December 6th, 2017

Trump’s speech on Jerusalem

[NOTE: I had said earlier today that I’d be writing a post about Strzok and one about Trump and Jerusalem. That turned out to be a case of biting off much more than I can chew at the moment. This is the Jerusalem one. The Strzok post will have to wait till tomorrow.]

Trump had made it a campaign promise, and today he took a first step towards fulfilling that promise in his speech. Here is a fairly long excerpt containing what I think are the most important portions:

When I came into office, I promised to look at the world’s challenges with open eyes and very fresh thinking.

We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past. All challenges demand new approaches.

My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

In 1995, Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act urging the federal government to relocate the American Embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize that that city, and so importantly, is Israel’s capital. This act passed congress by an overwhelming bipartisan majority. And was reaffirmed by unanimous vote of the Senate only six months ago.

Yet, for over 20 years, every previous American president has exercised the law’s waiver, refusing to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem or to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. Presidents issued these waivers under the belief that delaying the recognition of Jerusalem would advance the cause of peace. Some say they lacked courage but they made their best judgments based on facts as they understood them at the time. Nevertheless, the record is in.

After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result.

Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

…I’ve judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This is a long overdue step to advance the peace process. And to work towards a lasting agreement.

Israel is a sovereign nation with the right, like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital. Acknowledging this is a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace. It was 70 years ago that the United States under President Truman recognized the state of Israel.

Ever since then, Israel has made its capital in the city of Jerusalem, the capital the Jewish people established in ancient times.

Today, Jerusalem is the seat of the modern Israeli government. It is the home of the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, as well as the Israeli Supreme Court. It is the location of the official residence of the prime minister and the president. It is the headquarters of many government ministries…

Jerusalem is not just the heart of three great religions, but it is now also the heart of one of the most successful democracies in the world. Over the past seven decades, the Israeli people have by the a country where Jews, Muslims and Christians and people of all faiths are free to live and worship according to their conscience and according to their beliefs.

Jerusalem is today and must remain a place where Jews pray at the Western Wall, where Christians walk the stations of the cross, and where Muslims worship at Al Aqsa Mosque. However, through all of these years, presidents representing the United States have declined to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In fact, we have declined to acknowledge any Israeli capital at all.

But today we finally acknowledge the obvious. That Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done.

That is why consistent with the Jerusalem embassy act, I am also directing the State Department to begin preparation to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This will immediately begin the process of hiring architects, engineers and planners so that a new embassy, when completed, will be a magnificent tribute to peace.

In making these announcements, I also want to make one point very clear. This decision is not intended in any way to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement.

We want an agreement that is a great deal for the Israelis and a great deal for the Palestinians. We are not taking a position of any final status issues including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem or the resolution of contested borders. Those questions are up to the parties involved.

The United States remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides. I intend to do everything in my power to help forge such an agreement.

To those on the right who have followed decade after decade of the same old solutions and accommodations and hopes for peace, and seen it all come to naught, a different approach that recognizes the simple reality of the situation sounds like a refreshing change from the accommodation and appeasement and continually dashed hopes that have characterized the approach to the “peace process” so far. But like all change, it involves risk, and that risk is all the left can se.

Lots of condemnation came from the expected quarters:

Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has drawn an angry and despairing response from global and regional leaders – who warned it would destroy the peace process, strengthen extremists and weaken the standing of the US in the world.

For example:

Earlier on Wednesday Pope Francis had issued a heartfelt plea to Trump to respect the status quo of the city, and to conform with UN resolutions. The pope told thousands of people at his general audience: “I cannot keep quiet about my deep worry about the situation that has been created in the last few days.”…

A spokesman for the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said the US was “plunging the region and the world into a fire with no end in sight”.

The Turkish foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, said he had told the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, that Washington was making a grave mistake, and the whole world was against the decision…

Lebanon said Trump’s decision had put back the peace process by decades, and that it threatened regional and perhaps global stability. Qatar’s foreign minister described it as a death sentence for all who seek peace. Jordan said Trump had violated “international legitimacy”.

As expected. And of course Hamas has called for a “day of rage” in response. But aren’t all days “days of rage” for Hamas?

Europe’s reaction was a bit muted compared to what I would have expected:

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, was the first western leader to reject the announcement, saying the final status of Jerusalem had to be settled by negotiation. He called for calm and for restraint from violence.

