Category Archives: Republican Politics

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How Donald Trump’s ‘Extraordinary’ 24 Hours ‘Dragged The Presidency Into The Gutter’

Friday was Martin Luther King Jr Day in the United States, so it was sadly ironic the country’s leader marked it by facing accusations he is a racist who is dragging the presidency and America’s moral standing “into the gutter”.

Even among all the incredible events that have marked the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency, according to one expert in international relations, these 24 hours stand out as “extraordinary”, and could fundamentally change global politics – and America’s position in the world.

“I hesitate to say it couldn’t get any worse because you never know,” Dr Rod Abouharb, an international relations professor at University College London told HuffPost UK.

“This is another example of Donald Trump turning his back on the traditional role of US President as leader of the Free World.”

THE ‘SHITHOLE COUNTRIES’

Trump is no stranger to accusations of racism but his flippant comments allegedly made on Thursday and his subsequent reaction stand out.

The President was reportedly being informed of the impact of immigrants from Haiti and African nations during a meeting with lawmakers when he reportedly asked: 

Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?

THE DENIAL

THE CONTRADICTIONS

Unfortunately for Trump, a number of sources had already tacitly acknowledged the language used, not least the White House itself.

Shortly after Trump’s denial, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, who was at the meeting, told reporters Trump used “vile, vulgar” language, including repeatedly using the word “shithole” when speaking about African countries. 

THE AWKWARD REPUBLICAN RESPONSE 

While Durbin had no qualms about confirming what he said, Republican lawmakers who were also presently conveniently “could not recall” events despite them happening less than 24 hours before.

THE SASSY DICTIONARY

The Merriam-Webster dictionary has not hidden its disdain for the current President, so it’s unlikely its choice for Friday’s word of the day was an accident.

However, having already offended most of the developing world, it appeared Trump was only just getting started.

THE UK CONNECTION

Running parallel to the racism row was another which gave a heavy hint as to the repercussions Trump’s loose lips and preference for Twitter diplomacy can have outside America.

Back on this side of the Atlantic news was breaking that the president had cancelled a planned visit to open the US embassy in London in February amid fears protestors would mar the trip.

THE SECOND DENIAL AND THE FALSEHOODS

True to form, Trump gain disputed this version of events and listed his own reasons.

.. which were swiftly debunked.

  • The decision to move the embassy move predated Obama.
  • The US didn’t own the land the old embassy sits on.
  • It’s not as simple as the embassy being bought for “peanuts.”
  • The embassy’s current location is hardly, as Trump claimed, “the finest.”
  • The new embassy is hardly in an “off location.”

The US embassy in London itself later released an unprecedented tweet that was a thinly-veiled attack on Trump’s own assertions.

Not that Brits were fooled anyway.

BORIS PARROTS TRUMP

Trump may be one-of-a-kind but we do have Boris Johnson, whose use of English is arguably almost as notorious.

Johnson branded Sadiq Khan a “puffed up pompous popinjay” in response to the London Mayor welcoming Trump’s decision to stay home.

The Foreign Secretary used his own brand of Twitter diplomacy to launch an astonishing attack on his City Hall predecessor, just hours after Khan said Trump had “got the message” from that he isn’t welcome in London.

That forced Number 10 to issue its own clarification, claiming the Foreign Secretary was speaking in a political capacity. 

When asked if the Prime Minister was concerned that Khan was damaging the ‘special relationship’, the Downing Street spokesman replied: “No, the US and the UK are natural, resilient and strong partners and allies and we do more together than any two countries in the world.

THE FALLOUT

Speaking on Channel 4 News on Friday evening, Ed Miliband said Trump had dragged the presidency “into the gutter”.

“America’s moral standing, as well as America’s political standing, is under severe (strain),” the former Labour leader said.

This was encapsulated in the response from Botswana’s Ministry of International Affairs, which formally asked the US to clarify if it is regarded as a “shithole country”.

But UCL’s Dr Abouharb told HuffPost UK that Trump’s behaviour was more damaging to America and its interests, than simply causing offence. The past 24 hours could fundamentally change global politics.

″[These type of comments] make it more difficult for him to form coalitions at places like the UN and to get allies and partners to cooperate on the most pressing issues at the moment.

“In terms of the Iran nuclear deal – if he was hoping to persuade any of the other countries on this, I think this type of behaviour just makes others even less willing to listen to him.

