Trumpocracy – The Corruption of the American Republic- David Frum


Dear Partners in thought,

I wanted to tell you about David Frum’s “Trumpocracy – The Corruption of the American Republic”, as it is a well written book – probably the best of its kind – with deep insights about the ills of the Trump leadership, but also because DF, a senior editor at The Atlantic, is actually a Republican of the unquestionable conservative flavour of the intellectual W.F. Buckley kind. DF’s background thus makes for a very unusual read and his account of its voyage into the Trump Presidency all the more interesting. For those familiar with the classics, his book is an articulate study or rulership, dealing with DT’s exercise of power and neither his charming personality nor its few debatable early “results” (good and bad), and has an ancient Greek philosophical ring to it, hence its overall title. It is a study of how DT gained power, has used it and why it has not been really checked yet. I would personally see rulership, persona and style linked in the case of DT but understands that DF wanted to look at “facts” in a world where they are indeed debatable and distorted at will.

Having made the point that the period 1975-2000 marked a rise of democracy around the world and the subsequent one its decline globally, DF made the point that the U.S. were not concerned with that latter trend until the latest presidential elections and DT’s victory in 2016. Hoping back in 2015 that DT could be the wake up call that the Republican Party needed, DF decided to write a book that was published in early 2018 to dissect the inner democratic problems brought by the DT win from the ventage point of a clearly alarmed conservative, thus part of voters who would have naturally backed the Republican candidate in 2016 (The FT’s Edward Luce, father of the topic of “The Retreat of Western liberalism”, made a very useful multiple FT Weekend review of key books dealing with the matter, including DF’s right at its publication. For the sake of the originality of my note and while I thoroughly enjoyed Ed’s review, I did not go back to it when writing it, so all similarities are based on likely shared analysis).

DF’s focus is not on the fear that DT could overthrow the Constitution, but borrowing from French philosopher Montesquieu, whom the Founding Fathers studied closely, that he could paralyse governance stealthily, accumulating the subversion of norms and inciting private violence to radicalise supporters. DF stresses that DT operates not by strategy but by instincts, sniffing his opponents’ vulnerabilities with smears like “low energy”, “little” “crooked” or the famous “fake”, focusing on his discovery that Americans resent each other more than they cherish their shared democracy. DF also tells the story of those who have enabled, empowered, supported and collaborated with DT and without whom DT would be left isolated and indeed helpless. He stresses that there was already a natural, uncivil landscape ready to accept DT’s messages long before he came to power. He talks about indifference and incompetence dealing with major crises. He reminds us that some of DT’s ideas at the beginning of the campaign appeared fresh and balanced like with the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) reforms, tax cuts and middle class empowerment, leading some voters, especially conservatives, to believe in a healthy wake-up call. He covers the disastrous and self-wounding impact he has had on world affairs and America’s 75 year relationship with its allies. He goes into the real resentments of many Americans, so called left-outs, who were aptly channeled and ensured a DT win while others who should have, did not vote, both segments ensuring a DT win. Finally he would like Republicans and Conservatives to be able to open a debate about DT and his impact on American democracy beyond partisan politics – and he finishes on a hopeful note, stressing the importance of civic engagement.

DF focuses on key features of his study of rulership in twelve chapters, which I will cover broadly.

In Pre-existing Conditions, DF stresses that DT did not create the environment where constitutional democracy was broken as the rules of the game had been already broken some years ago. He dates the last time when rules worked to the defeat of George HW Bush to Bill Clinton when the former graciously congratulated the latter and called for all Americans to support his winning rival as the new President. The victory of George W Bush over Al Gore in 2000 which was cemented by the Supreme Court marked the shift to a different discourse and environment in American politics. rather than bargains and compromises, all-or-nothing politics emerged as the order of the day. As DF states, DT did not create the vulnerabilities he exploited as they were waiting for him, largely built by the irresponsibilities of the elites, the arrogance of party leaders and the insularity of the wealthy, many of whom donors.

In Enablers, DF explains that DT would have been alone and could not have made it without the support of various key stakeholders such as i) a conservative entertainment propaganda complex; ii) fellow candidates for President who thought they could use him; iii) a Republican Party machine that submitted to him; iv) a donor site who funded him; v) a congressional party that protected him; vi) writers and intellectuals who invented excuses for him; and vii) millions of rank-and-file Republicans who accepted him.

