I have never met Donald Trump, and probably never will, but I have known him all my life. He was always part of the media landscape: the billionaire playboy, the scandals, Marla Maples, the bankruptcy, the comic grandiosity, the glamour – but ultimately, he seemed trivial. A rich man enjoying his riches. He didn’t have anything to do with me, or with the problems facing the nation and the free world that I was concerned about. But now, he is President of the United States, and the subject of a relentless vilification campaign from the Left, and the exponent of policies that the nation must adopt if it is simply to survive, and it is useful to step back and reflect on why Donald Trump has chosen this path.
In a wide-ranging 2004 interview in Playboy magazine, Trump demonstrates that his thinking has evolved a great deal since then: he calls John Kerry “a great guy…a very smart guy…highly underestimated.” But he also manifests the perceptiveness and acumen that has taken him this far, and that his detractors have never acknowledged. Of Iraq he says: “No way will there be a normal democratic government in that country, in my opinion. The same with Afghanistan. If anybody thinks Afghanistan will become a normal, wonderful democratic country where everybody walks in on a Tuesday and votes, it’s not going to happen.”
Indeed. And when asked if he thinks that Trump Tower and the other buildings that bear his name will still bear that name in 100 years, he answers: “No, I don’t think so…I don’t think any building will be here—and unless we have some very smart people ruling it, the world will not be the same place in a hundred years. The weapons are too powerful, too strong. Access to the weapons is getting too easy, so I think the landscape we’re looking at will not be the same unless we get smart people in office quickly….I know life is fragile, and if the world looks like this a hundred years from now, we’ll either be very lucky or have found unbelievably good leaders somewhere down the line.”
Finding “unbelievably good leaders” has been a preoccupation of Donald Trump for far longer than that. In a 1990 Playboy interview, he says: “I like George Bush very much and support him and always will. But I disagree with him when he talks of a kinder, gentler America. I think if this country gets any kinder or gentler, it’s literally going to cease to exist.” George H. W. Bush was not an “unbelievably good leader” by anyone’s standard, and even then Trump was being asked what he would do if he were President of the United States. After delineating some of the things he would do as President, Trump is asked: “Wait. If you believe that the public shares these views, and that you could do the job, why not consider running for President?” He answers: “I’d do the job as well as or better than anyone else. It’s my hope that George Bush can do a great job.”
The interviewer persists: “You categorically don’t want to be President?” Trump answers: “I don’t want to be President. I’m one hundred percent sure. I’d change my mind only if I saw this country continue to go down the tubes.”
And here we are. Twenty-seven years later, the country has continued to go down the tubes, and Donald Trump is President of the United States. He didn’t have to do this. He is 70 years old, he is extraordinarily rich, and he could have lived a comfortable old age, hosting The Apprentice and enjoying the fruits of his labors at Mar-a-Lago. Instead, he has entered the political arena and become the object of the Left’s hatred and vilification on a scale that is shocking and unprecedented. I remember, even when I was a young Leftist in the early 1980s, being shocked at the vitriol that my comrades directed at Ronald Reagan. I didn’t like the man at the time, and I opposed his policies, but I didn’t have the vicious hatred for him that so many others did.
Yet that hatred was a mailed valentine compared to the frenzied rage that the Left is now directing toward Donald Trump. They vilify him, they vilify his wife and son, they fantasize about assassinating him, and maybe they eventually will – and why? Because he “saw this country continue to go down the tubes,” and determined to give up his life of comfort and ease and do something to turn this nation around. Donald Trump has proven himself to be, above all things, a patriot, a man who loves this nation enough to sacrifice himself for it, just as a soldier gives his life for the nation so that our children, and our children’s children, can live free.
He is the unlikeliest of men to have chosen to do this. But he has done it. And now he is suffering the relentless slings and arrows of the anti-American Leftists who are determined to destroy him for doing it. Any remaining patriots, whatever they think of the President of the United States, should recognize that this is happening, and understand that they owe a debt of gratitude to Donald Trump for being willing to make this sacrifice. He didn’t have to do it. He could have enjoyed a comfortable old age while America went down the tubes. Most of his former colleagues and associates are doing just that, while he struggles in Washington to turn things around, against an entrenched Leftist establishment that determined not to relinquish power.
But now America has a shot at survival as a free nation, and it is due in large part to Donald Trump. Few of us can say we have made a comparable sacrifice.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Iran. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.
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