Of Monsters and Campaigns and Media and Men.
by Michael O'Brien
As the summer packs up its belongings and departs for a nice long vacation to the southern hemisphere, the students of Fordham University return to campus with fond memories of hometown friends, barbeques, days spent at the beach and the tranquil serenity of not having two response papers due on blackboard at midnight (sorry I’m projecting). Therefore; it is quite fitting that to kick off the new semester, we at the paper will now soil those nice memories by reminding everyone of all the horrible, soul-crushing, cringe-inducing shit that Donald Trump did over “Summer ‘16”. While one could write an entire book listing every questionable or outright disgusting action committed by everybody’s favorite orange and yellow colonoscopy bag, we have instead chosen to recap three events that best encompass “The Don’s” traits as a human being and presidential candidate.
1. That Time Trump Racially Profiled a Judge
Through partial (or full, depending on who you ask) fault of their own, the label “Trump Supporter” has devolved into a synonym for “racist xenophobe”. While one could somewhat entertain the idea that “not all Trump supporters” are bigots and that the calls to “Fuck those dirty beaners” heard at rallies by the crowd are indeed just a small, vocal minority in the larger Trump supporter base, there is an unavoidable reality that all Trump supporters are supporting a presidential candidate that has on multiple occasions shown xenophobic, or even fascist tendencies including but not limited to: suggesting the United States ban all Muslims from entering the country, forcing would-be immigrants to take a “Values Test” to see if they would “respect America”, being endorsed by a former KKK grand wizard, and of course, channeling his inner Jon Snow to propose a giant and impenetrable wall along the southern border to defend against Mexican rapists and thieves, just in case you forgot. The campaign’s racist undertones were intensified, when in June Mr. Trump publicly attacked Federal Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel, claiming that that due to his proposed border wall with Mexico, Judge Curiel would be unfairly biased while he was presiding over the lawsuit filed by the former students of the now shuttered “Trump University”. Trump argued that due to the judge’s Mexican descent, Curiel would possess a “conflict of interest” when handling the case. This overt statement of racial profiling drew the ire of Democrats and Republicans alike and served as evidence that Trump’s party was losing control of its candidate. In fact, instead of backtracking from his initial statements, Trump doubled down on the statement during an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” by indicating that Muslims would be similarly biased in the courtroom. When host John Dickerson stated that the United States, a nation of immigrants had a tradition of not judging individuals by their national heritage, Trump replied that “I’m, not talking about tradition, I’m talking about common sense, ok?”. Trump’s statements on this racially charged “common sense” are quite disconcerting seeing as appointing federal judges is one of the President's many responsibilities.
2. That Time Trump Insulted a Gold Star Family
Our next stop on this salt fueled train ride takes us to late July. The Democratic National Convention was in full swing, and the donkeys were doing their damndest to convince the country that perhaps the most powerful nation on the planet should probably be led by an actual adult instead of an angry manchild. One of the most powerful speakers to take the stage was the father of a Muslim soldier who had died serving as an Army captain in Iraq. With his wife standing beside him, Khizr Khan chastised the presidential nominee, stating that Trump “consistently smears the character of Muslims” and that the candidate had “sacrificed nothing and no one” and is incapable of serving others, only himself. Trump, always graceful in the face of criticism, decided to lash back, stating that Mr. Kahn delivered the entire speech because due to the family’s Islamic faith, Mrs. Kahn was not permitted to speak at the podium. In a later interview, Mr. Kahn stated that his wife had not spoken at the convention because talking about her son's death was too painful for her, he went on to say that Mr. Trump was “totally void of decency because he is unaware of how to talk to a Gold Star family and how to speak to a Gold Star mother”. Despite not speaking at the convention, Mr. Kahn stated that his wife had co-written the speech that was presented at the Convention, a speech that, unlike the one given by Mr. Trump's wife Melania, was not at all plagiarized. I understand that journalism is supposed to be objective, so let it be stated that objectively, “The Don” got out-fuckin’-played.
3. That Time Trump Backpedaled on Immigration and Everyone was Displeased
It might not be a surprise that Trump’s grandiose immigration plan has been quite a divisive topic in the American political dialogue. Despite “The wall” being less an actual proposal for border control and more of a repugnant meme that needs to die, Trump continues to insist that his plans for the wall are very real, and will be paid for by the Mexican Government. However, it has become rather apparent that Donald Trump’s fiery speech is more bark than bite, as shown this August, in an attempt to appear more electable, the candidate slightly softened his immigration stance, claiming that there needed to be a “fair” approach to dealing with the eleven million undocumented migrants in the United States. The change of tone aimed to attract more non-white and on the fence voters but ultimately backfired. Trump’s rhetoric was not nearly moderate enough to attract would be voters scared by his hardline policies; at the same time, however, his wavering on immigration angered the more dedicated Trump fanatics who saw the backpedal as the candidate betraying his followers.
Donald Trump’s inflammatory statements and campaign bungles are numerous and often; much like a water slide at a sewage treatment plant, the ride down the summer of 2016 was shitty, and the conclusion won’t be much cleaner. Even if the candidate loses the election we can most probably assume that Tiny Hands will pop back into the news headlines claiming that he was cheated out of the nomination, and that the entire election was rigged. However, until that time, the only thing left to do is watch, listen, and contemplate how we will survive if the Trump-Pocalypse comes to fruition.
Be excellent to each other, Fordham.