In Appeasers, DF talks about Jeb Bush who was the presumptive winner with all the party apparatus behind him and the largest financial backing ever but who crated within seven weeks of launching his campaign. He goes through the early loneliness of DT and the opposition of virtually all the tenors and key donors of the Republican Party, only to find them changing their mind as DT gradually secured the nomination, rationalising their backing as DT being a better choice than Hillary Clinton, the latter that would be an “unthinkably catastrophic outcome”. Fox News that was relatively ambivalent if not hostile about Trump initially (Megyn Kelly, the then future of the network before “leaving” it post-election, becoming DT”s nemesis after her attacks centered on his treatment of women) became a stalwart supporter though would start paying this in 2017 in lower viewer ratings.

Incidentally it would appear that even key Republican leaders, all of them but Mike Pence trying his best to defuse a very embarrassing and unprecedented situation in modern American presidential history can experience second thoughts when confronted with DT’s communication at the Helsinki joint press conference and his kind handling of Russia and its leader at the end of his summit with President Putin on 16th July (to be noted on a Reuters-Ipsos poll still 71% of Republican supporters still approved of DT on this matter while 55% of all Americans disapproved).

In Plunder, DF mostly talks about corruption in the US (actually only 18th on the Transparency International’s corruption index) giving examples of cosy deals having involved Newt Gingrich and Tom Daschle, both leaders of the House at different times and from different parties. We see that DT became the first President and in fact senior “politician” to refuse to disclose his tax returns, a practice instituted by George Romney, Mitt’s father and then Governor of Michigan, in 1968. The focus is on DT and his family, including the Kushners, who hold records in spending public money to sustain their life style (each Mar-a-Lago jaunt costs at least USD 3m – the cost of the carts for security running at USD 60,000 a year, while the Kushner family ski trip to Aspen in May 2017 cost USD 300,000 to the taxpayers), making the overall spending of DT in one year equivalent of what Obama spent in eight. Nepotism in the DT age is obviously well covered by DT. It actually makes for fun reading if one can forget the significance of such behavior that DT’s supporters are either not aware of or not interested in focusing on. The subject of conflict of interest, unwitting or not, is very clear with the Trump hotel in DC having seen much increased occupancy from foreign visitors since DT’s elevation, but also DT’s business team working hard on a license for Trump Tower Moscow until January 2016 while Jared was in ultimately stopped negotiations with Chinese insurer Ambang to refinance the 666 building on Fifth avenue with its owner very much wanting to meet the President and Chinese investors being promised “investor visas” in a New Jersey property whose marketing was run by his sister. DF makes a very easy case for a very co-mingled way between public funding and private interests in the Trump family. The ethical safeguards set up by the extended Trump family are derisory according to DF, who shows an endless list of conflicts of interest which put DT as a record holder for “firsts” of what not to do for a President in many years. Last areas reviewed by DF are the sackings and delayed appointments of US attorneys, including the highly “unusual” personal DT interview of the one for the District of Columbia with potential criminal jurisdiction for his staff and himself. Lastly, nepotism, which is an art form at the current White House, goes through amazing public examples such as when Ivanka replaced her father at the G20 table in Hamburg in 2017. The conflict of interests problems experienced by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross last week only stresses the common feature of the Trump Administration and its strange rapport with money and business interests.

In Betrayal, DF covers the meaness with which DT can denigrate or embarrass close advisers at any moment for any reason. DF gave the example of Sean Spicer, then Press Secretary and a devout Catholic, who was not put on the list to meet the Pope while others, far more junior, staff were. DF goes into DT’s habit of appointing deferential, servile individuals to work around him as key features going along with unquestionable loyalty. DT hates criticism (unsurprisingly) and expects huge amount of flattery (also unsurprisingly). He prizes fulsome tributes from his staff such as “I am privileged to be here – deeply honored – and I want to thank you for your commitment to the American workers” (SecLabour) or “It was a great honor traveling with you around the country for the last year and even a greater honour to be here serving on your cabinet” (SecTreasury) and quite a few other memorable quotes which other Presidents, notably GW Bush, for whom DF worked, would hate. DT embarrassed H.R. McMaster, the most admired soldier of his generation, by changing the script of his NATO speech in Sicily in May 2017 forcing him to live with it and defend the changes as perfectly fine and expectable. Those working for DT need to live through the betrayals of their own principles. Quoting Thomas More, DF stresses “the point where crossing a line, even an arbitrary one, means letting go without hope of ever finding yourself again”. What is the most surprising is probably the high risk that young staffers take in working with and for DT given the stigma that is going to be attached to their name and career long after their service, and which explains te relative dearth of young quality staffers at the top of the Trump Administration. Another feature commented by DF is the rise of the “Mini-Trumps” around DT, who incidentally are no band of brothers and easily turn on each other, also given the unhealthy environment at the White House. These Mini-Trumps, who show total obedience and display grotesque flattery to their leader, are exemplified by Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci, the very brief Communications Director – read Edward Luce’s Lunch with the FT, one of the most incredible pieces of the genre – or Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary: “He’s got perfect genes. He has incredible energy and he’s unbelievably healthy” to describe a President he sees as very engaged on multiple fronts all the time while actually DT is clearly known for poor work ethics, little attention span and clear problems with obesity, bad diet and a dogmatic refusal of exercise. All entering the Trump Administration for non selfish motives would sooner or later find themselves betrayed by a President who demands loyalty in its most servile form but never returns it.

