In Thursday night’s debate, Donald Trump put in a word for Saddam Hussein and Moammar Qaddafi, in a way. He said that, if those two were still in power, “instead of having terrorism all over the place, we’d be — at least they killed terrorists, all right?”
The fact is, they were terrorists. And funders and shelterers of other terrorists. (Abu Nidal, for one, in Saddam Hussein’s case.)
An interview that Trump gave to Playboy in 1990 has just come to my attention. If I’m the last to know about it, forgive me. Trump was asked about Gorbachev — who was nearing the end of his time in power. Trump said, “Russia is out of control and the leadership knows it. That’s my problem with Gorbachev. Not a firm enough hand.”
His interviewer asked, “You mean firm hand as in China?”
Trump answered, “When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak … as being spit on by the rest of the world –”
Trump’s admiration of Putin is no surprise, in light of this. We conservatives like to mock Thomas L. Friedman for his occasional favorable words about the regime in Beijing — his longing for a bit of that here, to accomplish things without the snags of democracy.
We already have one party that has substantially turned its back on freedom, democracy, and human rights — the Democratic party, in the post-McGovern age. The Republican party looks ready to fall, too.
P.S. I wish the Chinese government had blown it. I wish the 1989 uprising had led to the toppling of that cruel, murderous, despicable regime.
P.P.S. A couple of months ago, it was pointed out to Trump that Putin kills journalists who displease him. Trump answered, “I think our country does plenty of killing also.” This is exactly the moral equivalence I learned from the Left, when I was growing up. I rejected it. Because it’s an abominable lie.