“And if he’s hoping to persuade other countries with the Paris climate change agreement or renegotiating the NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement] which is next on the list, I think the Canadians and the Mexicans will be even less willing to listen to his demands than they were before.” 

Even the United Nations, an organisation that rarely raises its voice, the reaction was swift and to the point.

“There is no other word one can use but ‘racist’,” UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville said. “You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes’ whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome.”

Congressman John Lewis, a giant of the civil rights movement Dr Martin Luther King Jr fostered, said: “It’s frightening to have someone in the office of the president in 2018 speaking the way that he’s speaking.

″[His] words and his actions tend to speak like one who knows something about being a racist. It must in his DNA, in his makeup.”

THE FUTURE

Doubts about the cognitive ability of Trump to hold the most powerful office in the world are only intensifying after his bizarre outburst in the wake of Michael Wolff’s explosive insider account of the White House.

A group of 27 prominent mental health professionals are already calling for Trump to undergo a mental evaluation and have published a series of essays titled “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump″.

In an article for Politico, lead author, Bandy Lee, said Trump’s “mental state presented a danger to the public” and they have a “duty to warn them”.

THE DIAGNOSIS

At the moment there isn’t one – not of Trump’s mental capacity, at least, although he did undergo a physical exam on Friday.

The results are to be briefed to the public on Tuesday, but according to a White House statement released last night Trump is “in excellent health”.

Although…

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British Government Told To Stand Up To ‘Bully’ Donald Trump After Jerusalem Decision

Theresa May has been told to stop “bending over backwards” to please “bully” Donald Trump in the wake of his decision to officially recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The US President’s move was widely condemned on all sides of the House of Commons on Wednesday as MPs warned it could “fatally” damage the peace process.

Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt said the UK disagreed with the decision as it was “unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region”.

However Emily Thornberry, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, demanded the British government distance itself further from President Trump.

Thornberry said the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem delivered an “absolute hammer blow” to hopes of a peace accord in the region.

“The sheer recklessness of that decision needs no debate. Donald Trump is not crying fire in the theater. He is deliberately setting fire to the theater,” she said. “Then he has the unbelievable cheek to claim he is doing this to move forward the peace process when in reality he is setting it back decades.”

She added: “When will the government admit they have got their strategy with Donald Trump totally wrong? They told us holding his hand and hugging him close and indulging him with the offer of a state visit was the best way to wield influence and shape his policies. But on Jerusalem as on so many other issues before they have been made to look like fools. Weak, ignored and entirely without influence.

“Bending over for a bully only encourages that behaviour. What our country needs and what the world needs is British government prepared to stand up to him.”

In response, Burt said the UK’s relationship with the US was “very deep” and would last for “centuries, regardless of leadership”.

Labour MP Richard Burden warned the decision had “fatally undermined the US’ credibility” in the region.

Former Conservative cabinet minister David Jones said it would be seen as American “acquiescence in Israel’s illegal programme of settlement on the West Bank”.

And the SNP’s Chris Law said President Trump was “reckless and wrong” and had “thrown the entire peace process in to jeopardy”.

MPs from across the Commons said the UK should respond to President Trump’s move by recognising the state of Palestine. Several also renewed calls for the government to cancel President Trump’s invitation to visit Britain on an official state visit.

In a statement yesterday, the prime minister said she disagreed with President Trump’s decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. “We believe it is unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region. The British Embassy to Israel is based in Tel Aviv and we have no plans to move it,” she said. “In line with relevant Security Council Resolutions, we regard East Jerusalem as part of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

Palestinians see President’s Trump’s move as a decision to side with Israel on one of the most sensitive issues in the conflict. They see east Jerusalem, which Israel captured in 1967, as their capital.

Announcing his decision on Wednesday, Trump said it was designed to be “the beginning of a new approach to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians”.

“We cannot solve our problems by repeating the same failed strategies of the past,” he said.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said President Trump has destroyed his credibility as a Middle East peace broker, describing his decision as “a declaration of withdrawal from the role it (the US) has played in the peace process”.

But Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country “profoundly grateful”, adding that President Trump’s announcement marks a “historic day” and is an “important step towards peace”.

Hamas called on Thursday for a new uprising against Israel. “We should call for and we should work on launching an intifada in the face of the Zionist enemy,” the Islamist group’s leader Ismail Haniyeh said in a speech in Gaza.

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