The British prime minister, Theresa May, said the UK opposed Trump’s decision on Jerusalem and called it “unhelpful in terms of the prospects for peace in the region”.

“We disagree with the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital before a final status agreement,” she said. “The British Embassy to Israel is based in Tel Aviv and we have no plans to move it.

“Our position on the status of Jerusalem is clear and long-standing: it should be determined in a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and Jerusalem should ultimately be the shared capital of the Israeli and Palestinian states.”

Trump was certainly aware of what the reactions would be. I’m not sure whether there’s any nation on earth that approved of the move except Israel. But when I did a search, I found this from Canada:

The Liberal government has so far avoided overt criticism of the U.S. decision, despite strong reactions from other U.S. allies and from around the globe.

Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland issued a careful statement Wednesday afternoon that did not specifically mention Trump’s announcement.

‘‘Canada is a steadfast ally and friend of Israel and friend to the Palestinian people. Canada’s longstanding position is that the status of Jerusalem can be resolved only as part of a general settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute,” Freeland’s statement said.

‘‘We are strongly committed to the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, including the creation of a Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel. We call for calm and continue to support the building of conditions necessary for the parties to find a solution.’’

India, a country which has grown closer to Israel in recent years, stated a position very similar to Canada’s.

I have observed over the years that most of the verbal responses to this sort of thing are empty words. Some of it is face-saving and not necessarily sincere (for example, in a country such as Saudi Arabia). What matters is action, and I have quite a bit of doubt that there will be much action as a result (and that includes my doubt that our embassy will be moved to Jerusalem with much speed).

This is a declaration of intent by Trump. It’s partly a declaration of intent about Jerusalem itself, and partly a demonstration of the fact that he’s different and it will not be business-as-usual in the area and elsewhere. It is also a signal that he is willing to call something what it actually is and not play delicate games with words.

It used to be that all American administrations, whether Democrat or Republican, had pretty much the same policy regarding Israel. All were dedicated to the peace process, a set of premises and negotiations that offered hope for a resolution in the troubled area known as Palestine and Israel. But by the time the year 2000 rolled around, realists had to reluctantly admit that the process as it had been pursued so far was moribund, and had become a useless (and perhaps even dangerous) lie.

But many people still clung to the old (failed) ideas. Some of them have become even more convinced that all Israel needs to do is to make greater and greater concessions and peace will come. There are also those who believe Israel is such a dreadful nation that they hope for its downfall.

During his time in office, Obama was clearly very much against Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister then and now. Obama tried to undermine him and was harder on Israel than previous presidents. With Trump in office, the pendulum has been swinging in the other direction (a bit ironic, considering all the cries about Trump being anti-Semitic). But one of the potentially problematic things that has become obvious is that, if our foreign policy changes so much with each president (whether the topic be Israel or anything else), the world can no longer count on America to be a stable rock in a sea of flux.

Towards the end of Trump’s speech, he said this:

It is time for the many who desire peace to expel the extremists from their midsts. It is time for all civilized nations and people to respond to disagreement with reasoned debate, not violence. And it is time for young and moderate voices all across the Middle East to claim for themselves a bright and beautiful future.

Way past time, I’d say. But I wouldn’t put a whole lot of money on it. Actually, I wouldn’t put a penny on it.

[ADDENDUM: The Czechs seem to have come on board, at least to a certain extent (West Jerusalem). And to my surprise, I just learned that Russia had taken the same position on West Jerusalem back in April.]

39 Responses to “Trump’s speech on Jerusalem”

  1. n.n Says:

    A departure from Obama/Clinton’ s social justice adventures from Tripoli to Damascus to Kiev. A confrontation, forcing the issue, certainly, but Trump does not open abortion fields and force immigration reform as did his predecessor. Hopefully, we can avoid the South African solution, and the parties will be able to reach a peaceful settlement.

    Yeah, right. There are Palestinian factions that are just as intractable as the Mandela factions. There is and will be reconciliation with other parties. The advantage for Israelis, is that they don’t have diverse natural resources in global demand, so there is no impetus for a South African solution, Libyan solution, Ukranian soluton, etc.

  2. AesopFan Says:

    Since “the whole world” hates Israel and Trump no matter what they do, then they might as well do as they wish.
    Next year in Jerusalem.

