Donald Trump Jr Bares The Soul He Doesn’t Have
When checking out the news landscape to consider what I might address in this column, I see numerous items that I might save a link to examine later and other items that compel me to drop what I am doing and open up a draft window and dig into them. This development is the latter.
I realize the reader will look at the title of this item and think, “we knew Donny Jr. didn’t possess a soul – did you just arrive at that conclusion?”.
No, certainly not. Too many other signs to the contrary such as the one that comes to mind about when the Trump’s were driving through Arlington National Cemetary taking in the hundreds of thousands of graves and memorials representing the casualties from every war the United States was ever engaged in and Trump Jr. noted that he was reminded, “of all the attacks we’d already suffered as a family, and about all the sacrifices we’d have to make to help my father succeed.”
“as we drove past the rows of white grave markers, in the gravity of the moment, I had a deep sense of the importance of the presidency and a love of our country. I was never prouder of my father than when I watched as he stood before the tomb, his hand over his heart, while the Army bugler played ‘Taps.’
“In that moment, I also thought of all the attacks we’d already suffered as a family, and about all the sacrifices we’d have to make to help my father succeed—voluntarily giving up a huge chunk of our business and all international deals to avoid the appearance that we were ‘profiting off the office.'”
It’s not a colossal feat of insight to arrive at the conclusion of where that sort of self obsessed perspective emanated and certainly doesn’t require social anthropology to identify the source – the former and still disgraced one term president.
Trump Jr. acquired sociopathy and narcissistic disorder from his father, as have all of the rest of the siblings with the possible exception of Tiffany, who may yet deserve the benefit of the doubt.
Donny Jr. doubles down on division and grievance mongering
Some – not many, saw in Trump Jr.’s text to Mark Meadows urging him to prevail on his father to call off the violent sedition underway on January 6 – a glimmer of humanity. That was an illusion, a misinterpretation of enlightened self interest as moral courage – nothing more.
All of this is foundational to the most recent adumbration of Junior’s decency deficit. At Turning Point USA’s “America Fest Conference” on the 19th in Phoenix, Trump Jr. told the maskless and no doubt in the majority, an unvaccinated audience that,
“We’ve been playing T-ball for half a century while they’re playing hardball and cheating. Right?
We’ve turned the other cheek and I understand sort of the biblical reference, I understand the mentality but it’s gotten us nothing. OK? It’s gotten us nothing while we’ve ceded ground in every major institution.”
The statement raises a handful of questions. One is the identity of the “we’ve” and the “us”. It’s certain that basically the “us” are the MAGAites, the Qanonites, the Evangelicals and racial nationalists, none of which could be arguably misidentified as authentic followers of Jesus of Nazareth – he of whom the quote concerning the turning of the other cheek is attributed.
Second, one wonders how someone can possibly be as ignorant of the history of the past “half a century”, as Junior is, when he contends that the political right has been playing “T-ball”? Where does he get that nonsense? Granted, he was only 5 or 6 years old during the Watergate episode and its fallout, but he surely can’t believe that or Nixon’s conduct in office was “T-ball”?
How about the Republican political strategist of the 70s and 80s, Lee Atwater – accredited as the father of the infamous “Southern Strategy” that employed coded racial rhetoric to achieve the historic realignment of the GOP and Democratic parties in the South? His comments below, explaining the evolution of Republican appeals to White bigotry and resentment, are from a 1981 interview with political scientist, Alexander Lamis:
You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”
Is Junior unfamiliar with Newt Gingrich – the extremely corrupt leader of the House Republicans in the 90s, who is credited with spawning the political atmosphere that ushered right wing extremism into an established element of GOP politics? T-ball?
What about former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his decades of obstructionism and double standards? He ramrodded three doctrinaire conservative Trump appointees onto the Supreme Court in 4 years, for the purpose of establishing a reliable backstop for the reactionary objectives of Trumpublicanism. T-ball?
Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Paul Gozar, Matt Gaetz, Louis Gohmert, Madison Cawthorn and Jim Jordan? T-ball? Really?
Another question – does Trump Jr’s lament sound, on some subliminal level, more like the anguish of Southerners over the loss of the Civil War than it does merely regret over the erosion of White cultural dominance?
