How’s this for the start of an article in the New York Times? “Donald Trump is completely unfit to be president of the United States. That is not an ideological expression. That is an expression of the shock of mounting evidence that he is intellectually deficient, temperamentally unsound and morally bankrupt.”
The writer was the New York Times columnist Charles Blow, who, as if we needed reminding, went on to detail the US president’s serial missteps of just the past few days.
On Monday, he chose to repeat one of his favourite racist slurs ― calling the Democratic party senator Elizabeth Warren ‘Pocahontas’ because she has claimed native American ancestry – while, get this, supposedly honouring Navajo veterans of World War Two.
On Tuesday, he was reported to have resurrected – admittedly behind closed doors – his old lie about Barack Obama not having been born in the US.
And then on Wednesday came his now notorious tweets (all right, which of his tweets are not notorious?) endorsing three videos promulgated by the British racist organisation Britain First, which was originally set up by former members of the BNP.
Here’s how Charles Blow describes the true significance of all this: “These are not mistakes. These are not coincidences. This is not mere bungling. These are revelations of the soul. This is who Trump is and who he has always been. This is who he was before he entered politics, and who he remains.
“The Trump Doctrine is White Supremacy. Yes, he is also diplomatically inept, overwhelmed by avarice, thoroughly corrupt and a pathological liar, but it is to white supremacy and to hostility for everyone not white that he always returns.”
And if you’re still in any doubt at all about what this all means, I call in evidence Nigel Farage. (Now, there’s a sentence I never expected to write.) This is what he said: “I do think these videos are very bad taste and he [Trump] showed poor judgement. Of that I have no doubt at all.”
So now the US president has gone too far even for Nigel Farage, the man who so happily posed for pictures with him immediately after he was elected and who Trump thought would make an excellent UK ambassador in Washington. Truly, another line has been crossed.
This probably comes as no news to you, but surely there can now be no doubt whatsoever: Donald Trump is a racist and a bigot, who lashes out at minorities and whips up racial hatred whenever the mood takes him.
(By the way, if you want the background to the videos that so took Mr Trump’s fancy, you should read this.)
It was too much even for Theresa May, who through gritted teeth was forced to acknowledge that Trump was ‘wrong’ to lend his support to what her Cabinet colleague Sajid Javid, the son of a Pakistani bus driver, rightly called ‘a vile, hate-filled racist organisation’. (All credit to him, by the way, for going where Mrs May feared to tread.)
The foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, who famously called on EU leaders to end their ‘whinge-o-rama’ after Trump was elected a year ago, called Britain First ‘hateful’ and said their views were ‘not in line with our values’. (Really, Boris? I would never have guessed.) But his statement, shamefully, made no mention of Mr Trump’s support for the organisation.
Why don’t we just ignore Trump’s ravings? Why give him the satisfaction of knowing how deeply offensive his views are to so many people? The answer, in my view, is that to ignore him is implictly to accept that what he says is no longer worthy of condemnation, that it has somehow become the ‘new normal’.
It hasn’t, and it mustn’t.
As for cancelling Mr Trump’s invitation to come to the UK on a State visit, I say let him come – and let him see, if he has the stomach for it, the depths of the revulsion so many Brits feel for his views. After all, if we could survive State visits by President Nicolae Ceaușescu of Romania (1978), Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe (1994) and no fewer than four kings of Saudi Arabia and three Presidents of China since Queen Elizabeth was crowned 64 years ago, I dare say we’ll survive Mr Trump.