“Mr President, as we look to the future, I am confident that our common values and shared interests will continue to unite us.”- Queen Elizabeth to U.S. President Donald Trump, this June 3rd, 2019
A Brief Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisherDoug Draper
Posted June 3rd, 2019 on Niagara At Large
I turned on the cable news on this unseasonably chilly June 3rd Monday morning to mages of them standing there on the grounds of Buckingham Palace, to the sound of ‘God Save the Queen’ blaring in the background, like two aristocratic peas in a Brexit pod.
There they both were – she, the Queen of a fallen empire and he, the self-imagined king of one that is falling rapidly and, given how toxic it has become under his cudgel, possibly not rapidly enough for the peace and welfare of rest of the world.
And there was Prince Charles, standing there in the regal party like a waxen figure in a Tussauds museum – the long-suffering king in waiting who (I’m now almost embarrassed to admit) impressed me so many years ago for a heartfelt foreword he either wrote or had ghost written for a 1991 book of essays by eminent environmentalists and global thinkers called “Save the Earth.”
Whether he wrote that foreword or not, there was Charles this June 3rd, helping by his very presence to lather up the pomp for a U.S. president who could not run away from the Paris Climate Agreement his predecessor, Barack Obama, signed on to fast enough.
Yes, there the Prince was, with all of his years of paying lip-service to the environmental cause, greeting the arrival of a U.S. president who has done more since the first Earth Day, 49 years ago this spring, and then any of his predecessors in the White House combined to eviscerate his country’s once great Environmental Protection Agency and the clean air, water and land programs it was created to oversee.
There is something in all of this pageantry at the palace for both sides, though.
For the U.S. president, there are all of the images of him standing right next to a long-beloved Queen he can now use to strengthen his Trump Inc. brand.
Just as he continues to exploit whatever is left of the prestige of the American presidency, the grandeur of this photo opportunity with the British monarchs offers another big boost for his hotel and golf resort business, and for his own princess, daughter Ivanka’s line of clothing and shoes, and his son-in-law Jared’s own flailing property investments.
And there may also be something in all of the pomp and pageantry, replete with its paramilitary trappings that has the four-or-five-time Vietnam War draft evader imagining palace guards, carrying rifles and wearing those big, fuzzy hats and red tunics, marching around the White house where he can see them from the windows of the Oval Office – just as Trump imagined holding a military parade down Washington, D.C.’s Pennsylvania Avenue after he witnessed one more than a year ago in France.
Finally, the visit affords Trump a chance to wedge in a few words of support for a few of his favourites right-wing, pro-Brexit extremists, Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, as they seek to take over the reins of power from the bruised and battered outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May.
While more than a few view this as meddling in the political affairs of another country, for Trump it is a more childish case of saying “nice things” about them because they have say “nice things” about him, while advancing the Brexit cause and the dissolution of the European Union at the same time.
For the British Royals, Trump’s visit may be another chance to give the boots to the Scots and Irish, as the Brits have been want to do from time to time over the past number of centuries.
It is a good chance to pinch the noses of the Scots and Irish over their opposition to Brexit. And it is a good opportunity to show some solidarity with their fellow aristocrats and plutocrats who are reportedly using Brexit as another way of distracting the working and other lower class people of England from seeing how much they have been and are continuing to be screwed – not by neighbouring nations or by newcomers to the country, as Brexit leaders would have them believe – but by them.
Feeding Trump’s monstrous narcissism is also a job the Royals may have been assigned to do as Britain moves away from the European Union and need to broker trade deals with the U.S. to remain solvent.
All was not pomp and pageantry though.
In the skies over London, there were reports this June 3rd that the big blimp they call “Baby Trump,” wearing diapers and holding a cellphone full of vile tweets in its small hands, will be hovering over Trump and his party, just as it did during a brief visit he made to the country last year.
There are also reports that this June 4th, the streets of London will be full of tens-of-thousands of people protesting day two of Trump’s visit.
Some of the ire driving the protests this time is an incident involving Trump actually being heard on a news clip, calling Meghan Markle – the very popular Duchess of Sussex and wife of Prince Harry – “nasty.”
Then Trump went and did an Orwellian thing that seems to work so well with his cognitively challenged supporters back home. Assuming everyone in the world is as inside out and upside down as his supporters are, he fired off a tweet saying that we didn’t hear what we heard, and that any media report about him calling the Duchess nasty is “fake news.”
Of course, it was not fake news and if Trump is going to take a shot at a British Royal, why not Meghan Markle. It’s bad enough, from his point of view, that she is an outspoken feminist. She is also the one member of the Royal family who has brown skin.
And we should all know by now how racist this president is when it comes to people with brown or black skin, except for those die-hard supporters of his who choose to believe that the racist is not a racist because he tells them so.
There is no fooling Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, England, who has called Trump out for using racist and fascist tropes from the last century to advance what he calls a very dangerous political agenda. Sadiq Khan is a Muslim though, so in Trump’s eyes (as he noted in a recent tweet) he “has done a terrible job as mayor (and) he is a stone cold loser.”
Across the pond here in Canada, we had Trump’s most steadfast stooge and toddy in waiting for a visit to Ottawa late this May – the oh so righteous ant-abortionist Mike Pence who, while he was the governor of Indiana, had a law passed forcing women who had abortions to give the fetus a Christian burial.
While in Canada, Vice-President Pence was asked by the media about abortion and any interest his country may have in seeing Canada slide backwards as a number of U.S. states now are when it comes to abortion rights. In contrast to his boss, Pence attempted to show a little restraint in saying that Canada’s administration may do what it wants, but the administration he is part of is “pro-life.”
What does that make Canada’s administration? Anti-life?
What a backward insult that was to the country that was hosting you, Mr. Pence. Please don’t come back.
The nerve of this Trump sycophant coming here and contrasting our country’s administration to his, using “pro-life” as a definer, when his is gutting environmental protection laws, including regulations on air pollutants that can kill many thousands of people each year, and when his administration is ripping children out of hands of mothers and caging them at the Mexican border.
Let’s hope our Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or whoever is PM six months down the line doesn’t follow the Brits and have Trump here for a state visit, although I could see one being rapidly put together, if and when the federal Tory’s Andrew Scheer wins the federal election this coming fall.
If and when that state visit happens, I could also see Alberta’s Jason Kenny and Ontario’s Doug Ford being among the first waiting in the receiving line to kiss the king’s ring.
With that dark thought, and the continued images of the British Royals going all out for Trump on the palace lawns, I decided to turn off the cable news for the rest of the day.
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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders