Our Crack Tongue & Groove
America’s Jimmy Savile
First up: I’m not accusing Donald Trump of being a paedophile. But let’s face facts - it’s about the only thing that he isn’t. A racist? This is a man who spent years trying to “prove” that the US’s first black president wasn’t an American; who castigated Mexicans as rapists; referred to Africa as containing “shithole countries”; and who wants a complete shutdown of immigration into the US from predominantly Muslim countries. His words and actions have given succour to white supremacists, not just in the US, but all over the world.
A homophobe? Since being in office he has continually tried to reverse LGBT gains with a wave of so-called religious-freedom laws, which, effectively, legalise discrimination against gays and trans people.
A sexist? Where do you want to start? But his own words cannot be repeated enough: “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ‘em by the pussy. You can do anything.” (And to be clear: that’s not just an admission of sexism; that’s an admission of sexual molestation.)
Of course, all of this stuff is widely known about Trump, but his supporters, who continually give him high approval ratings, don’t care about any of this as long as they feel like he is still going out to bat for them.
But there is one thing that people may look back on in years to come and say, “It was so obvious!” and that’s his dealings with Russia. They could be his “hiding in plain sight” moment.
The facts are that Russia attacked the US election in 2016 with the explicit aim of getting Trump elected. We also know that members of Trump’s campaign team – including Trump’s son – met up with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer who claimed to have some damaging information about Hilary Clinton. It all reeks to high heaven and, despite Trump trying to shut down the investigation by continually referring to it as a “witch-hunt”, it is still ongoing. (It’s a witch-hunt, incidentally, that has currently yielded 20 indictments and five guilty pleas.)
Even when Trump had the chance to distance himself from Russia in the recent summit he chose instead to double down on his Putin love, taking the word of the former KGB man over his own intelligence agencies: “He [Putin] said it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
His words – which have the ring of divided loyalties at best, and are treasonous at worst – should have set alarm bells ringing throughout the United States. But - just as happened with Savile – people are turning a blind eye to his actions. Those facilitating Trump however are not 1970s TV bosses, but the racists, homophobes, xenophobes and evangelicals who venerate the man who tickles their bellies. They’re not making America great; they’re making themselves complicit.