It may come as a surprise to some, but I am one of those who believe that former American President Donald Trump should not be indicted for alleged payments of “hush money” to Stormy Daniels—at least not now. Rumors abound that criminal charges against Trump will be laid any day now, and if true, I hope that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg will have some sober second thoughts.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is a Porn Star, who alleged during the 2016 U.S. Presidential election that she was paid $130,000 by Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen (later himself convicted for tax evasion and campaign finance violations) to keep silent about alleged sexual encounters with Donald Trump in 2006. It would be the first time a former President faced criminal charges and to some who criticize this potential indictment, it appears more like a “gotcha” moment than a genuine search for justice.
In fact, I am guessing that Donald Trump is savouring charges for this particular alleged offence as they are, frankly, the least of his problems and he is intent on styling investigations against him as political persecution. He wants to be seen as a martyr. According to published reports, he has told his lawyers that if he is indicted for the Daniels affair, he does not want to quietly surrender, but rather be arrested, handcuffed, and perp-walked, for all to see.
All of this fits nicely into Trump’s narrative of persecution, electoral corruption, and the urgent need, in his view, to overthrow the current style of governance in the United States.
There is no greater showman than Donald Trump. He knows every trick in the book. He knows that if he can appeal to his alarmingly large base and energize them, and also gain some sympathy from others who believe the potential hush money charges are more payback than anything else, it will cast a shadow across the reasons and motives for far more serious charges of incitement and electoral interference. He wants it all to look like political persecution of “America’s greatest President”. He is, in my view, counting on the District Attorney in Manhattan to help him do just that.
In calling for demonstrations if he is arrested in the next week or so, in spewing about death and destruction if that happens, and in holding a rally in Waco Texas on the anniversary of the deadly standoff and revolt against the government that took place there in 1993, Trump knows exactly what he is doing.
He is rallying the troops. He is once again subtly, in a manner that gets the message across and the job done, calling for civic unrest. He wants people to believe that he actually won the last presidential election and that he is the only one that can save America. The saddest part of this is that he actually may believe it and too many others do as well. In my view, Donald Trump wants turmoil in the United States. It suits his agenda and in fact, it may be critical to it.
So why, one might ask, is all of this important? Isn’t this just his style of running again for president? Isn’t he just campaigning and isn’t that fair ball?
Well, no. I think Trump’s calls to action, his rallies, summoning his loyalists to the streets, his incendiary posts, forecasting death and destruction if he is indicted in Manhattan, his overt lust for power, and his penchant for disinformation and propaganda, is more like a despotic movement with the potential of undermining democracy in the United States—Canada’s closest neighbour.
Donald Trump in my view is not really a Republican any more than when he claimed he was a Democrat years ago. It’s whatever suits his own ambitions. There are many good Republicans with conservative principles who are not extremist ideologues who seek power simply for the sake of power.
Trump is not one of them. In fact, in my view, he really isn’t that interested in the Republican Party at all, although he has done some real damage there. It is simply his vehicle to get back the presidency of the United States. He has hijacked the Republican Party; he has not joined it.
His real goal lies in his core belief in the omnipotence of Donald Trump, that he needs to be all-powerful, that he alone can do anything he wants, that he is above the law, that he can accomplish anything he wants and that he is better than anyone else. Period. He believes he is “the man” and that is all he needs. When the time comes when he doesn’t need Republicans anymore, he will dump them like yesterday’s garbage. That, as I see it, is the real Donald Trump.
What I call the Trump syndrome seems to be alive and well in the United States. That saddens me. It also scares me. We are right next door. Many people in Trump’s circle don’t like Canada, people like Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Ted Cruz (even though he was born here). Some of them are not shy about saying so. Others covet our natural resources. Trump himself takes shots at Canada whenever that suits him.
In politics, it is often the loudest voice that takes control of the messaging. Donald Trump has a very loud voice that transcends borders. Ironically, he would likely be comfortable with some of the trends creeping into Canada, like a form of government-controlled censorship at least on the Internet, the loss of many university campuses as a bastion of free and open speech, and a quiet yet alarming acceptance of misinformation and cancel culture.
At some point, not too far in the future, we are going to have to stand up and say NO to that.
I hope we have the courage. Because to me, Donald Trump is no martyr, he is not one to emulate and he is really no Republican. As a politician, he is a danger to democracy.
Hugh Mackenzie has held elected office as a trustee on the Muskoka Board of Education, a Huntsville councillor, a District councillor, and mayor of Huntsville. He has also served as chairman of the District of Muskoka and as chief of staff to former premier of Ontario, Frank Miller.
Hugh has also served on a number of provincial, federal and local boards, including chair of the Ontario Health Disciplines Board, vice-chair of the Ontario Family Health Network, vice-chair of the Ontario Election Finance Commission, and board member of Roy Thomson Hall, the National Theatre School of Canada, and the Anglican Church of Canada. Locally, he has served as president of the Huntsville Rotary Club, chair of Huntsville District Memorial Hospital, chair of the Huntsville Hospital Foundation, president of Huntsville Festival of the Arts, and board member of Community Living Huntsville.
In business, Hugh Mackenzie has a background in radio and newspaper publishing. He was also a founding partner and CEO of Enterprise Canada, a national public affairs and strategic communications firm established in 1986.
Currently, Hugh is president of C3 Digital Media Inc., the parent company of Doppler Online, and he enjoys writing commentary for Huntsville Doppler.
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