  3. Frog Says:

    To all the early-go naysayers here, and I was among those not pro-Trump until his primary opponents all ran out of gas,
    I say now, Trump is the man, our most decisive and principled man since Reagan. Concentrate on his policies and his actions, not on the tweets, for heaven’s sake. Tweets and twitters are for children of all ages, and he cannot ignore his share of them and cede them all to the shallow false leaders within and without our government.
    Trump is the man.

  4. Dobbins Says:

    It’s somewhat difficult to have a President who repeatedly does what he promised to do during his run for office. I’m just not used to it.

    I EXPECT Presidential candidates to blow smoke up our posteriors, and do what they want to do regardless of what they promised………. but Trump is different.

    This President’s policies, have been, nearly without fail, true to limited government principles, and follow closely to what he promised.

    President Trump is starting to remind me of Ronald Reagan, in that glimmers of possible greatness are starting to shine through.

    Trump is certainly the most substantial shock to the body politic since Reagan.

    Thank the Lord.

  5. Stephen Ippolito Says:

    What an extraordinary man your president is.

    Bill Bennett, on his podcast the other day, as that learned gentleman is ever wont to do, quoted a piece of wisdom that made me think of the Donald.

    Mr Bennett quoted Justice Holmes:

    “The professor gives up engagement in the issues of his time in order to let his intellect flower in the peaceful tower of his library, but the place for a man who is complete in all his powers is in the fight.”

    The reason why Hillary was not elected to succeed the vaunted law professor is that a majority of the working and middle class people in the majority of the states recognised that a terrible ennui has infested the West these last dozen or so years;

    They feel a dawning sense that surely all of us on this site share that we and our culture are in decline, (and that it may even now be too late, although one hopes that it is not).

    All of this has been made worse by our pain in knowing that no-one in power would even acknowledge the problem let alone address its underlying causes.

    All of us in the political centre and to the right have known for some time that more of the same old policies, though politically safe because they would garner the applause of the elite, just will not do.

    The only way out is to change the political culture of the West and that requires a fighter not willing to give in to the natural temptation to go along to get along and not make waves – but who is instead unafraid to act like a bull in a china shop and shake up and challenge the system and take huge risks and the inevitable hits.

    Few people are like that but Trump is just that sort of person.

    Many of his changes may not work but many will – and at least he’s trying. And, perhaps just as importantly, is seen to be trying. So there’s that.

    I wish him well.

  6. blert Says:

    It’s been my understanding// reading that America ALREADY has a quasi-embassy in Jerusalem.

    For years and years, Israel has set aside the premier diplomatic compound for the USA. For diplomatic-propaganda reasons, the existence of this ‘annex’ is zeroed out in our MSM.

    In this, Israel is acting similarly to Germany, which held the real estate right next to the Brandenburg Gate in reserve for the USA. Kohl, with tears in his eyes, pledged it to Bush (41) in gratitude. (1989)

    Rather than taking ‘years’ the annex could be converted into our embassy in mere hours. It just would lack the bells and whistles that our State Department has come to expect — wherever it squats.

    From what I’ve read, the ‘annex’ is anything but tiny. It’s been laid out to be the American embassy from the very first.

    Its existence has been a third-rail for our MSM. Actually shuttling documents and aides back and forth from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — every last time — is too tedious — and many times — too risky.

    Without the ‘annex’ it would be quite difficult for our diplomats to hob-nob with their Israeli counterparts — in the manner accustomed.

    ( This is to be expected. It’s why every nation’s capital has a diplomatic district// row. )

    The beauty of diplomacy: words only very rarely map to reality.

  7. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    Is 27:13
    And in that day a great TRUMPet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the LORD on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.

  8. Ben David Says:

    There’s always rich irony when Europeans – who managed to drive the nascently democratic, half-Westernized Turkey into the arms of Muslim nationalists – weigh in on “building a Palestiinian State”.

    And it’s always fun to watch the cognoscenti roll there eyes over the latest Trump “outrage”. How dare a Republican actually TOUCH OUR STUFF in the interim…

    Repeat after me:
    There.Is.No.Peace.Process.
    … unless you spell it “piece”. As in “piece by piece”.

