First Donald Trump remade the Republican Party in his own image, and now he is trying to remake America the same way — into a selfish, dishonest country with no close friends, totally unpredictable, free of any commitment to enduring values, ready to stab any ally in the back on Twitter if it doesn’t do our bidding and much more comfortable with mafialike dictators than elected democrats.
God forbid we become the United States of Trump. The world has come to rely on an America that, more often than not, has been ready to pay any price and bear any burden to do the right things, say the right things, model the right things and stand for the right things — when others were unwilling or unable to do so.
All the tangible and intangible benefits flowing from the global order we generated helped to make us the richest, most secure and most respected nation in history. We need to make that prosperity more inclusive, but becoming the Ugly America will make us only more insecure.
I’m glad Trump sat down with Kim Jong Un this week — nothing else has worked. But Trump is so dishonest, so much better at breaking things than making things and such a chump for anyone who flatters him, it is way too soon to say what will be implemented out this Singapore fling. If it’s the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, I’ll personally nominate Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize. But let’s see.
For now, I’d only nominate him for the “Ignoble Prize.” It’s given to the leader who uses his presidential prerogatives to undermine the personal security of his citizens and values of his nation in more ways in just one year than any leader before him.
Tell me, are you really feeling more secure today?
Not if you have a pre-existing medical condition and are relying on Obamacare to guarantee your treatment if you change health insurers. In all the tumult Trump has churned up lately, his Justice Department quietly indicated last week that it would not defend major parts of the Affordable Care Act that pro-Trump forces, having failed to kill it in Congress, are now trying to kill through lower courts. And this includes the requirement that insurance companies guarantee access to coverage without bias against people with pre-existing medical conditions.
Are you feeling more secure?
Trump just picked a fight with our closest NATO allies, including Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — whom Trump’s team said “stabbed us in the back” after Trudeau’s mild-mannered defense of his own country’s trade policy on dairy imports. This after Trump has had nary a word of censure for Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, who stabbed us in the chest with the biggest cyberattack on our democracy ever.
What happens if there is another 9/11 and we need Canada’s help for something more than buying our milk? What country wouldn’t want Canada as its neighbor? Our president is compromised on Russia and is rapidly alienating every ally with whom we confronted Nazism, Communism and radical Islamism in the last 70 years.
Are you feeling more secure?
The New York Times reported last week that “Trump is the first president since 1941 not to name a science adviser, a position created during World War II to guide the Oval Office on technical matters ranging from nuclear warfare to global pandemics.” He relies on his “instincts” instead, and his instincts told him that climate change is a hoax.
So let’s see: In the case of North Korea, even if there was just a one-in-a-million chance Kim Jong Un would launch a nuclear missile at us, Trump said we must do everything possible to buy insurance so that it can’t happen — even if it meant pre-emptive war.
But in the case of climate change — where an overwhelming majority of scientists in Trump’s own government say human-induced climate change is 100 percent real — Trump chose to scrap the Paris climate agreement, throw away any insurance and move to revive coal.
Add it all up and you have a president tearing apart a range of long-standing accords and relationships at once — without any serious expert input — just to serve his short-term needs, satisfy his unhinged and now unrestrained instincts or feed his hatred of his predecessor.