Why do far too many people than is rational (worldwide, it turns out) continue to act as though U.S. President Donald Trump is a leader of enormous integrity and accomplishment?
I have a theory, but it sounds a little nutty — and truly creepy — even to me.
But, please hear me out.
The latest boot-licking came from an unlikely place: Norway, the seat of the iconic Nobel Prize, annually awarded to paragons of excellence in most major areas of human endeavor, including science, politics and the protection and expansion of human rights. Take what I’m about to tell you with a grain of salt, because I initially saw the report on Fox News (which mainstream media has nicknamed, fairly, “State News).
Fox reported earlier this week (with others news outlets later corroborating) that Christian Tybring-Gjedde, a conservative-leaning, populist member of the Norwegian Parliament, has nominated Trump for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, lauding his “efforts toward resolving protracted conflicts worldwide.” Tybring-Gjedde seems to have a special affinity for the American president, because it’s the second time he has nominated Trump for this singular honor.
Tybring-Gjedde submitted one along with another Norwegian official in 2018, as did Japan’s prime minister, after the U.S. president’s Singapore summit with Kim Jong Un.
As we recall, Trump blessedly did not win the prize.
Here’s where my natural skepticism toward anything positive about the current U.S. president leads me to conspiracy theorizing, which I’m really not very good at, since this is my first time. But still, the evidence does seem to line up.
Firstly, I note that Trump unquestionably nurses a deep, visceral loathing of his predecessor, former U.S. President Barack Obama, who is manifestly more learned than the current Oval Office resident, more intellectually nimble and capable, more socially graceful and, well, more supernaturally cool, to be completely honest. Can you imagine Trump singing “Amazing Grace” a cappella, not to mention in key, at a church?
As you may remember, Obama was not only nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize a mere six months into his presidency, but won. Trump seems obsessively-complusively driven to deconstruct everything his nemesis did while in office, and not only be awarded every accolade Obama got, but way more.
Secondly, who but his most deluded cultists would imagine that Donald Trump would be deserving of any award that acknowledges his world-beating contributions to peacefulness, much less the greatest peace prize of all? I mean, seriously?
So, I’m skeptical why this Norwegian pol is so hell-bent to nominate Trump for the prize. He must have some really, really compelling reason, right?
Thus, my conspiracy theory: Trump so wants this prize in his quest to match and even surpass Obama that he had to find a way to get one himself, by any means necessary. How would he do that? Tybring-Gjedde himself says he’s “no big fan” of the president, so it would logically take something else to motivate him to make such an embarrassing nomination — other than, I chuckle to say, his American gadfly might deserve it.
I have zero concrete evidence but a lot of circumstantial stuff for the meat of my conspiracy theory: the president’s cultist minions were able to dig up some truly salacious dirt on Mr. Tybring-Gjedde that he dearly doesn’t want the world to know about (as is normal with hiders of salacious dirt). And then Trump blackmailed the unwitting politician to nominate him. Or else.
I know. I know. It seems crazy, as most such theories inevitably do. But, still, if you think a bit more about the patterns surrounding Mr. Trump, it starts to seem a little less crazy.
For example, a new salacious news story came out last week about evangelical Christian mega-pastor Jerry Falwell, Jr., which reported among other revelations that his wife had sex for years with a young male assistant while the pastor watched (and she also allegedly did some untoward and unsolicited things with a Christian Liberty College student). That’s tawdry enough, for sure, but the real bombshell later emerged from former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s new book, Disloyal, which implies that after certain racy photos of Falwell’s wife were allegedly suppressed during the 2016 presidential campaign, the wildly influential man of God suddenly endorsed the extravagantly un-Godly New York real estate developer. Reuters reports no evidence has emerged that connects the two dots, but the juxtaposition is still tantalizing.
This might add some credence to my crazy theory — which in its fullest form postulates that blackmail may be at the heart of every head-spinning change-of-heart many prominent Trump loathers-then-lovers have appeared to undergone.
Like these Republican heavy hitters: U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham (South Carolina), former Gov. and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley (South Carolina), former Gov. Rick Perry (Texas), former Gov. Scott Walker (Wisconsin), Sen. Kelly Ayotte (New Hampshire), former Gov. Bobby Jindal (Louisiana) and Trump’s former press secretary and now hedge funder Anthony Scaramucci. All once publicly eviscerated Trump but now heartily support him. (The video montage below on Graham’s wildly erratic statements about Trump over the last few years symbolizes the schizoid, whiplashing pronouncements of some of his most prominent supporters.)
Perry has even said he believes Donald Trump was “ordained by God” to save the nation (see clip below). (Read my May post about this head-scratching episode, here.) Graham once famously characterized Trump as a “xenophobic, race-baiting bigot” unfit to lead, now they play golf together. Jindal said Trump was a “narcissist” and “egomaniac” with “no understanding of policy.” But now they make nice.
Add to these virtually all other Republicans in the Senate who chose not only to not convict the president after its recent impeachment hearings (they declined to hold a constitutionally required trial), but not even to formally reprimand him for clearly unconstitutional, if patently illegal, behavior.
They all knew and still know today that he is a “bad hombre,” to repeat the president’s slurs about others. But only Sen. Mitt Romney and Sen. Lisa Murkowski spoke up, gently, and voted to hear impeachment evidence. Everyone else hid under their desks, worried about re-election if seen to diss the president, or, if you like my theory, worried that some awful personal information about them they knew the administration possessed might mysteriously resurface in the public square if they voted against their dear leader.
When the Atlantic Monthly magazine in a recent article, quoting close Trump confederates, reported that the president once said Americans who died or were disfigured and crippled by injury in war were “losers” and “suckers,” no GOP leaders leapt to condemn him. The proverbial silence was deafening.
I don’t buy that the only reason so many people are so cavalierly willing to risk the integrity and honor of their personal legacies built over long years is simply because they’re worried about re-election if Trump says mean things about them for their disloyalty to him.
Something else is going on here, I sense. Something darker perhaps. I don’t know for sure what it might be, but I have a “theory,” in the loosest, non-scientific definition of the word. I believe fear drives Trump’s changeling sycophants — a fear far more primal than potential disappointment in losing an election.
Call it a “gut feeling,” to again quote some of the few available words in the president’s spare but “nasty” vocabulary.
And this extortion stuff works both ways. This week it was reported in an excerpt of Bob Woodward’s new book on the president, Rage, that his former director of National Intelligence, Dan Coates, was extremely worried that the president might be compromised by Russia. MSNBC reported:
“[Woodward writes in the book] that Coats “continued to harbor the secret belief, one that had grown rather than lessened, although unsupported by intelligence proof, that Putin had something on Trump.” Woodward continues, writing that Coats felt, “How else to explain the president’s behavior? Coats could see no other explanation.”
My point exactly — why are people sucking up to the president who apparently used to loathe him, and why is the president endlessly sucking up to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the leader of one of America’s primary antagonists in the world.
It feels like something very curious is going on.
If I weren’t a retired journalist, I’d be checking this out.
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