In Enemies of the People, DF deals DT’s relationship with the news media which is a key focus for him. Of DT’s 770 Tweets in his six months of Presidency, attacks on the media were the largest topical segment with 85 Tweets, usually stressing FAKE NEWS. CNN, The New York Times and NBC News, but also The Washington Post (and Amazon given Jeff Bezos’s ownership) are the main targets. The attacks are focused on news media that are critical of his actions and policies and as such are not so much “his enemies” as they are those “of the American people”. DT holds the record for the most untruths based on various organisations dealing and ranking such features, the exact list of which, for the main ones, we will remember. His close team does not hesitate to threaten the press like with Kellyanne Conway DT’s favourite enforcer, tells Meet The Press’s Chuck Todd that unwelcome questions would provoke some unspecified reprisal and “a rethink of our relationship”. DT simply enjoys a world where media is reduced to “the sycophancy of Fox News & Friends” and “Hannity”. DT’s approach is to delegitimise accountability journalism by framing it as partisan. DT is unequivocal as he speaks unlike a politician, usually very directly which is perceived as clarity and frankness by supporters, which however is not the same thing as being honest. DT lies without qualm or remorse and if necessary will lie about the lie itself. As DF states, he lies blatantly to assert power over truth itself, his main objective being to feed his message to his core supporter base. DT also incites violence when addressing supporters in his rants about some of the news media, such as “I truly don’t think they like our country”, touching a key trigger point of his base, at times whipping the crowds at rallies into fevered chants like “CNN Sucks” and leading attendees to shout epithets at targeted reporters. DF finally goes into the matter of Russian-originated fake news modus operandi and infrastructure, which may have benefited DT during the campaign even if the subject of collusion is still under investigation.

In Rigged System, DF goes into some of the reasons the 2016 results were what they were, well beyond the vagaries of the Electoral College system and the 2.9 millions more votes for Clinton, most of which were “illegal votes” according to DT though he did not press the matter. The matter of illegal votes is a perennial issue in American politics and simply relates to the fact that individuals move from state to state from birth, college, jobs, marriages and that the voter registrations sometimes stay unchanged, making them able in theory to vote in several states. It looks like, whether this matter should be fixed, it would be quite unpractical and would require incredible efforts for people to vote in several states on election day, though on-line voting and mail voting may create some leeways. It is thus hard to think that elections could be swayed by a massive multiple vote conspiracy. On the other hand, one of the strange changes of the 2016 section compared with the 2012 one is for DF the massive decline in participation of African-American voters, whose ethnic group share of the vote went from 65 percent in 2012 to 58 percent in 2016, which is the steepest decline of voter participation for any ethnic group in American election history. While the absence of an Obama they would feel naturally close to and the presence of a Clinton they might not all relate to is an undeniable fact, it would seem that the surge of Republican victories at the state and local levels during the Obama period (Only seven states out of 50 were controlled by Dems in 2016) may explain the shift due to a substantial rise of changes in voting procedures, the most important since the Reconstruction post-1865. Republican states went through a change in early voting, weekend voting and online voting that had an impact on those voters, especially in minority groups, who did not control their working time as well as others or were not tech-savvy or following the rule changes. DF is then covering the targeting of those responsible for what he calls the “rigged system”, notably against ordinary, working class, Americans, pointing to the likes of financier George Soros, FED Chair Janet Yellen and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein as the main “agents of global special interests robbing the working class, stripping the country of its wealth and lining the pockets of corporations and political entities” (It should be noted that The Anti-Defamation League made a quick and concerned statement about the anti-semitic undertones of DT’s attack, which in many ways was strange when knowing DT’s strong closeness to Israel, Jerusalem embassy and all, which perhaps is another example of erratic behaviour and spur of the political moment, the main objective being to send a message to his core base). DF finally deals with the investigated Russian involvement in the 2016 elections through various means of hybrid warfare as well as the rise of open display military style outfits intimidating involved citizens and voters at events like in Charlottesville in August 2017, resulting in an ISIS-style lethal car-ramming onslaught, or more simply at the voting booth in some “conceal and carry” states and locations. While condoning political violence, DT often encouraged supporters to adopt tough behaviour dealing with political opponents at rallies or law enforcement in their dealing with criminal suspects. While the American economic system might feel “rigged” against Trump supporters, the American political system of 2016 had in important ways been rigged in Trump’s favour.

