Trump Hatred: Is It The Message or the Messenger?
Trump derangement syndrome is the new political disease afflicting not only Democrats, but also much of the political establishment, including Republicans and the #NeverTrump crowd. Some of this is natural when a Republican is in the White House, as we saw during the George W. Bush presidency. Remember “Bush Derangement Syndrome”? This year a new strain has emerged, more virulent, and potentially fatal to the weak and feeble-minded, namely establishment Republicans.
Is this over-the-top hatred of anything and everything Trump based on Trump’s policy initiatives? Or is it personal, based simply on the persona of Donald Trump?
Could it be his message during the campaign and now into his Presidency? Things like, “The era of big Government is over.” Or the initiative to, “Take our streets back from crime and gangs and drugs.” Or a goal of, “Eliminating 16,000 pages of unnecessary rules and regulations, shifting more decision-making out of Washington, back to States and local communities.” Harsh words from Trump. No wonder no one likes him. Oh, wait! These words were from Bill Clinton in his 1996 State of the Union address.
Perhaps Trump’s stand on immigration is the cause of the derangement syndrome. Assertions like: “Because we live in an age where terrorists are challenging our borders, we simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, and unchecked.” Or these sentiments, mentioned frequently on the campaign trail. “Americans are right to demand better border security and better enforcement of the immigration laws.” No wonder both Democrats and Republicans are against Trump, for as they like to say, “This is not who we are.” Oh, wait again. Those are not Donald Trump quotes, instead they are the words of Senator Barack Obama in a 2006 Senate floor speech.
Maybe it’s his so-called “Muslim Ban” as described by much of the fake-news mainstream media, including the New York Times and Washington Post. Bad policy in the new “Can’t we all just get along” world of Obama and the progressives. Forgetting some minor details, however. Such as the word “Muslim” not appearing anywhere in Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order. And the fact that the seven countries mentioned in the order were identified by the Obama administration back in 2015 as “countries of concern.” Or that other Muslim-majority countries such as Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are not included in the executive order.
Clearly President Trump is instituting or reinforcing the policies of his presidential predecessors. When Presidents Clinton or Obama proposed these ideas, there were no protests or riots. No intervention by appeals courts. No calls for impeachment. In fact, the Washington Post heralded Clinton’s 1996 SOTU address as the “3rd most memorable” such speech.
What about the Republicans? Why are so many of them still in the #NeverTrump mode they have been in since Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015? His recent address to Congress should have been Christmas morning to true Republicans.
Job creation. Reduced regulations. Bolstering defense and veterans spending. Tax cuts. Obamacare repeal. School choice. A merit-based immigration system. “The Wall” along the southern border. Honoring a fallen Navy Seal. Addressing big city crime. And finally, Trump uttering the verboten “radical Islamic terrorism”.
His speech could be the mission statement of The Heritage Foundation or the Tea Party. A conservative wish list. Nothing about “compassionate conservatism” or “a kinder and gentler nation.”
Yet here we are, six weeks into the Trump presidency, with everyone out to get him. No surprise from the media and their Democratic Party cousins. But where is Republican support for Trump? Or for cabinet members like Attorney General Jeff Sessions under unwarranted and relentless assault by the media and Democrats? With calls for resignation and impeachment, Republicans, and self-described conservatives like John McCain, Lindsay Graham, and even former President George W. Bush are sitting on their hands just as the white-clothed (isn’t that racist?) Democrat women did during Trump’s big congressional speech.
Meaning it’s not about policy at all. Only personality. Democrats will support policy a they propose, but oppose the same policy if it comes from a Republican. How’s that for leadership? No wonder they lost 1,200 elected seats in the past eight years. How about Republicans? If it were President Jeb or President Marco giving the same speech Trump gave, I suspect the GOP would be doing back flips and celebrating like they won the Super Bowl.
But since it’s Donald Trump, political outsider, not part of the establishment, not influenced by the donor class and their money, everyone hates him. Instead of measured words on the Sunday talk shows during the campaign, Trump gave off-the-cuff telephone interviews and speeches and spread his message via Twitter. Rather than respecting the GOP elders, he called them out. The Bushes, including “low energy Jeb.” Or McCain and Graham. Or Paul Ryan. Or Ted Cruz. No one was safe from Trump’s nicknames and sharp tongue.
It has become personal and that is where it sits now. Opposition to Trump is not about policy but about hurt feelings. He has a more conservative cabinet than Reagan and most of his policy initiatives should be a dream come true for conservatives.
From the Democrats and their media allies, this resistance should be no surprise. But shame on the Republicans. If Trump hadn’t won on Nov. 8, the Republican Party would be over. Infighting after such a loss would destroy the GOP and lead to several third parties. A Clinton presidency would seal the electoral, social and judicial fate of the country for generations, a fall to the left side of the political spectrum that America could not recover from.
A time for choosing for Republicans. Policy or persona. A last chance to change the trajectory of America, assuming you really want that. Or cutting off your political nose to spite your face. Letting your president dangle in the wind because you don’t like his personality. His style. His tweets. If you don’t stand for something, you stand for nothing.
Brian C Joondeph, MD, MPS, is a Denver-based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.