Bet­ter off with­out it

The Guardian - Journal - - News -

Mr Trump is never go­ing to get that sup­port to­day.

He is the elected leader of a very great na­tion, but his ar­rival here this week is a visit that this coun­try would be bet­ter off with­out. It shames those who of­fered it so pre­ma­turely and fool­ishly. Lit­tle good and much dif­fi­culty is likely to come of it. There are many rea­sons for feel­ing the un­usual sense of out­rage and vi­o­la­tion that at­tach to the Trump visit to Bri­tain. Mr Trump’s per­sonal char­ac­ter and be­hav­iour are more than enough rea­son for many. They cer­tainly be­long on any list of ob­jec­tions to his pres­ence here, for he is one of the most un­suit­able peo­ple to hold his great demo­cratic of­fice in Amer­i­can his­tory. But it is Mr Trump’s pol­i­tics, his ex­pressed views, his ac­tual ac­tions, and above all his ef­fect and his in­ten­tions that are the fun­da­men­tal is­sues.

The charge list against Mr Trump is long, unig­nor­able and im­pos­si­ble to tol­er­ate. Mo­rally, it is headed by the racism of the im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies he was so proud of in Brus­sels yes­ter­day, the cru­elty of their en­force­ment, es­pe­cially in the sep­a­ra­tion of chil­dren from their par­ents, the racism to which he gives en­cour­age­ment at home, and the taunt­ing and vis­ceral threat to the rights and dig­ni­ties of women, peo­ple of colour, and LGBT peo­ple, who are all now di­rectly threat­ened by his lat­est supreme court nom­i­na­tion. He has ig­no­rantly spurned the threat from cli­mate change, has sucked up to tyrants, has con­ducted an un­prece­dented cam­paign against the free press, launched a trade war, in­sulted Amer­ica’s al­lies, praised Amer­ica’s en­e­mies and made dan­ger­ous mis­chief in the do­mes­tic and re­gional pol­i­tics of count­less parts of the world. Only this week, head­ing for Europe, he in­sulted Ger­many and said meet­ing Vladimir Putin would be easy work com­pared with his meet­ings in Brus­sels and Bri­tain.

Over the cen­tury there have been US pres­i­den­tial vis­i­tors to Bri­tain whose poli­cies were de­struc­tive, with whom we did not agree and whose pres­ence here as guests was dif­fi­cult to nav­i­gate. Mr Trump, though, is dif­fer­ent. He is unique in his ego­tis­ti­cal dis­re­spect for in­ter­na­tional or­der and agree­ment, his overt mal­ice to­wards long-term al­lies and in­sti­tu­tions, his shame­less dis­re­gard for truth, and his clear will­ing­ness to make trou­ble and do di­rect harm to Eu­ro­pean na­tions like ours. This puts him into an al­to­gether dif­fer­ent cat­e­gory from his pre­de­ces­sors. All these, from Wil­son on­wards, pro­fessed and – less con­sis­tently – prac­tised sup­port for in­ter­na­tional or­der and rules in which the US was a lead­ing part­ner and in­dis­pens­able bul­wark. Mr Trump does not.

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