  9. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Ben David. You know it. The Arabs know it. The Jews know it. Is there anybody who doesn’t know it? I am certain a lot of people pretend that “peace:” includes Israel, but does anybody really believe it?

  10. steve walsh Says:

    For how many years has the peace process been pursued without achieving peace? Twenty? Forty? The people, and states, that oppose this move do so primarily to protect the status quo – it’s not clear to me why that is to their advantage.

    I earn a living doing something that requires negotiating most of the time. I was taught early in my career that the negotiation is never completed and the deal done until someone says no. Appeasement and conciliation of the Palestinians has not produced an agreement for peace with Israel, what those actions have produced is more and more demands.

    “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result” is said to be the definition of insanity. On the issue of Israel and Palestine the President seems to agree.

  11. Tuvea Says:

    n.n,

    Perhaps a more significant difference is that in South Africa a small percentage of white people kept an overwhelming percentage of black people in virtual serfdom.

    In Israel some 80% ( or more depending upon how Russian immigrants are considered ) is Jewish. And the less than 20% who are not Jewish, including my fellow Christians, have full and equal political rights.

  12. physicsguy Says:

    This morning there seems to be rumors of other countries now contemplating the same move, the Czech Republic in particular. It seems US leadership has an effect.

    And I agree with comments above: Trump is the first president I can ever remember whose agenda seems totally driven by fulfillment of his campaign promises. It’s rather amazing.

  13. F Says:

    The Democrats will continue to rail against this for the next three years, but I do not anticipate that the Democrat candidate for president in 2022 will make part of his/her campaign “Move the American embassy back to Tel Aviv!” It is a done deal, even if the move is not completed immediately.

  14. John Smote Says:

    From the history books. 1979 Canada

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/jerusalem-embassy-tel-aviv-clark-1.4436795

    Prime Minister Joe Clark’s government backed down on its controversial 1979 promise to move Canada’s Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem in part over fears of possible economic fallout, according to secret cabinet documents obtained by CBC News.

  15. Oldflyer Says:

    Lost in the rhetoric is the fact (presumably embarrassing to Democrats) that during the Clinton Administration, Congress voted overwhelmingly to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and move our embassy to that city. True, every President, until now, has opted not to implement the provisions on the pretext of not hampering the “peace process”.

    Trump alarms the world by implementing common sense policies that trample on convenient myths. Correction: In this instance, European leaders profess alarm to mollify their growing Muslim populations. We will never know what they think, or say, in private.

    The international hubris, fueled by hypocrisy, over the existence of Israel, while not surprising, is nevertheless disgusting.

  16. stu Says:

    This past summer the Senate adopted a resolution by a vote of 90 to 0 recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. That obviously required Democratic votes, yet now they complain with Trump carrying thru on their resolution. Hypocrisy is part and parcel of the toolbox of the professional politician.

  17. Gringo Says:

    But aren’t all days “days of rage” for Hamas?

    But there are “days of rage,” and then there are “days of rage-rage.” Whoopi Goldberg can tell us all about it.

  18. ConceptJunkie Says:

    And the more the Left mindlessly rages against Trump, the more people are driven the re-evaluate him, and maybe even come to support him. It’s been a fun year.

  19. DNW Says:

    Jerusalem … third most “holy” city in Islam.

    In other news, the mayor and city council of Indianapolis have been called on to resign after it was discovered that the city in Indiana was listed as the 32nd most holy city in Islam.

    Pope Francis has now begged the pardon of Muslims the world over for the unjustifiable intrusion and offensive presence of the Vatican there, after it was revealed to him that Rome was the 11th most holy city in Islam; after London, Paris, Brussels, and Dearborn, Michigan.

  20. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    I fully support the move, as it is the right thing to do. But I’ll be surprised if the new US embassy in Jerusalem is not attacked within its first year. Hopefully, measures will be taken in anticipation of it.

    Otherwise, we may well be looking at another attack like the 1983 Beirut, Lebanon Embassy attack in which 63 people died.

    There will be violent repercussions, when they occur, I trust Trump will respond forcefully.

  21. Oldflyer Says:

    GB, I would agree with you as far as intent; on the other hand, Israel is not the Lebanon of 1983.

    One of Ronald Reagan’s more feckless moments was the response to that attack, along with the even more devastating attack on the Marines who were sitting ducks in Beirut.

