Littwin: As dawn breaks upon a new world, Trump thinks only of himself

If I read my Twitter feed correctly, the lesson that Americans should take from Brexit is not that the European project has been turned on its head — I mean, who cares about old Europe? — but that the American project could be next.

The message is at least twofold:

One: We should take Donald Trump’s anti-establishment, anti-globalization, anti-elite, anti-immigrant campaign very seriously. Xenophobia has clearly won the day in Britain, just as it did in the Republican presidential primary. Why not in November?

Two: It is impossible to take anything about Donald Trump seriously. And this, I fear, may be the more dangerous message.

Trump didn’t know what Brexit was a few weeks ago. Yet as the dawn breaks upon a new world, he is in Scotland, not to celebrate the movement to which he has attached himself, but to cut ribbons at two golf courses he has purchased. In the middle of a chaotic presidential campaign, Trump took time out for a business trip. And if that’s never happened before, get used to it. A lot of things are happening that have never happened before.

If you think Trump should put his business interests in some sort of trust, as presidential candidates tend to do, you might as well ask him to erase the name “Trump” emblazoned across his helicopter. Trump is his business interests.

“Basically, they took back their country,” Trump said of the Brexit vote from the ninth hole of venerable Turnberry golf course — that traditional news-conference destination — where there were several bagpipers there to greet him. “That’s a good thing.”

Asked why people voted for Brexit, he said, “People are angry. All over the world they’re angry … They are angry over borders, they are angry over people coming into the country and taking over and nobody even noticing. They are angry about many, many things.”

When asked where the anger is greatest, he said, “U.K. U.S. There’s lots of other places. This will not be the last.”

He’s right, sort of. The anger is everywhere.

Working class people are getting the shaft in a globalized world, making the market just right for a politician/demagogue to come along selling anger and fear. Or rather, in the case of the Donald, selling a venerable golf course and its formerly run-down hotel — which, he explained, the Trump family has gone to great expense to restore to its former grandeur. Making Britain’s golf courses great again.

When asked about the pound’s plunge as the financial markets have really taken the Brexit vote seriously, Trump came right to the point: “When the pound goes down, more people are coming to Turnberry, frankly.”

Yes, he did.

He thus made the pivot from a brief statement about Brexit to a discourse on Turnberry’s new watering system and renovations. He didn’t mention that, though the watering system is improved, Scotland overwhelmingly voted to stay in the European Union and may now move toward another vote to leave the United Kingdom.

It wasn’t just Scotland that voted to stay. Northern Ireland voted to stay. Young people voted to stay. Londoners voted to stay. As the “remain” people had put it, Great Britain could go back to being Little England.

Nobody really knows what will come of Brexit. The move from the EU will go slowly and may not be nearly as dramatic as the vote itself. Members of Parliament are largely in the “stay” camp and are likely, if Europe goes along, to want to keep ties as close as possible. But it could also mean other EU countries line up to leave. What we know is that things are different now. The economists pretty much uniformly predicted economic disaster for Britain if it voted to leave. The majority of voters either didn’t believe the experts or didn’t care.

Voting against the experts — you know, like the ones who believe the sea levels might rise sufficiently to damage Trump’s Scottish investments — is Trump’s recommended course of action, no matter what impact it has, say, on your retirement account.

Trump’s campaign may be in disarray. His poll numbers may have plummeted. The risk that the British economy might tank could put the Trump project at risk. And yet he scoffed at the idea that he needed advisers to help him work through the ramifications of Brexit. When asked by reporters if members of his foreign policy team were traveling with him, he said, according to the Washington Post, that “there’s nothing to talk about.”

Of course, people can talk of little else. The Supreme Court non-decision on Barack Obama’s immigration reform plan ensured that immigration would be at the heart of the presidential campaign. The fact that Britain went all Tom Tancredo on immigration can hardly be ignored. It is more important even than the tanking of stock markets. The fact that the British “leave” campaign was based in racism is more important than Trump’s made-for-SNL-mockery business trip.

In a statement before his news conference, Trump wrote this: “Come November, the American people will have the chance to re-declare their independence. Americans will have a chance to vote for trade, immigration and foreign policies that put our citizens first. They will have the chance to reject today’s rule by the global elite, and to embrace real change that delivers a government of, by, and for the people. I hope America is watching, it will soon be time to believe in America again.”