Peter Wehner, former speechwriter for Republican presidents, contributing writer at The Atlantic and a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, reflected on Junior’s comments, concluding that Trump’s message boils down to, “If the ethic of Jesus encourages sensibilities that might cause people in politics to act a little less brutally, a bit more civilly, with a touch more grace? Then it needs to go.”
Trump’s True Apprentice
It’s fitting that Trump Sr., was the central figure in the Reality TV facade “The Apprentice”. Junior is an apprentice of dad’s lying, grifting and manipulating, just as the elder Donald was an apprentice to Fred Trump Sr. in the same sociopathic arts.
As a bonus, Don Sr. and Jr. can point to no evidence of possessing anything in the manner of evidence one might detect as marking the habits or deportment of a Christian. However, such bonafides are irrelevant in the present environment of tribal militancy of which the religion has been appropriated in service of the furtherance of an agenda – that of the alt-Right and Trumpism.
Junior interprets the absence of (yet) any consequences or accountability of his father or his father’s co-conspirators in the mayhem of January 6 as the all clear signal to proceed forward in the advocation of more lawless attacks against dad’s – and by extension, Junior’s own enemies.
Are we seeing something more in Donny Jr.’s messaging to the MAGA element than is actually there? Did the folks at the rally at the Capitol misinterpret Trump’s provocation that, “If You don’t fight like Hell, you don’t have a country anymore”?
No, the arousal to action was not figurative, it was literal. Proof of that was that if it were nothing more than hyperbole, Trump would have, within the first 10 minutes or less of the assault, called off the mob in no uncertain terms.
It would be wishful thinking to interpret Trump Jr.’s call to abandon any pretense of non-violence as something other than literal. He clearly understands the atmosphere of angst, perceived cultural extinction and societal displacement that animates the MAGAverse and he has to know that amping all of it up is precipitative.
His rhetoric is characteristic of the cowardice that his father exemplifies. Provoke with words and then remove yourself from the line of fire.
There is another fascinating corollary attached to Trump Jr.’s call to right wing Jihad. It is an unmistakable rejection of the New Testament’s exhortations to employ spiritual means to effect change, in favor of resorting to force.
Trump Senior and Jr believe fascist rhetoric and physical violence are the magic sauce – not Christian conduct
This is an echo of the Third Reich of Hitler and the Nazi movement that viewed militancy as of superior effect in the realization of the objectives of Aryanization, as compared to the persuasion of mere religious sentiment and ideological transcendance.
If fascism comes it will not be identified with any shirt movement, nor with an insignia, but it will probably be wrapped up in the American flag and heralded as a plea for liberty and preservation of the constitution.
— James Waterman Wise, Jr.
Mr. Wise could have appended his quote to add to the American flag, the Christian Bible.
Historians and academics, such as Richard Steigmann-Gall, point to evidence showing that a broad swath of the Nazi movement embraced the concept of a partnership between the Third Reich and Christianity at the very inception of Nazism. They do also outline that this was transitional and that after 1933, the Nazi regime began substituting strict racial ideology for any pretense of the incorporation of Christian ideals.
What later superseded the nascent emphasis of synthesizing a Protestant brand of Christianity together with paganistic Germanic national roots, was instead a superficial co-opting of Christianity.
It was an assimilation within the broader architecture of political hostility and territorial conquest (“Lebensraum”) – i.e., cultural warfare with the ultimate objective of annihilation by Caucasians of competing worldviews, races, ethnicities and societal constructs; or to put it in simpler terms, “Blood and Soil”, (“Blut und Boden!”).
It appears that while White / Christian Nationalism is merely a frequently used tool in the toolbox for Trump Sr. as an essential ingredient in his quest to advance his personal agenda including his grievance about losing the election – for Donald Trump Jr., it likely is seen by him as a device he can incorporate to establish himself as the political heir of his father when Trump Sr. relinquishes it or is jailed for his crimes.
Whatever it is precisely, it is a course of action that carries enormous risks, particularly in light of the possibility that what occurred at the Capitol may have been only a momentary purging of pressure in a progression to something much more explosive and destructive.