    Close Navy friends were intimately involved in the rushed, poorly conceived , and politically directed air raid that followed the atrocities. (One, who was a strike leader, was shot down and survived.) A classic story of political interference in military operations, as the recommendations of the Admiral on scene were over-ruled by the civilian chain of command.

  22. Kyndyll G Says:

    My anti-Trump bona fides are abundantly clear from the large number of posts I made about the topic on this forum. While Trump the person probably is every bit the a-hole we all suspect he is, Trump the non-politician who was elected President is truly the most astonishing thing in the world of politics that I have ever witnessed live.

    I think it should be clearly obvious to all that any Republican who beat Hillary would have been the target of relentless attack and I honestly can’t name a politician, living or dead, who would have done a better job of making it this far through the ever-escalating storm. The guy has bigger balls and thicker skin than any human I have ever seen on the national stage. I too was pro-Cruz way back when, and Cruz might have been a fine president in normal times, but we don’t live in normal times.

    I don’t know if it’s possible to ultimately beat the hard left, especially with the useless, squishy GOPe and circular-firing-squad tendencies of the right-of-center, but every major thing that Trump manages to implement is something that would not have happened had anyone else been elected in 2016. We should appreciate every victory we get.

  23. Dave Says:

    one of the talking points against trump from the left is the president is very thin skinned. Trump has many short comings but thin skin is not one of them, he could very well be the most think skin person in the world. Obama on the hand is very thin skinned.

  24. Artfldgr Says:

    Summarized as..
    you attack us when we don’t recognize Jerusalem, might as well recognize

    Not like refusal to recognize the capital, resulted in, even the idea of, not acting upon, what is in effect, an attempt to be neutral on some level, and accommodate both sides…

    IF such a behavior garnered the reward of being left alone and not be put upon, then there is no reason for the behavior.

    the left thinks it can mix angry people with ideas they will defend to the death and hold the lid down tight enough for long enough that they end up becoming a neutered goulash of population moving towards planetary homogeneity achieved through “diversity” which operationally is equal to mixing all the colors in the paint store in one bucket and expecting a rainbow of beautiful utopian mix and not Soviet Stalin Steel Gray

    it might end up that way due to commerce and time, but much longer than they would ever want to wait, so they would rather play with an explosive mix – not like they foot the bills when things dont work out, but be sure they will have their hands open if things can be made to appear better even if its just an illusion for a short while till whats given is taken.

  25. Artfldgr Says:

    From what I’ve read, the ‘annex’ is anything but tiny. It’s been laid out to be the American embassy from the very first.

    nope… you build new because over time without complete total high paid security – you end up with a sieve that leaks information. And the kinds of things done are quite clever, convoluted and mostly unbelievable by the general public…

    The Bugged Embassy Case: What Went Wrong
    http://www.nytimes.com/1988/11/15/world/the-bugged-embassy-case-what-went-wrong.html?pagewanted=all

    After a saga of suspicious behavior by Soviet work crews, electronic devices buried in concrete and investigators hanging like rock-climbers from the roof, a secret cable to the American Ambassador resulted, finally, in a halt to what a 1987 Senate committee described as ”the most massive, sophisticated and skillfully executed bugging operation in history.”

    they found that the Soviet idea of efficient construction was vastly inferior to American standards, and they quickly lost patience with Russian absenteeism, drunkenness on the job and sloppy work habits.

    The team was stunned when over the course of a few months, they discovered that the Soviets had put permanent eavesdropping systems into the actual structure of the building.

    ”We found things that didn’t belong there based on shop drawings,” said Frank Crosher, a security engineer who worked on the site from 1980 to 1982 and managed the embassy security team from Washington until 1986. ”We found cables in the concrete as well as design discrepancies, millions of bits of data.”

    Along the way, they discovered interconnecting systems so sophisticated that they could not be removed from the steel and concrete columns, the beams, the pre-cast floor slabs and sheer walls between the columns. They found electronic ”packages” where a piece of steel reinforcement in the flooring should have been, and resonating devices that allowed the Russians to monitor precisely both electronic and verbal communications.

    Their job was made more difficult by decoys made to look like bugs and garbage from the construction process.

    so no.. very stupid to move into the Annex…
    Mossad is also one of the worlds top 10 in that same business
    (as are the US, UK, Russia, China, Germany and a few others).

