- Meeting between Donald Trump and Nigel Farage in New York illustrates the new political order we’ve entered
- Theresa May sidelined and yet again shown to be nothing but a reincarnation of irrelevance akin to Gordon Brown
- ‘The Donald’ considers living in Trump Tower instead of the White House
- Trump’s dodgy transition team appointments questioned
Yesterday, in New York, Donald Trump hooked up with his ‘BBF’ (‘Best British Friend’) Nigel Farage and his UKIP bankrolling crony Aaron Banks to discuss “freedom and winning”.
The meeting provided indication of how irrelevant British Prime Minister Theresa May truly is in the scheme of things and, like or loathe him, shows that Farage’s star is once again on the ascent. As well as posing for a photo in a gold-plated elevator at Trump Tower, the billionaire property businessman and Farage are said to have had an “incredibly productive” discussion and, later, the interim UKIP leader tweeted: “Especially pleased at @realDonaldTrump’s very positive reaction to idea that Sir Winston Churchill’s bust should be put back in Oval Office”.
Aside from the implications of effectively issuing an “up yours” to Theresa May, whose Conservative colleagues frequently insulted ‘The Donald’ throughout the campaign, the significance of the Farage-Trump “golden welcome” (as the Mail Online referenced it) is that it provides illustration of how the new leader of the free world plans to govern.
Whilst “heartbroken” Hillary Clinton would have undoubtedly continued to follow historical precedence by surrounding herself with what Trump refers to as “the swamp of Washington”, on Friday The New York Times suggested that the “homebody” billionaire is “talking with his advisers about how many nights a week he will spend in the White House”. They added: “He has told them he would like to what he is used to, which is spending time in New York when he can”.
The theme of “embracing being himself” and “ditching convention” follows in the way that Trump has reclaimed direct control of his @realDonaldTrump Twitter account but where ‘The Donald’ has already caved in is on “not necessarily repealing Obamacare” and his choice of cronies and advisors.
The appointment of Peter Thiel to the Trump transition team, for example, might have been lauded as proof that the President-elect is tolerant (given Thiel is gay), but what should be remembered is that this Silicon Valley venture capitalist is also known for being the man whose bitter vendetta resulted in the closure of the popular news site Gawker. In ‘How Things Work’, a brilliantly written final post on the site he setup, Gawker’s Nick Denton illustrated Thiel’s extremist beliefs and quoted him directly:
“I think they [Gawker] should be described as terrorists, not as writers or reporters. I don’t understand the psychology of people who would kill themselves and blow up buildings”.
“I saw Gawker pioneer a unique and incredibly damaging way of getting attention by bullying people even when there was no connection with the public interest… [Gawker is a source of] nasty articles that attacked and mocked people”.
In summary, Thiel, once described as a “crackpot libertarian”, is anything but a proponent of free speech. Equally worrying – and highlighted in The Huffington Post on Saturday – is that others joining to advise Trump include Mike Pence, a believer in “conversion therapy” for gays; Ben Carson, who compared homosexuality to paedophilia and incest, and Ken Blackwell, a man with a view that homosexuality is a compulsion akin to arson and kleptomania. These are people that will do anything but heal America and they need to be highlighted for the bigots that they truly are.
Returning to The New York Times, on Friday Eric Lipton wrote: “Donald Trump campaigned against lobbyists, but now they’re on his transition team”. Of the 4,000 political appointees expected, Lipton highlighted how “the transition team advisers are far from independent”. They include Dan DiMicco, a former chief executive of the steelmaking company Nucor and current director of Duke Energy, Michael Torrey, a lobbyist whose clients have included the American Beverage Association and the dairy giant Dean Foods and Michael Catanzaro, another lobbyist whose portfolio numbers Devon Energy and Encana Oil & Gas.
In response to these appointments, Bruce F. Freed summed up what many are already beginning to realise about the reality Trump. He told The New York Times:
“This is one of the reasons you had such anger among voters – people rigging the system. This represents more of the same”.
Freed is quite right in his analysis. We have entered a very dangerous era and we end by sharing the words of the Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. He passionately wrote to his daughter this week and concluded: “The battle isn’t over, it’s just begun. I will not hand my daughter a country shaped by hateful and stupid men”.