishes of the citizens who elected them, and thereby “de-elect” a President-elect.

No previous President has been subjected to so many hostile, large, extremely well organized and often violent protest demonstrations nationwide, including several in the nation's capital, on the very day of his inauguration, and for nearly every day since then, in an attempt to create so much disruption and chaos that he would be unable to govern.

We can only add a warning about where this campaign, unprecedented in our American democracy, may be leading us.
To sum up: never before in American history have so many people belonging to our nation's power structures and established institutions resorted to such unethical, undemocratic, underhanded, disruptive, and often violent methods-systematically and on a nationwide scale-in an effort first to deny a presidential candidate his election, then to prevent him from taking office after he was elected, and finally to delegitimize him and render him unable to govern after he took the oath of office.

Does ‘The Donald' bear any responsibility for stirring up such hatred of himself, and such unscrupulous efforts both to prevent his election and to render him unable to govern after he was elected? In all fairness, yes, he does bear some degree of responsibility. He made harsh criticisms not only of the candidate nominated by the opposing party, but of nearly all of his rivals for the nomination in his own party. He made blunt criticisms of our enormously powerful media establishment. While many previous presidents and presidential candidates have also criticized the press, his criticisms of this powerful institution were harsher and more sweeping than those of any previous candidate. Trump even had the temerity to single out a federal judge for criticism; and the federal judiciary is by far the most powerful institution in this country-far more powerful than either the legislative or executive branches of our government.

Throughout history, those long entrenched in positions of power, those deeply embedded in privileged and ruling institutions, have always come down like a ton of bricks on anyone who questioned their integrity, their competence, or their fitness to rule. These reactions from those within established institutions of power are certainly understandable, but they are rarely justified and have rarely had desirable consequences.

Trump also made a few remarks early in his campaign about illegal Mexican immigrants in the United States, and about one Mexican-American (the aforementioned federal judge, who at the time was hearing a civil lawsuit against him) that may have been untrue, and that many people considered offensive. However, he has not repeated these remarks or made similar ones since they were universally condemned last summer. But the American media establishment has never forgiven him for these remarks-although they had immediately forgiven presidential candidate Jimmy Carter for remarks advocating "ethnic purity" in American "neighborhoods" and criticizing people who moved into "a completely different kind of neighborhood" during Carter's 1976 presidential campaign. And they have barely noticed former Vice President Joe Biden's patronizing and offensive remarks, on several occasions, about African-Americans--remarks that on one occasion even included his Presidential running-mate, Barack Obama! Why were the media and political establishments willing to extend a good deal of slack to liberal politicians such as Carter and Biden, but now refuse to give a similar break to Trump? The press has never labeled Carter or Biden "racists" but it continually pins this label on Trump.

Trump's suggestions on the campaign trail that all illegal immigrants should be deported from the United States, and that immigration from seven Muslim countries should be temporarily banned [it is not a "ban on Muslims"] until we "figure out what's going on in the Muslim world" were also universally condemned by our media and political establishments. However, Trump's enemies have refused to acknowledge that he has subsequently "fine-tuned," "clarified," or "walked back" his campaign proposals concerning illegal immigration and legal Muslim immigration, and has replaced them with fairer and more realistic proposals. Instead, the media has treated his recent executive order, now under a judicial controversy, temporarily barring nationals from seven countries where terrorism is extremely common and many people are affiliated with terrorist organizations, without any distinctions whatsoever on the basis of their religious faith, for a 90-day period while our immigration policies toward these countries are reassessed, as if it was identical to his campaign "first draft" suggestion. Instead, the media have continued with their same hysterical rhetoric about cruelty to innocent refugees, "hate," Islamophobia, and a denial of the promise to immigrants made by the Statue of Liberty--ignoring the fact that this executive order will not, in fact, prevent legitimate refugees, many of them Muslims, from receiving asylum in the United States. Trump's executive order has also been exploited as a pretext for demonstrations disrupting travel at New York's JFK airport.

While Trump's enemies have exaggerated and distorted some of Trump's proposals, they have invented others out of whole cloth. For example, not only the media and political activist groups, but high-ranking politicians such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Chuck Schumer, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have repeatedly claimed that Trump intends to force the "registration" of all Muslim Americans with the Federal Government, and to compile a "registration list" of all of them. This is an utter falsehood.

What Trump has actually proposed is that a small watch list of a few hundred individuals, none of them American citizens and few of them residents of the United States, which had been maintained during the George W. Bush administration, and which continued to be maintained during the first two years of Obama's administration, be revived. Those on the list were individuals had been identified by the FBI as having contacts with known terrorists and terrorist organizations. Not all of them were Muslims--several individuals with connections to the Irish IRA terrorist organization, for example, were on the watch list. And the only action taken against individuals on the watch list was to record when these individuals traveled to countries where they were believed to have terrorist contacts, and when they entered or left the United States. They were not detained or arrested. The FBI wanted only to keep track of them. While it is true that Obama abolished the watch list two years into his first term, reviving it would hardly be an extreme measure.

Trump's only contribution to this urban legend was that he once carelessly used the word "registry" when suggesting that this small watch list be revived. That provided his political enemies with the only cue they needed to invent the rest of their narrative.

There is much, much more that needs to be said about the ongoing campaign of hate propaganda, mass disruption, violence and political monkey-wrench-throwing directed against our new President. We can only add a warning about where this campaign, unprecedented in our American democracy, may be leading us.

The civil wars now raging in both Egypt and Syria began with widespread public demonstrations that were initially non-violent, but quickly escalated into violent revolts, counter-revolts, harsh government repression, and foreign intervention. Northern Ireland's "troubles" that developed into a civil war that lasted for thirty-five years (1970-2005) also began with intended non-violent mass demonstrations and counter-demonstrations that quickly degenerated into stone-throwing and arson--much as some of the mass "protests" have already done.

America barely survived the Civil War that nearly tore our country apart more than 150 years ago and that claimed the lives of 700,000 of our finest young men. Do we really want to go there again? Or do we want America to become yet another failed state like Syria, Egypt, Libya, and Somalia? We beg our compatriots on the left to at least take a deep breath, step back a few paces, put aside their emotions for just a moment, and think about it.


Importance of Trump's Executive Order might not be fully understood for generations:

Conway explains that immigration ban targets not Muslims, but countries with history of harboring terrorists:

Stefan Molyneux: What Pisses Me Off About President Trump's "Muslim Ban":]

Rachel Neuwirth is an internationally recognized political commentator and analyst. She specializes in Middle Eastern Affairs with particular emphasis on Militant Islam and Israeli foreign policy. 

John Landau is a freelance journalist, independent scholar, and longtime student of world history and international relations.