  26. Artfldgr Says:

    It was then that the C.I.A. admitted for the first time that the Soviets had successfully incorporated complex and impenetrable surveillance systems into the building structure.

    But the C.I.A. and many technical experts still remained convinced that they could crack the Soviet systems.

    I wanted to point out that this is the story for consumption, the truth is that they got to learn a lot about things they didnt think of the more they stayed and analyzed what was incorporated.

    like why they dont shoot down kims rockets?
    for the same reason russian astronauts get out of the capsule and parachute to land not ocean.

    in the latter case is to prevent loss of tech, in the former case, its to pick the thing up and look at what it is, how it works, what its design flaws are, etc.

    but they wont describe their hand to 300 million people, which include in their midst literally over 10,000 operative ppl (easily a larger number in an open state with rampant immigration without examination)

    ”The culprit,” Mr. Schlesinger said, ”is American complacency, the tendency to assume that the Russians are technically inferior to us and that we can handle them.”

  27. Philip Says:

    I have a question.

    Which embassies are currently located in Jerusalem? Is there a convenient list somewhere? (Okay, that’s two questions. But if I get only a 50% hit rate, then I’ll be content.)

  28. blert Says:

    Folks, there are many ‘annexes’ in Jerusalem.

    Israel has LONG laid out its version of diplomatic row.

    The acreage has been allocated — years ago.

  29. charles Says:

    “Destroy the ‘Peace Process'”

    Good lord, I hope so!

    The “Peace Process” has been nothing but a time-out for Hamas and other anti-Jewish/anti-Israeli terrorists while they regroup and re-arm.

    The best, and I do mean the BEST, thing to help gain peace in the Mid-East is Israel’s Iron Dome. Shoot those rockets down – maybe not getting all of them, but a good many are shot down before inflicting major damage on peaceful neighborhoods in Israel.

  30. Irv Says:

    Kyndyll G. – You assume too much when you refer to Trump as the a-hole we all suspect he is. Many, many of us don’t suspect any such thing.

  31. Stephen Ippolito Says:

    Irv @11:45.

    I’m 100% with you on that score.

    Imagine operating, as the Donald has, in the cut-throat Manhattan commercial real estate market for decades, dealing with a large work force of his own, contractors, the building unions, the zoners and planners at both state and local level, commercial real estate agents, advertising companies, residential and heritage groups, (and on the way acquiring 3 wives, 2 ex wives and numerous discarded girl-friends).

    We are all intelligent, men and women of the world here so what are we to surmise from the fact that the only “dirt” the experienced, ruthless, efficient and well funded Clinton machine could dig up on him was an old and tasteless private conversation with a friend on a bus and a former Miss World who thought it was OK to get fat after she won the title – and whom it appears from the context that he was trying to help out and had a contractual right to be unhappy with anyway.

    One would think that the way he has lived his life and the industries in which he has earned his livelihood would yield legions of the disgruntled who would be only too eager to come forward to speak out against him if he were really the pig his political enemies allege.

    Yet that just didn’t happen. He appears to be that rare type of man who can function in a dog-eat-dog world without making bitter enemies and that surely says it all.

    Even Mitt Romney, whom Neo has correctly pointed out was the most personally decent man to ever run for the presidency was more vulnerable to undermining by the Clinton machine than Trump.

  32. The Other Chuck Says:

    Mr. Ippolito:

    From a 24,000 km distance and wearing rose colored glasses you may view Trump’s business practices as benign. Others who have actually dealt with the bastard have a very different outlook. Like the piano guy who got stiffed, or the contractors who ate dirt:

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/13/politics/trump-small-business-owners/index.html

  33. Dave Says:

    There used to be a very long page on reddit about people who have met Trump in person sharing their experiences with Trump, majority of people who had met trump had nothing but great things to say about him. A guy or girl who used to go to the same school as Tiffany shared that Tiffany was in the drama club, and Trump would always sneak in after the play had start to watch Tiffany then sneak out right before the play ends because he didn’t want to take the attention away from the kids, he was very considerate.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/5d8zop/serious_people_who_have_met_or_dealt_with_donald/

    read it if you have time, I did right after he won, very fascinating.

