U.S.

Trump Hangs Tough

President Donald Trump listens during a roundtable discussion with law enforcement at the White House in Washington, June 8, 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
. . . as Democrats in government and media continue their ineffectual attacks.

The Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden, is so dyspeptic and incoherent, and so mired in the Trump–Russia, Ukraine, and Tara Reade scandals, that the Democratic presidential campaign is essentially being conducted by that party’s supporters in the national political media. All of the major networks except Fox and many of the large newspapers, led by the New York Times and the Washington Post, are individually enunciating opportunistic positions on behalf of the Democratic Party and its absent leader and are rivaling one another in producing malicious falsehoods about the president as they all move left together. These included, last week, that he had been “hiding” in the White House bunker when the largest demonstrations began in Washington on May 29, and that he had ordered that demonstrators in Lafayette Park be tear-gassed and shelled with rubber bullets to clear the path for the president before he went to St. John’s Church, the presidents’ church, on the afternoon of Monday, June 1, the day after mobs had set fire to part of it. Both these assertions were completely false, as was the claim this last weekend that the president had asked for the deployment of 10,000 soldiers.

This is one of the elements of Saul Alinsky playbook, by which the Democrats have operated since it was written (for them): Accuse the opposition of what you yourself are doing. In this case the Democratic media never cease to labor the president with the allegation that he is chronically dishonest and an incorrigible liar. He admits to what he somewhat self-servingly calls “constructive hyperbole,” and he exaggerates in the manner of New York developers. Everything is “huge, great, beautiful, and the best,” but by the highest criterion of honesty in office — doing what you promised to do before the election — his record is exemplary. He exaggerates, but he is rarely entirely untruthful; his enemies lie about him and other relevant matters constantly. So mud-slinging liars whose job is honest reporting accuse the great exaggerator of habitually lying; all this does not make for elevated political discourse.

After the false Russian-collusion allegation and the spurious impeachment case, there came the hysteria about the coronavirus and the insistence on a complete lockdown of the country, in order to produce an economic depression that might enable the Democrats to get Biden to the finish line. The Democrats had gone to considerable trouble to carry Biden, a political corpse after Iowa and New Hampshire, to the nomination ahead of the Marxist Bernie Sanders. As the data confirmed that 80 percent of the coronavirus fatalities afflicted the oldest 20 percent of the population, the healthiest 80 percent of the population were bearing a completely unnecessary burden of economic and social self-sacrifice.

While the president was exerting steady pressure to reopen the country as appropriate while retaining heightened protection for the vulnerable, the Democrats resolutely clung to their insistence on a prolonged lockdown and a ludicrous system of test and trace, whereby all who tested positive would be interrogated about the identity of those they had been in contact with in the previous two weeks, and these would be chased down and badgered to self-quarantine. It is possibly the silliest idea for general-public application that has been conceived by the U.S. government since Prohibition. But after the George Floyd rioting got going, the Democratic establishment, and particularly its almost completely corrupt and incompetent municipal machines, did not hesitate a minute before urging all those they had threatened and prosecuted — for not self-distancing or abstaining from working, shopping, and exercising their constitutional right to attend houses of worship — to join the “peaceful protesters.” They almost all completely mismanaged the riots but urged their townspeople to join the vast crowds protesting against policies that are opposed by 100 percent of Americans, even as the protests were taken over by urban terrorist guerrillas and turned into orgies of arson, looting, and assault rarely seen since the barbarian sack of the Western Roman Empire.

The tumult enabled the giddy Democratic media campaign to portray Trump as President Chaos, the bogeyman who replaced President Lockdown-Depression, President Impeachable Ukraine Connivance, and President Russian Treason. He wobbled slightly in the polls but revived with the dramatic reduction in unemployment on Friday and the confirmation that the country won’t tolerate the Democratic humbug about a prolonged lockdown. This election campaign is already a hand-to-hand, no-holds-barred struggle unlike any in American history in its unscrupulous ferocity. This isn’t entirely surprising, given that Trump attacked all factions of both parties and pledged to destroy and expel the entire political establishment. All know that if he is reelected, that is what he will do. He has taken over the entire Republican Party except for Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski.

This is why we are now getting, as the latest wrinkle in the Democratic assault, the orchestrated release of apparent Republican defections and expressions of ethical and policy concerns from retired Bush-McCain-Romney faction heads and senior military officers Trump has fired, all delivered in a uniform affectation of solemn reflection rather than the vindictive backbiting that it is. We got the Bushes because Ronald Reagan had to choose someone for vice president and George Bush Sr. had come in a distant second to him and graciously urged his supporters to rally to Reagan. Bush was the closest the voters could get to a third Reagan term. General Colin Powell became prominent because Reagan went through five national-security advisers in seven years, and he was next. Bush and Powell executed the Gulf War brilliantly but didn’t extract enough in their victory. Bush allowed the half-mad charlatan billionaire Ross Perot to take 20 million mainly Republican votes in 1992, and we got the Clintons. We also got the worst 24 years of presidential government in the country’s history from Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. (George W. now says Clinton is “my bro” — why not? And why shouldn’t Trump run against all of them?)

Colin Powell’s defection from Trump is neither a loss nor a surprise. He was a senior OBushinton supporter who left the Republicans for Obama and is best remembered for his eloquent declaration to the United Nations of Saddam Hussein’s certain possession of weapons of mass destruction. The grim Clintonian admiral Mike Mullen emerged on cue and darkly warned against using the U.S. military against the civilian population as “enemies of the state,” as if Trump had suggested any such thing. If he were not a chronic bleeding-heart left-wing Democrat, the spiritual heir to Admiral Gene Larocque, who was considered as Hillary Clinton’s vice-presidential candidate, Mullen might carry more weight. At least Mullen is consistent. Generals James Mattis and John Kelly have no such excuse; this president did them the great honor of giving them high cabinet office, and there were both policy and personality differences. That does not justify aspersing the president’s ethics and character in choreographed synchronization with Democrats trying to sweep out the administration they were formerly happy to serve in, amid war whoops for open borders (which both Mattis and Kelly tried to manage) and the defunding of the police and the military, where Mattis and Kelly spent their careers — distinguished careers, until last week.

It doesn’t matter; they will have no more influence than the pompous open letters of the scores of obscure retired officials and cretinous academics who opposed Trump in 2016. There is a Swamp Party and a Drain the Swamp Party. The virus terror is fading, the country is opening up, the economy is soaring, and the rioting has stopped. President Trump will run on his record, which will be much harder to discredit than the foibles of his public personality, particularly by those who have favored open borders and defunded police.