In America Alone, DF starts stressing through HR MacMaster and Gary Cohn, the then national security and economic lead advisers to DT in a Wall Street Journal op- ed in May 2017 that “America first does not make America alone” as if there was a need to state it. DF then goes through the many attacks against allies South Korea or Germany, initially about their participation to defense cooperation in Korea for the former or through NATO and later trade for the latter. We then go through the decline in trust of allies’ populations in DT as opposed to Obama (like 24 percent vs. 78 percent in Japan or 28 percent vs. 84 percent in Australia). We go through the business ties of DT with both Qatar and Russia and the detailed positions of DT regrading the two countries. While we know the issues at stake with Russia, we learn how a successful visit to Saudi Arabia, empowered the UAE, Saudis and Egyptians to organise a blocus of Qatar, thinking that Washington was fine with it. Similarly a visit of DT in Warsaw where he emboldened the nationalistic government with his praise of a “safe, strong and free” Poland that led it to start attacking the independent court system and clashing with the EU. We then go back to the U.S.- EU relationship, within a NATO and later trade context, remembering the traditional U.S. approach to its allies like with GW Bush stating in 2003 “Since the end of World War II, the United States has strongly supported European unity as the best path to European peace and prosperity” on the footsteps of Bill Clinton when he had declared years early that “We recognise we will benefit more from a strong and equal partner than a weak one”. DF then covers all the demonstrations of support from DT and its representatives (the latest being the new Ambassador in Germany) in support of populist movements and developments, like with Farage In Britain or Le Pen in France or again Orban in Hungary to only name a few in a long list, of which Salvini and di Matteo in Italy are the latest members. We hear Rex Tillerson in May 2017 congratulating the “Turkish people – brave men and women – (who) stood up against coup plotters and defended their democracy” (In fairness, he probably would not make the same speech today). We then realise that DT wants only one- on-one deals with countries and not deals with the likes of the EU so as to avoid “big quagmire deals that are a disaster”. DF stresses that “DT never understood that America’s power arose not only from its own wealth and its own military force, but from its centrality to a network of friends and allies”. We go through leading examples of mismanagement when DT told Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign minister about an imminent ISIS threat and the city where the US intel partner (Israel’s Mossad) had detected the threat, resulting in a great embarrassment and potential blow if not among country leaderships but likely friendly intel organisations. DF stresses the views of both Steve Banon and Chris Caldwell who saw an alignment of DT with President Putin as being natural given the latter seen as the leader for a new form of otherwise traditional form of nationalism, this time expressed against globalism (the big battle of our time for them), thus self-determination in a way populist conservatives see VP (and DT) as progressives saw Fidel Castro in another era. In sync with that ideological rapprochement, DT, while praising Putin, has clearly casted doubt on the Russian meddling invitation by the DoJ’s Robert Mueller as well as tried to promote the cooperation with Russia in Syria. DF finally reminds us of the speech of Vaclav Havel the he addressed to a joint session of Congress after the fall of “all the Berlin Walls”, stressing how America and its constitution, 200 years later, still inspired the world and the Czechs to be citizens, lamenting (DF) that government of the United States seemed today to have made common cause with the planet’s crooks, thugs and dictators against its own ideals, while forgetting friends and allies who should pay more for their defence and not run trade surpluses. In doing so he, once again, stresses that DT has been enabled, also on the international front, by individuals who “execute his whims fro crass and cowardly reasons of their own: partisanship, ambition, greed for gain, eagerness for attention, ideological zeal, careerist conformity or malicious glee in the wreck of things that they could never have built themselves”. The only redeeming feature being for DF (and I) that they will be remembered (thus creating a gradual, welcome, dampening effect in their DT zeal driven by self preservation), like the Trump Presidency and what it revealed about the American political system, long after DT retires to the great golf in the sky, even if damages could sadly have longer lasting effects than what we would want even with him no longer around.

