Trump's a Nationalist. That's What All Presidents Should Be!

Thomas Friedman is a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner with a distinguished career as columnist, reporter, author and TV host. I have admired him and his work for as long as he has been visible. I’ve never met him but our careers overlapped in London and we both spent time in Beirut.

Recently he wrote a column called, “George Washington for President.” The subtitle was, “Patriots put love of their own people first, while nationalists put hate for other people first.”  This came right after President Trump proclaimed himself to be a nationalist.

Friedman really teed off on the president, calling him a

...disturbed man whose job description – to be a healer of the country in times of great national hurt and to pull us together to do big hard things that can only be done together – conflicts with his political strategy, which is to divide us and mobilize his base with anger and fear.

Thomas Friedman, World Economic Forum, 2013 (photo credit World Economic Forum)

With that, my admiration for Friedman took a deep dive. I had to ask myself: is this the comment of a rational or even sane person?  Here’s my problem with Mr. Friedman. He managed to avoid the real situation and in fact spun diametrically away from the real story of Donald Trump and those who would destroy him.

Oh, Friedman also said, “Our country is in danger.”  Well, at least we agree on that sound bite.

In recent times, trying to play the role of healer and unifier has been a weakness for Republicans, such as George W. Bush and Mitt Romney. They and others, including  Reagan and even McCain, tried to various degrees to act as healers and unifiers. But the other side had no intention of letting them get away with that.

These Republican presidents and candidates let themselves be turned into punching bags taking the crap thrown at them while trying to be perceived as "presidential" by remaining above it all.  Remember, "Bush lied, people died!"?  Remember the full pass McCain and Romney both gave Obama on so many critical issues including his relationships with Frank Marshall Davis, Louis Farrakhan, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, Tony Rezko, Rashid Khalidi, George Soros, Sayed Hassan AlQazwini and others?

Now, the liberals and progressives are outraged that President Trump refuses to play traditional Republican, that is, refuses to play patsy. Their heads have been exploding over it. Listen to the late night talk show crowd, left wing Hollywood types, the pussy hat crowd, crazy Democrat politicians, Antifa mobs and other radical groups funded by George Soros. Tell me Tom, who is really blasting away with anger and fear?

And since November of 2016, it’s been going on non-stop day and night on a daily basis.  And then there’s the media itself, the big three broadcast networks, CNN and MSNBC. On these networks, Trump has been called a “white supremacist,” a “Nazi,” a “virus,” “unfit to be human,” a “bigot” and other lovely terms. Tom, talk about dividing the country! Hint: It ain’t Trump.

This is what Friedman is not discussing or dealing with.  The abuse and hatred aimed at Trump, starting the moment of his inauguration, has been unprecedented.   It explains perfectly why the role of healer has not only been not possible, but not appropriate.

It's the same reason Israel has not been able to make peace with the Muslim Arabs. Much of the other side doesn't want peace except 100% on their terms.

We are in a low-grade civil war.  These are the people who intimidated and basically destroyed the reputation and presidency of George W. Bush (who, regardless of what you thought of his politics was one of the most decent men to ever be president). He was totally disrespected and made to look weak. It set the stage for Obama.

This is why we love Trump. He is our Netanyahu. Yes, it's a terrible time. The opportunity for healing at present is minimal. If Trump doesn't fight to protect America from these people, our country will irreversibly slip into socialism or worse and will be totally taken over by the Antifa thugs, the leftist academics who have already shut down free speech in our universities, the progressives who are demanding open borders, the left wing media that has become a cheering squad for the Democrat Party, the Democrat election fraud ballot stuffers,  anti-Semites, and the likes of Maxine Waters, Al Sharpton, Keith Ellison, Linda Sarsour, Louis Farrakhan, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Andrew Gillum and the rest of them. Somehow Friedman didn’t get around to mentioning all of this. Maybe there wasn’t enough space.

The Trump now infamous press conference last Wednesday with Jim Acosta was highly revealing. For those who didn’t watch it, all you probably know about it is that Trump got into a shouting match with the great grandstander CNN reporter Jim Acosta, who was subsequently barred from the White House. That sucked all the oxygen out of the story. So of course what Trump really said was ignored.

But did Friedman or any of Trump’s detractors pay any attention to Trump’s important comments?  The President made a number of conciliatory statements during the press conference that any fair person would say were attempts at unifying the country.

“Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  And I give her a lot of credit.  She works very hard, and she’s worked long and hard.  I give her a great deal of credit for what she’s done and what she’s accomplished. Hopefully, we can all work together next year to continue delivering for the American people, including on economic growth, infrastructure, trade, lowering the cost of prescription drugs.  These are some of things that the Democrats do want to work on, and I really believe we’ll be able to do that.  I think we’re going to have a lot of reason to do it.”

Trump went on to say,

“I really think, and I really respected what Nancy said last night about bipartisanship and getting together and uniting.  She used the word “uniting” and she used the word the bipartisanship statement, which is so important because that’s what we should be doing."

And then this,

“Now is the time for members of both parties to join together, put partisanship aside, and keep the American economic miracle going strong.  It is a miracle.  We’re doing so well.  And I’ve said it at a lot of rallies.  Some of you have probably heard it so much you don’t want to hear it again.  But when people come to my office — presidents, prime ministers — they all congratulate me, almost the first thing, on what we’ve done economically.  Because it is really amazing.”

I haven’t been able to comb through all of the reporting on the press conference, but my guess is none of the MSM headlined or even reported this huge olive branch that Trump threw out. Certainly CNN didn’t. The event was overshadowed by Acosta and another reporter who tried to bait the President with a white nationalist comment. Trump aggressively and appropriately pushed back.

 “Hi, Mr. President.  Yamiche Alcindor with PBS NewsHour.  On the campaign trail, you called yourself a nationalist.  Some people saw that as emboldening white nationalists.  Now people are also saying . . . .

THE PRESIDENT:  I don’t know why you’d say that.  That’s such a racist question.

Q:   There are some people that say that now the Republican Party is seen as supporting white nationalists because of your rhetoric.  What do you make of that?

THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, I don’t believe that . . . . . Why do I have my highest poll numbers ever with African Americans?  . . . That’s such a racist question.”

Trump was understandably insulted by the question and said so. This is what people like this woman and Friedman refuse to understand about Trump. In fact, they don’t want to understand him. They hate him so badly, they can’t do their jobs. Or, in some cases, hate has become their job.

I believe Trump tends to see Americans as just Americans regardless of sex, color, gender or any other inherited characteristic. He doesn’t play the identity politics game that the left thrives on. Friedman quoted Charles de Gaulle as saying, Nationalists put hate for other people first.” Trump’s answer: “I love my country.”

That’s what they don’t want to hear. That’s the Trump message they want to bury. Yes, there are white nationalists. Our country also has more than its share of communists, socialists, progressives and anarchists. But just as all left-wingers don’t fit into those categories,  it’s unfair and outrageous to stick Trump and other nationalists with the label of white nationalist.

For America, Trump is the right man for the times we are in. He’s a fighter and a brawler. He has been belligerent and rude and, at times, even over the top. But any fair-minded person can see this is what Trump has been faced with from the beginning. Trump is both a patriot and a nationalist who puts America and Americans first. He clearly loves our country and wants to see it succeed.. That’s been apparent in all the interviews he has given over the years. But he will not be bullied by these people. That's what Friedman doesn't seem to comprehend or want to talk about.

Frank Hawkins is a former U.S. Army intelligence officer, Associated Press foreign correspondent, international businessman, senior newspaper company executive, founder and owner of several marketing companies and published novelist.  He currently lives in retirement in North Carolina.

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