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Op Ed on the Ill Effects of a Trump Presidency by Frank J. Batavick

Attention Trump supporters! Hop into my time machine and transport yourselves back to early June 2015. Now, what if I had told you back then that the candidate you would eventually champion for the U.S. presidency would also have the solid support of the KKK, North Korea, ISIS, a European fascist, and the Chinese Communists? What would your reaction have been? Still the simplistic “Anyone but Hillary”? I doubt it. I think you would have thought me delusional, but that’s exactly what’s happened.

Last February, white nationalist and former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, David Duke told his radio audience, “Voting for these people (other primary candidates), voting against Donald Trump at this point, is really treason to your heritage… I support voting for him as a strategic action. I hope he does everything we hope he will do.” On May 31, North Korea’s state media outlet DPRK published an editorial that called Trump a "wise politician" and said he could be good for North Korea because “Trump said he will not get involved in the war between the South and the North, isn’t this fortunate from North Korea’s perspective?” Two weeks ago Michael Hayden, the former head of both the CIA and the NSA, offered, “The jihadist narrative is that there is undying enmity between Islam and the modern world so when Trump says they all hate us, he’s using their narrative … he’s feeding their recruitment video.”

Any second thoughts out there about Trump yet? No? Then what if the former leader of France’s National Front Party, Jean-Marie Le Pen, also became a booster? Le Pen, nicknamed the “Devil of the Republic” because of his minimizing of the Holocaust and hateful anti-immigrant rhetoric, has tweeted, "If I were American, I'd vote Donald Trump." And as for the Chinese Communists, Hong Kong television commentator Wu Jun observed recently that despite Trump’s anti-Beijing rhetoric, he “could in fact be the best president for China” because of his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement that’s designed to block Chinese trade dominance in the region.

Trumpistas, does any of this give you pause; make you want to second guess just who exactly you are throwing your lot in with? No? Well, then only an endorsement from the Prince of Darkness himself might turn you around. Trump hasn’t received that yet, but take note that his name, Donald Drumpf (Trump’s original family surname), is comprised of six characters each, giving us 66. Alas, his middle name is John, and 646 is not quite the sign of the beast, but pretty damn close, as El Diablo might say.

In all seriousness, a Trump presidency would be a disaster for the U.S. and a triumph for our domestic and foreign enemies. His brand of nativism feeds the country’s worst instincts, as witness David Duke’s support. His lack of foreign policy experience will be exploited by everyone from North Korea to China, and his anti-Muslim rhetoric is counter-productive as we attempt to put more Middle Eastern boots on the ground to battle ISIS.

Equally important is Trump’s temperament. He doesn’t abide criticism or anyone, for that matter, who isn’t part of his worshipping posse. Ask some fair questions in late May about that largely undisbursed cash he raised in January for veterans’ groups, and he’ll spend almost 40 minutes insulting reporters, calling them "dishonest," "not good people," and “sleazy.” On other occasions, he has lambasted the press as "scum," "slime," and "disgusting."

Some may think this funny, and it might be if the presidency was just another reality show. But the office held by Washington and Lincoln should be far above such tawdry behavior. Journalists serve as our valued advocates, dragging misdeeds, from the banal to the impeachable, into the light of day. Their unimpeded work is essential to maintaining a free society, and if Trump can’t abide what they unearth about broken promises to veterans or the shell game that was Trump University, then he doesn’t have the temperament for the Oval Office.

Whatever your thoughts about Obama, he has never indulged in such petty name-calling, even while some media zanily questioned his U.S. citizenship and Christian faith. He has wisely maintained the honor of the office twice awarded him by the American people.

To all of you Trump supporters, is he really the one you want in the White House? If so, what price victory?  

Frank Batavick is a graduate of Gloucester Catholic (‘63) and La Salle University ('67) with over 40 years of experience as a television writer/producer/director for public TV and media companies in IN and NJ.  He has also served as adjunct faculty and visiting professor in Communications at colleges and universities in NY and MD. Frank now lives in MD with his wife Dori (GCHS, ‘63), where he is the vice chair of the Historical Society of Carroll County’s board of trustees, editor of the Carroll History Journal, and a weekly columnist and occasional feature writer for the Carroll County Times.

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