In Autoimmune Disorder, DF talks about the leaks at the White House that have been at all time historical high since the start of the DT era and acted as a stop to some of the most crazy policy moves of DT. Leading examples of such leaks resulted in the removal of Michael Flynn, first National Security Adviser, from office and leading to his indictment; the exposition of the blabbing of DT to Sergey Lavrov about the ISIS threat and where; of the deterrence of the lifting of sanctions to Russia. The problem with the leaks is that they exposed to adversaries, like in the case of Russia, that conversations were not secure as previously thought and that surveillance methods had overcome security set-ups – stressing a common problem often found in cybersecurity, the most recent form of warfare, albeit hybrid, that while you know you have been hacked you don’t want your attacker to know about it. By outing information via leaks and when involving adversaries, the leakers drove them to change their security measures to restore confidentiality in their communication, making your own side go back to the drawing board to yet intercept information in the future. DF then underlines how the office of the President was traditionally always staffed by committed people taking their jobs very seriously but how the Trump White House has become “a mess of careless slobs” giving us a long list of examples making the point very easily. He then goes on to stress that DT has gone on to surrender himself with top military officials in his team, partly as he wanted obedience and that these men, not being politicians, are usually selected, trained and promoted to get results, there being no wrong ways to win a battle. VP Mike Pence stressed to the 2017 graduating class of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis that they “should follow the chain of command without exception. Trust you superiors, trust your orders and you’ll serve and lead well” which had a strange flavour as key message to the future U.S. Navy leadership in terms of obeying all orders, lawful or not. As stated by DF and we know, it turned out that men like Mattis, Kelly and McMaster, all first rate military (USMC) commanders and great Americans have demonstrated an appreciation of and commitment to liberal democracy exceeding that of their commander in chief, which was very fortunate and even if the principle of civilian supremacy must remain indispensable when and if the President has revealed himself unfit for office. DF finally touches upon the key but currently fraught relationship of DT with the national security apparatus (mainly but not only DoD, CIA and NSA), notably on intelligence-related matters – see DT’s 16th June Helsinki Trump-Putin press conference and later “walking back” with “would and wouldn’t” -, a wider topic which is also related by James Clapper and Michael Hayden, two former CIA and NSA Directors in their books very recently published which should be read by those of us who are interested in the matter.

In Resentments, DF covers a few resentment groups and issues that propelled DT in the White House. Political correctness was a big resentment factor triggering DT’s exasperation, which resonated with many voters who became supporters. “PC culture” was deemed by many analysts as one the key voting issues and according to comedian B.L. Hughley “probably is why” DT got elected as “people are tired of being told what to think and say”. DF mentioned another testimony from a 21 year old San Franciscan DT voter: “I am a gay millennial woman and I voted Trump because I oppose the political correctness movement which has become a fascist ideology of silence and ignorance”. For another 28 year old from San Francisco: “He was an outsider . He spoke truth about the political correctness” (If I may say, while political correctness was very useful to enshrine societal advancements at the ground level in particular in terms of civil, minority, women, gay and gender diversity rights, the PC culture may indeed have gone too far on some topics. I personally dislike the activist approach of viewing historical events with today’s lenses and values, like campaigning to rename colleges because 200 years ago the man whose name on the college porch, while an American Vice President, happened to also have been a slave owner at the time). DT was very good at focusing on these frustrations and taking advantage of them in the voting booth. The rejection of PC- culture was often combined with other resentments like those of the young white males, particularly without any love relationship (and often no job, many of whom would still live with their parents), who felt lonely and alienated in today’s America. As it is widely assumed that the millennial elected Barack Obama, Romney beat Obama by seven percentage points in 2012 among whites under the age of 30. Among white males under the age of 30, Romney beat Obama by 13 points. A 600 per cent increase was noted in the following of white nationalist groups on online media between 2012 and 2016. In 2014, only 71 percent of men aged 18-34 were employed compared with 84 percent in 1960. In 2016, 19 percent of Americans under the age of 30 smoke marijuana, twice as many as before 2008 and the Great Recession. Hillary Clinton crystallised resentment of white men with 52 percent holding a “very unfavourable” view of her, 20 and 32 points higher than those who viewed Obama very unfavourably in 2012 and 2008 respectively. Hillary Clinton was seen “as embodying the cultural transformations of the 1960s: the liberal, feminist, working-mother spouse of the first boomer President”. To many supporters among those who needed to rationalise intellectually their support, DT was the first post- religious conservative of their lifetime, not hating gays and not caring if women have abortions, the first who talked about things that matter now, even if he drew support from the alienated, including the crackpots, extremists and also racists at a time when for the first time in American history life expectancy was declining, most steeply, among American whites, who also were leading the ethnic pack in terms of male suicides and opioid overdoses. Marriage, church attendance, civic participation also plummeted along income, by 9 percent, for white males between 1996 and 2014. DT was also sent to the White House on a multiple wave of resentment focused on alienation and loneliness that he understood how to channel.

