Donald Trump believes deeply in the special relationship. Trump’s mother, Mary Anne MacLeod Trump, was born in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. Trump reintroduced the Churchill bust, that had been replaced during the Obama administration with one of Martin Luther King Jr. Beyond speaking to Vladimir Putin, the most humbled Trump has ever seemed is when attending Buckingham Palace for the Royal Banquet. During the Coronavirus Trump enacted a travel ban on all countries aside from the United Kingdom.
Through the lens of British patriotism Britons may excuse themselves of being apathetic towards the re-election of Donald Trump, however, such are the geopolitical threats of global warming, cyberwarfare, Artificial Intelligence and Chinese hegemony, the re-election of Donald Trump would offer unforeseen damage towards this Country and the entire planet.
We have lived four years with Trump and his presence has become somewhat normalised, yet, I hope through comparison with three British individuals to illuminate the extraordinary danger posed by a Trump re-election. Firstly, I illustrate the stark differences between Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, emphasising that condemnation of Trump is not a question of right or left politics. Secondly, I suggest in terms of character and political views Donald Trump is like a less intelligent Katie Hopkins. Thirdly, I liken the experience of enjoying the comedy of Trump to watching four years of Ali G interviews with politicians.
Despite Boris Johnson describing Donald Trump as an individual of ‘stupefying ignorance that makes him frankly unfit to hold the office of president of the United States’, Trump has continually sought to draw connection between himself and the British Prime Minister. Trump has described Johnson as ‘Britain Trump’. It is regularly expressed that you can’t criticise Trump when you have Johnson as prime minister. This correlation is false and serves to obscure just how odious and incompetent the American president is. Johnson studied classics at Baliol college Oxford and led the University debating society before becoming a lively journalist and then the editor of the Spectator. As described by Hugo Rifkind, ‘Johnson’s favourite books are Homer’s Iliad and Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop… Trump, after the Bible (“very special”) favours his own autobiography, which it’s feasible he hasn’t read’. Johnson aims to become an individual like Christopher Hitchens, who also attended Baliol and ran the Oxford debating society. Trump is a reality TV star who entered the political arena by suggesting that Obama was an illegitimate president due to a false assertion that, America’s first black president, had a birth certificate from Kenya and thus was disqualified from the executive office. Boris Johnson has compared Putin to Hitler. Donald Trump has said that he ‘respects Putin’ as a ‘very strong leader’. As foreign secretary, following the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, Boris Johnson convinced 27 countries to expel Russian diplomats. During the 2016 US election, Trump encouraged Putin to hack Hilary Clinton’s emails, encouraging what became the greatest foreign assault on American soil since 9/11. Therefore, the repulsion towards an individual like Donald Trump should not be restrained by taxonomies like Conservative, Labour or Liberal. Do not confuse your loyalty or hatred of Boris Johnson as an obstacle towards expressing outrage towards the monstrosity of the Trump presidency.
If there were to be a ‘Britain Trump’ it would most likely be Katie Hopkins, the outspoken British commentator who aims to game the attention economy through making outrageous statements. Her love for Donald Trump, unlike Boris Johnson’s which is based on a desire to secure a trade agreement, is genuine. Trump has retweeted Hopkins and she has become a regular on Fox News following his political ascendance. While Trump refers to Mexicans as racists and tells second generation Americans to ‘go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came’. She has previously described Refugees as ‘cockroaches’ and suggested that suicidal prisoners should go and kill themselves. Both revel in the instinctive othering of non-White ethnicity and gain global attention by doing so. Both disregard Climate Change. In fairness to Katie Hopkins, she seems quite a lot more capable of debate and discussion then Donald Trump and at least shows an ability to understand and deconstruct political concepts, albeit in very inflammatory ways. They both lie to enhance their publicity. On the ITV breakfast show, This Morning Hopkins explained how she judged people named after geographical places despite having a daughter called India. Before becoming President of the United States Donald Trump suddenly decided that he was ‘what do you call it? Pro life. I’m pro life’ despite having donated heavily towards pro-choice campaigns. When questioned about his ‘record of giving to the abortion guys’ Donald Trump said ‘that can be fixed. You just tell me how to fix that’. Therefore, if you ever find yourself normalising Donald Trump as president picture that your elected head of state was, not Boris Johnson, but Katie Hopkins. Now picture that she was the leader of the most powerful country on the planet. Now picture she had already served four years and was maybe on track for another four.
