Saturday July 08, 2017
Frum Sums Up Trump Effrontery
Here's David Frum, former spechwriter to Bush II, and the man who coined the phrase “Axis of Evil,” on the horrors of Trump abroad:
As presidential speeches go, Trump's address in Warsaw was fair. Ish. If you forget who is speaking and what that person has been saying and doing since Inauguration Day—since the opening of his campaign in 2015—and really through his career.
But if you remember those things, the speech jolted you to attention again and again.
“We treasure the rule of law and protect the right to free speech and free expression.” This must be an example of what the grammarians should rename the “disjunctive we”: a we that does not include the speaker of the words. Rule of law? Free speech? Shortly before boarding the plane to Europe, President Trump's advisers were reportedly discussing a pending CNN merger with AT&T as leverage against the news network—a possibility that, if realized, would be a perversion of anti-trust law.
And so it went through the catalogue of effrontery. A president who has made lewd remarks about assaulting women said, “We empower women as pillars of our society and of our success.” A president who won't read his briefing books declared, “We seek to know everything so that we can better know ourselves.” A president who once seemed unsure whether the abolitionist Frederick Douglass is alive or dead congratulated himself: “We celebrate our ancient heroes, embrace our timeless traditions and customs.” A president whose brand is notorious worldwide for gaudy hideousness preened: “We strive for excellence, and cherish inspiring works of art.”
More on the Atlantic site.