In Believers, DF shows where DT won which is not in the wealthy locations (Clinton won the counties that produced 64 percent of the country’s wealth and even the knowledge centres of the Trump states, like the Research Triangle of North Carolina). Trump won by and large most of the poorer counties nationally. Political power quickly divorced from cultural power with business leaders leaving DT’s Advisory Council for fear for their brands following the leader’s outbursts. Big Tech denounced DT’s immigration policies. By July 2017 DT’s approval rating in the under 30 age group was at 20 percent. DT polled better among those earning USD 50,000 and USD 99,000 than with those earning above USD 100,000, “a freakish outcome for a Republican” and interestingly performed better with Latinos and blacks than Romney in 2012 while performing better with union households by any Republican since Reagan II in 1984. I recommend the book by Zita Salerno and Brad Todd “The Great Revolt” to understand better where Trump won and with whom and why.

In Hope, his aptly-named and hopeful final chapter, DF stresses the importance, as we all know, of civic engagement – in the case of one reader, contacting his school board about media literacy, calling state and local legislators on key issues and embarking (for those who need) on programs of self-education in history, politics and philosophical ideals of the Republic…This recipe by the way is very valid globally (not to sing the praises of globalism) so as to counter the excesses and ways of cheap and easy populism. DF is optimistic in spite of the dark days as he sees a rise in Americans seeking “better” news sources and getting more engaged. He focuses on lying as a way of governing, reminiscent of what the Chinese went through with Mao’s reeducation campaign, which sounds eerily current and warps minds (half of DT’s supporters accepted his claim that he in fact had won the popular vote in November 2016 though in contrast 60% of all Americans, a rising figure, now reject his views about his connections to Russia). DF goes on expanding on why there is reason for hope though stressing that “liberty is actually threatened in modern democratic state, not by diktat and violence, but by the slow, demoralising process of corruption and deceit” and that “what happens next is up to you” in what can be “your finest hour as a citizen and an American”.

I believe that it is a great, at times dense, book that needs to be read and closely digested. For my part and if I may say, I think DT does not have many beliefs in anything – He was a Democrat and then a Republican – but he is first and foremost for DT and by and large his business interests, not really having wanted or believing he would get the top job, finding himself thrown into it against all odds, as if the electoral college fluke was on him (as “Fire and Fury”‘s Michael Wolff tells us likely rightly). He clearly does not have a good handle on American and Western values, which has a key impact on his rulership, and is more about the means than the ends in politics, this being amply demonstrated by his primary focus on the message to his core base that is more aimed at reassuring and keeping their votes (“Winning” being the true end – as he never lied and much wrote about it all his life) than about any substance or their future well being. He also may be hard to follow at key times, even for his supporters, like with his latest surrealistic statements for an American President at the Helsinki summit press conference with President Putin, naturally making people wonder what they don’t know about his inner motivations and landing himself deeper into very dangerous constitutional grounds.

As a French-born Transatlantic man, I do not feel yet the “very direct” and daily impact of all the DF-narrated ills of DT’s rulership, even if their effects on the world order as we have known it for 75 years are certainly real and hurtful for all including America, so I clearly would like the sun to shine again on that “city on the hill” so we all have a great, shared weather going forward.

Warmest regards,



Serge Desprat – 20th July, 2108 (Plymouth, MA)