If politically Donald Trump is the equivalent of Katie Hopkins, comically, he gives the same impression as Sascha Baron Cohen’s Ali G, a stereotyped British wannabe gangster from Slough. Like Trump, Ali G’s laughs come from the unbelievability of what he says when in conversation with people of genuine prestige. In the Ali G in Da USAIII episode titled Politics, where Ali G in fact interviews Donald Trump about an Ice Cream glove, the Slough youth speaks to Newt Gringrich and asks ridiculous questions like ‘do you think a women will ever be president?’, ‘aint you worried that the whole cabinet would be Brad Pitt on Defence… George Clooney… and King Dong in the background’ and ‘aint there a problem that if he declares war that she’ll start crying and everything’. When speaking to James Baker, Secretary of State from 1989 until 1992, Ali G understands the term Carrots and Sticks literally asking ‘what country is gonna want carrots even if there’s like a million tons of carrots?’. Speaking to Marlin Fitzwater the White House Press Secretary from 1983 to 1992, Ali G asks ‘was there a stigmata being a male secretary did it have the same kind of stigmata as being a male nurse’. In true Trump dialogue, following the suggestion that politicians use terms like ‘swallow dis, boyakasha, wagwan’, Fitzwater replies saying ‘you can’t find five people that understand what you’re saying’ to which Ali G one ups him saying ‘I could find you five billion’. The interview is then ended following Ali G’s proposition to cough if Hilary Clinton ‘drinks from the furry cup’. Watching the Donald Trump presidency is like a four-year episode of the Ali G show. Trump, leading the country through the worst pandemic since the Spanish Flu in 1918, suggests that we inject the body with disinfectant to kill the virus. He then reminds the audience ‘I’m not a doctor but I’m like a person that has a good (points at head) you know what’. Trump then asks Dr Deborah Birx ‘have you heard about the heat and light relative to – certain viruses yes – but relative to this virus?’. When confronted by a journalist asking for ‘information… not rumours’ Trump responds saying, ‘hey Phil I’m the president and your fake news’. Trump retweets messages like ‘If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?’. In situations with the most notoriously authoritarian leaders, Trump jokingly wags his fingers and tells Vladimir Putin ‘don’t meddle in the election’. Like Ali G, the absurdity is hilarious. However, with Sascha Baron Cohen we are laughing at the ridiculousness of a stereotyped character who is knowingly making a fool out of himself in front of important people. With Trump, he genuinely is the Ali G character who is funny through virtue of his deficient ability to conduct the role he is required to play. He believes, at a moment where over 47,000 people had died in the United States, that he’s being helpful when he suggests that we pump our bodies with disinfectant. Trump’s humour got him elected as the President of the United States. The cost of our enjoyment of Ali G style stupidity has led the country towards becoming the epicentre of the Coronavirus pandemic, seen the destruction of the Iran deal, had America confidently accelerate towards four degrees of global warming in 2100 and seen the Party who oversaw the fall of the Berlin wall cosy up towards Vladimir Putin.
Trump is not Boris Johnson. This has nothing to do with leave or remain. If you need to remind just how absurd Trump’s politics are, think of Katie Hopkins as your head of state and then imagine you’re the most powerful nation on the planet. If you find yourself liking Trump because he’s funny, realise his comedy is based on the Ali-G concept of being completely unfit for his given position and translate that laughter into policy disasters from Climate Change to Authoritarianism to the tragic confrontation of the Coronavirus.