He hopes America is watching.

You should hope so, too.

Photo credit: Trump Documentary TV, Creative Commons, Google Images


  1. That huge sigh of relief you heard came from Mr. Littwin. At long last he has found a story of global consequence that allows him to crawl out into the sunlight without having to answer the question he himself raised after the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States which claimed the lives of 49 people : “Why (were) they were killed?” .

    It’s not because Mr. Littwin doesn’t already know the answer, it’s because he lacks the, well, courage to say radical Islam. So instead of focusing on the victims of the Orlando shooting, which occurred only two weeks ago, he can now safely write about the British exit from the European Union (Brexit) as if Orlando never happened.

    But the Brexit story was not available earlier this week which may explain why this is Mr. Littwin’s first column in seven days.

    Some habits, though, are hard to break so in a column ostensibly written about the British exit from the European Union, Mr. Littwin manages to mention Donald Trump 16 times while mentioning Brexit only 8 suggesting strongly that Mr. Littwin believes Donald Trump to be twice as important as Britain’s departure from the EU.

    Ironically, from the US point of view, he may be right because the issues that carried the day for those Brits who voted to leave the EU were immigration and secure borders, issues Mr. Trump emphasized from the start of his presidential campaign.

    This from Vanity Fair:

    “It’s the immigration, stupid! That’s the reason that Britain has voted to leave the E.U. But Trump’s antennae are attuned to what’s going in the minds of “his” people, even if they may be Brits. According to one polling organization, immigration was listed as a priority to only 14 percent of those polled who wanted to remain in Europe. Among those who wanted to leave, 52 percent said it was their priority. Those images of Syrian refugees streaming north throughout last year and the attacks in Paris probably made all the difference between Cameron winning and losing the vote, even taking into consideration the lackluster, negative campaign he ran.”

    That analysis is echoed by the Daily Beast:

    “Why Did the U.K. Want to Leave Europe? Immigration and sovereignty concerns are the prime reasons that many people voted to leave. Europe is in the grip of a migration crisis, with millions of refugees arriving from desperate regions such as Libya, Syria, and sub-Saharan Africa. The Leave campaign went big on “securing borders.”

    Sound familiar?

    Well, not to everyone. Mr. Littwin with his finely tuned politically focused mind (yes, the same mind that predicted Senator Sanders presidential bid was a “benign summer fling”) has offered a far different analysis of why British voters chose to leave the EU: racism and xenophobia.

    You heard that right, Mr. Littwin has unilaterally determined that 52 percent of British voters are racist and xenophobic. Of course, as preposterous and insulting as that assessment is, from Mr. Littwin’s viewpoint it’s far better than acknowledging that Mr. Trump’s prescience in emphasizing immigration and secure borders demonstrates his superior political acumen.

    You can almost feel Mr. Littwin’s pure panic when he writes: “Xenophobia has clearly won the day in Britain, just as it did in the Republican presidential primary. Why not in November? “ Rather than admit he has lost whatever tenuous grip he had on politics, Mr. Littwin would rather call a majority of British voters xenophobes.

    Maturity, like journalism, is not one of Mr. Littwin’s strengths.

    Here, from the New York Times, is a far more grown-up interpretation of the Brexit vote:

    “Slow economic growth has undercut confidence in traditional liberal economics, especially in the face of the dislocations caused by trade and surging immigration. Populism has sprouted throughout the West. Borders in the Middle East are being erased amid a rise in sectarianism. China is growing more assertive and Russia more adventurous. Refugees from poor and war-torn places are crossing land and sea in record numbers to get to the better lives shown to them by modern communications.

    Accompanied by an upending of politics and middle-class assumptions in both the developed and the developing worlds, these forces are combining as never before to challenge the Western institutions and alliances that were established after World War II and that have largely held global sway ever since.”

    And even though Mr. Littwin lacks the backbone to admit the effectiveness of Mr. Trump’s message others aren’t as timid.

    This from Vanity Fair:

    “What unites the majority of disaffected Britons and angry Trump supporters is a feeling that they have, until now, been voiceless. Whatever the result of this bitter, hard-fought campaign in Britain—certainly the most divisive I have ever experienced—the Leave supporters, like Trump’s followers, are not going away. A cultural divide has been opened up in the U.K., and it is one that is probably as serious as its counterpart in the United States. Both movements are unyielding in their nature and define themselves by a refusal to cooperate or compromise.”