  34. Irv Says:

    Mr. Ippolito – If you believe any report on CNN about Trump without doing a thorough investigation then I have a bridge to sell you. Just look at their history of half-truths and outright lies about him. If they said the sun was coming up in the morning I’m sure they’d be quick to add “no thanks to Trump” or “in spite of Trump”!

  35. Richard Saunders Says:

    Well, this just proves that the lefties are correct when they say Trump is mentally deranged. Who ever heard of a President actually doing what he promised to do in the campaign? Obviously mentally imbalanced! If we don’t stop him, pretty soon there’ll be things like a wall on the southern border, a revitalized military, and better care for our veterans!

  36. Stephen Ippolito Says:

    Irv,

    As usual, I’m late to the party so the caravan has moved on. (Time zone differences and all). But I should clarify something:

    I don’t quite follow why you seem to think I am a fan of CNN, or any of the other jumbles of letters making up the main stream fake news sources.

    I have never said or suggested that I respect those news sources. I deplore them for their unfairness towards President Trump and any politician or public figure that is right of centre.

    They are despicable since they betray their honorable professional forbears and their important role in the body politic.

    It may be that you meant to direct your comment to someone else since I specifically agreed with your own comment.

  37. Stephen Ippolito Says:

    Dear Chuck,

    Respectfully, I don’t know what my not being resident in the continental US has to do with my ability to appreciate things Trumpian.

    We are familiar with the concepts of logic and reason over here.

    We also engage in commerce and trade where I live and have a functioning economy too so I am aware that people in business will and do have differences of opinion and disputes arising out of the course of their dealings in business.

    That is the nature of the beast.

    I also know, despite not being American, that one is not necessarily an “a-hole” or a “bastard” just for entering into disputes with trading partners or clients or third parties arising out of commerce and trade and/or for pursuing or defending one’s legal rights through the courts.

    Dishonest and shabby people do get involved in trade and legal disputes, no question. But such people are not dishonest and shabby by virtue of such disputes. They already were and brought that to the mix.

    There are many issues over which decent men and women of good character may differ and argue with honour, no?

    And the fact that the parties may hold different opinions or see or recollect things in different ways or contend that actions or words should be interpreted with a different gloss does not of itself signify that one or both of the parties are necessarily “a-holes” or “bastards”.

    This is probably why the Clinton machine did not bother to throw this sort of stuff at then-candidate Trump, no?

    Might they not have likely recognised the difference between personal behaviour that of itself speaks of bad character and disputes in commerce or trade that even people with the best will in the world will from time to time find themselves enmeshed ?

    Life and business are messy.

    I will concede your point about the rose-coloured glasses, though. I am by nature an optimist and am glad of it. The spectacles do get grubby from time to time and need a wipe but not often enough to make me cynical. Yet.

  38. The Other Chuck Says:

    Mr. Ippolito:

    I believe Richard Saunders reference to CNN was directed toward my link to their article about Trump’s business dealings with contractors. I only chose the CNN article because it wasn’t behind a paywall like the Wall Street Journal article that said basically the same thing:

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/donald-trumps-business-plan-left-a-trail-of-unpaid-bills-1465504454

    The most detailed account of Trump’s lack of business ethics is exposed in this USA Today article, which reveals that the unpaid bills go all the way down to lowly diswashers:

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/06/09/donald-trump-unpaid-bills-republican-president-laswuits/85297274/

    You were a little late to the party we had here back in 2016. People like Kyndyll G and yours truly were part of the Never Trump brigade. Even our host Neo did a few in depth articles about Trump’s business dealings, one particularly insightful look at his golf course in Scotland stands out. If you think suppliers and contractors in the U.S. hate him, try the Scots.

    He got elected despite his reputation, and as Kyndyll G said, it seems amazing what he’s starting to accomplish. I’ve come around to the reluctant conclusion that he was probably the only one who could outwit the entrenched establishment, because he fights them no-holds-barred. That doesn’t change or excuse what he did to honest people that had the misfortune to trust him.

    We’ve made a deal with the devil, or rather a man who is amoral. Maybe he will make the trains run on time, heh?

  39. Stephen Ippolito Says:

    Chuck,

    Your points are well made, as usual.

    My blood stirs and my senses tingle at the prospect of “the trains running on time”.

    I put it down to my Italian heritage.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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