The Trump card


Members of every nation gather in a theater. As the lights dim down, a picture of Donald Trump flashes across the screen. The room is thrown into uproar; yells of “Cheeto” echo throughout the space. People stand up and throw things at the screen, yelling in rage. Profanities of every language are heard as the noise of the theater rises: a world united. 

Trump is often perceived as a vile man. His policies have time and time again relied on xenophobia and fear, he has no real political experience, and he is well known for his excessive use of twitter: falsifying hurricane charts and calling out fake news. Because of his request to Ukraine to look into Joe Biden, a possible impeachment looms in the distance. Looking further back, his track record is no cleaner: a past littered with sexual harassment allegations, and shady business practices. But despite these various policies and blemishes on his past, disapproval of Trump has become largely surface-level. Criticizing him is now an easy way for foreign politicians to gain popularity and cover up their own missteps. 

When Trump tweeted that four nonwhite members of congress should “go back” to where they came from, Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau responded by saying, “that is not how we do things in Canada.” But… isn’t it? Trudeau can’t exactly take the high horse on racial issues when just a few weeks ago, he admitted to not knowing how many times he has worn blackface after three pictures of him in the racist practice surfaced. Trudeau’s condemnation of Trump is hypocritical and performative. Despite being known for his charm and progressive stances, Trudeau’s policies have not been much better than Trump’s. As the Nation writes, “Trudeau’s Liberal Party had turned its back on Canada’s migrant justice movements and rejected visa applications at higher rates than previous governments, sent representatives abroad to discourage people from coming to Canada, refused to budge on calls to end the Safe Third Country Agreement, and continued Canada’s indefinite detention of migrants.” What Trudeau really seems to be saying is “it’s okay to be racist, but could you please be a little more discreet about it?” 

Politicians are not the only culprit of this hypocrisy. When Queen Elizabeth II hosted Trump at Buckingham Palace, she wore a tiara that was made of Burmese rubies, which protect from evil and illness in Burmese culture. After this incident, social media was ablaze with mentions of the Queen allegedly ‘throwing shade’ at Trump. Even if this choice of tiara was intentional (which is unlikely), it isn’t something to be applauded. The jewels used in this tiara were gifted to the Queen by the Burmese people while they were under Britain’s rule. Jewels acquired through colonialism are not exactly progressive.  

Politicians use Trump as a shield: the more criticism he takes, the less they bear. They use Trump as a straw man, taking easy blows at him to obscure their own mistakes. Other politicians are guilty of the same transgressions as Trump, but they are less upfront about them. After Trudeau’s blackface scandal broke and his popularity was dwindling, he turned to using Trump for his campaign, saying, “We need to continue to have a strong government with a clear focus on standing up for Canadians, standing up to Donald Trump, standing up to the forces of populism and chaos around the world.” Criticizing Trump has become low-hanging fruit for politicians. As we project the entirety of the world’s evils onto Trump, vilifying him alone, it obscures the problems of other politicians. Because of this, the bar for good politicians has been drastically lowered; now, anyone who isn’t Trump seems to meet the criteria.  

Impeachment and “beating Trump” is not the end goal. Trump is far from the only problem facing society. Without Trump, this country’s deep-rooted issues will still remain. Trump is not the only culprit of discriminating policies, and the US is not the only country built on skeletons of the past. We must hold foreign leaders and other politicians to the same standards that we do Trump.