    Mr. Littwin does admit: “Working class people are getting the shaft in a globalized world, making the market just right for a politician/demagogue to come along selling anger and fear.” But he doesn’t explain how that could possibly happen in America where for the last eight years a Democrat has been in the White House.

    And if Mr. Littwin were given the opportunity to destroy either ISIS or the NRA it’s uncertain what his choice would be. Far more certain is this: He will not write again about the horrific Orlando killings or Omar Mateen.

    Unless, of course, it’s discovered (or even vaguely hinted at) that Mateen had also pledged his allegiance to Donald Trump. Or the Republican National Committee. Or Senator Gardner.


    For Hillary Clinton, Britain’s emotionally charged uprising against the European Union is the sort of populist victory over establishment politics that she fears in the coming presidential election.

    Mrs. Clinton shares more with the defeated “Remain” campaign than just their common slogan, “Stronger Together.” Her fundamental argument, much akin to Prime Minister David Cameron’s against British withdrawal from the European Union, is that Americans should value stability and incremental change over the risks entailed in radical change and the possibility of chaos if Donald J. Trump wins the presidency.

    She offers reasonableness instead of resentment, urging voters to see the big picture and promising to manage economic and immigration upheaval, just as Mr. Cameron did. She, too, is a pragmatic internationalist battling against nationalist anger, cautioning that the turmoil after the so-called Brexit vote underscores a need for “calm, steady, experienced leadership in the White House.”

    But prudence is cold comfort to people fed up with more-of-the-same. – New York Times

    “Britain will regain its political freedom, its autonomous self-government and its independence from an EU that is spinning out of control under the power of establishment elites, unelected and unaccountable socialist bureaucrats, and a judicial court that is increasingly making legal decisions that replace Britain’s powerful common law.” – RealClearPolitics

    “The British vote to leave the European Union may come to be seen as a tipping point in global politics, perhaps more consequential than anything since the fall of the Berlin Wall. It may mark the moment when Europe comes face to face with its own constitutional dysfunction, when the idea of the “West” finally ceases to be plausible and when the United States is confirmed in its sense that its interests lie more in Asia than in its traditional Atlantic sphere of influence.

    But the largest consequences will be for Europe — both for the reality and the idea. Britain’s vote will encourage populists elsewhere: Already, Euroskeptics in Sweden, France and the Netherlands have demanded a copycat referendum. Spain’s neo-Marxist far left is expected to win a quarter of the vote in Sunday’s election. Polls suggest that French voters are more skeptical of the E.U. even than British ones, a sentiment that will assist the far-right populist, Marine Le Pen, in next year’s presidential contest. Populist governments are already in power in Greece, Hungary and Poland. The fear that Europe’s cohesion is weakening could reignite economic turmoil in the euro zone. Government bonds in Spain and Italy look riskier now that the continent’s cohesion is in doubt.” – Washington Post

    “Something very different has happened. Defying the warnings of every major economic and political institution in Britain, Europe and the United States, millions of voters across Britain concluded that a gamble on a dangerous unknown was better than staying with a present over which they felt they had lost control. It was a cry of anger and frustration from more than half the country against those who wield power, wealth and privilege, both in their own government and in Brussels, and against global forces in a world that they felt was squeezing them out.” – New York Times editorial

    In light of the massacre of dozens of people at a gay club in Orlando, it’s worth re-visiting the comments of Islamic speaker Fahad Qureshi, who admitted that the desire to see homosexuals killed was a belief held by so-called “moderate” Muslims. –

    “’Cause I don’t have no use
    For what you loosely call the truth” – Tina Turner

    Greenlight a Vet
    Folds of Honor
    Special Operations Warriors Foundation
    Veterans Day – November 11, 2016

  2. doesn’t Trump know anyone but old very fat white men or long haired busty Stepford women to be his mouthpieces on TV? If most of the young men in this country try to emulate him we are headed for disaster. Come on Republicans, there must be someone in your party that is not a racist, sexist, homophobe, religious and gun nut, maybe a moderate that presents him/herself as relatively sane. If you find one, run them for high office next time.

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