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Donald Trump's nationalism is of all colours

Irresponsible journalists are trying to tar Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer with the same 'white supremacist' brush used on the president

by Conrad Black

With some regret, I must take rather strenuous issue with an opinion piece posted on the CBC website on April 16 by my cordial cyber-acquaintance Neil Macdonald, entitled “Why Is Conservative Politics Such a Natural Home for White Supremacists?” Neil sets out to answer the question with a completely spurious sequence of assertions and deductions. Inevitably, Donald Trump is the principal offender. “He proudly calls himself a nationalist, without specifying what kind; ‘Use that word,’ he tells his angry, overwhelmingly white base, ‘Use that word.’ ” It’s a 70-per-cent white country, and the president has very extensive non-white support, especially among Latin and Asian Americans. His base is angry at the 20 years of misgovernment that preceded Trump: the endless fruitless Middle East wars and humanitarian disaster, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, a flat-lined economy and a shrinking work force and a foreign policy that oscillated from George W. Bush’s trigger-happy interventionism to Obama’s pacifism and appeasement of Iran and North Korea.

Macdonald completely misses the point

Macdonald completely misses the point. U.S. GDP growth per capita declined from 4.5 per cent annually under Reagan to 3.9 per cent under Clinton to two per cent under the second Bush, to one per cent under Obama, while the national debt under Obama increased by 125 per cent in eight years. That is the reason Trump’s voters were angry and the answer to the spurious rhetorical question “What kind” (of nationalism) is American nationalism, no colour and all colours. Yet he’s continually accused of being a bigot, despite being prouder of nothing than the fact that unemployment rates for all groups of non-white Americans are lower now and incomes higher than they have ever been.

Brad Parscale, right, campaign manager for U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, speaks with supporters during a campaign rally in Estero, Fla., on Oct. 31, 2018. Saul Loeb

Macdonald pretends, in effect, that all nationalists are white nationalists, and that white nationalists are white supremacists. This is bunk. The half of America that supports Trump is not composed in any significant measure of racists of any kind; they are of all races and they are all nationalists, in the sense of being patriotic Americans who do not want their country swindled in trade deals by the Chinese or Mexicans, or to be swamped by 100,000 undocumented and illegal immigrants a month (to cite the figure from March), or to make an ass of itself in the world with Obama’s dissolving “red line” (in Syria). In support of his argument, Macdonald refers to Candace Owens as “a conservative American activist cited by the New Zealand murderer as his greatest influence” and who Macdonald claims, “once said Hitler wasn’t such a bad fellow.” Macdonald doesn’t mention that Ms. Owens is an African-American, whose comments on Hitler were completely misrepresented by a Democratic congressman whom she exposed as a liar and that she in fact said that Hitler was “a megalomaniacal psychopath.” He wrote that Congressman Stephen King “has rhetorically asked what’s wrong with being a white nationalist or white supremacist, (and) remains a proud Republican.” Perhaps, but Macdonald doesn’t mention that King was severely reprimanded by the Republican congressional leadership with the agreement of the president.

Activist Candace Owens speaks at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum in Indianapolis, Ind., on April 26, 2019. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Neil Macdonald is not to be outdone in vapid rhetorical questions: “Why is it that white supremacists from the neo-Nazis who threw celebratory salutes the night of his election, to former KKK leader David Duke, to the Charlottesville torchbearers, to the New Zealand murderer, or Cesar Sayoc, the Florida body-builder who sent explosives to Trump’s critics in 2018, gravitate right?” People believe what they want to believe, and some extremists imagined Trump shared some of their values, mainly because Macdonald and other irresponsible or dishonest journalists in large numbers incite them to believe that. Does anyone ask why the sniper who almost assassinated the Republican whip in the House of Representatives, Steve Scalise, was a Sanders supporter? Not that I have heard and no sane person would consider Sanders or Trump or any substantial presidential candidate responsible for violence or racist incitements. It is false that Trump takes “comparatively little notice when hate crimes are carried out by white Christians or non-Muslims.” Like any civilized person, he deplores all such acts, as when he and his wife promptly visited the attacked synagogue in Pittsburgh last year. He did not say there were some “very fine people” in the white mob carrying torches in Charlottesville in 2017. He said some of the people who wished to retain the statue of General Robert E. Lee were “very fine people.” Some were; he denounced both sides for the violence that occurred, and which was facilitated by the rabidly anti-Trump mayor and governor of Virginia. Antifa and the kinds of Black Lives Matter protesters that chant about killing white policemen are no prize in civic virtue either.

Like any civilized person, he deplores all such acts

No progress is going to be made in discouraging and shaming racism by deliberately smearing people who are innocent of such sentiments. Macdonald’s attempts to whitewash the extreme left and to portray all nationalists as white supremacists are outrageous; his malice and recklessness just muddy the waters and aggravate the problem. And, lest Canadian nationalists (of every “kind”), feel left out, Macdonald did not forget you. Faith Goldy “an obvious white supremacist (a label she rejects),” rejects it because she is nothing of the kind. She made a serious mistake appearing on an apparently Nazi-sympathetic podcast but what she actually said was completely inoffensive and she spoke warmly of her then-employer, Ezra Levant, a vigorous Zionist. She doesn’t want anti-white militants exercising excessive political influence in Canada and has imprudently taunted the dog-whistling racism-mongers like Neil Macdonald, and sometimes acts recklessly (as I have warned of here before). But she retains the support of many non-whites and many of the smears against her are baseless or exaggerated.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, back centre, sits with former MP Wai Young, right, before speaking at the Khalsa Diwan Society Sikh Temple during Vaisakhi celebrations in Vancouver on April 13, 2019. Darryl Dyck/CP

Andrew Scheer is tarred with the same brush, for addressing, along with Faith Goldy and Maxime Bernier, a Yellow-Vest gathering in Ottawa last year. The Gilets Jaunes aren’t particularly right, and are as much left; they’re just robustly cranky French bourgeois, supplemented by a few non-political hooligans, the usual politically incoherent gang of demonstrators and vandals that have infested the grand boulevards of Paris intermittently for centuries. Most of them have nothing to do with any “kind” of nationalism or any racial views at all; like most French people, they don’t like high taxes.

Andrew Scheer is pilloried in the Macdonald piece for hiring someone from (Ezra Levant’s) Rebel Media as his campaign manager (the completely unexceptionable Hamish Marshall). The whole tone and tenor of this nonsense is McCarthyism: innuendo, guilt by associations, group smears and exploitation of base instincts of paranoia and hostility to other groups, except it is inverted and the hostility is directed at the white majority on the false grounds that the majority is hostile to minorities. Like almost all the Canadian media, Macdonald is just parroting the defeated anti-Trump media of Washington, whose credibility is now barely a quarter of the president’s in public opinion surveys.

The whole tone and tenor of this nonsense is McCarthyism

Trump ran against the entire political class, including the national political media. He was unelectable until he was elected, and was headed for removal from office until the famous walls started closing in on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and the former intelligence and FBI chiefs. Macdonald complains of Trump’s (unspecified) “boorish rantings.” When the perpetrators of the gigantic Trump-Russian collusion fraud go to the grand jury (which in the fascistic American justice system means prison 90 per cent of the time), they will not be singing like happy little elves. But Neil Macdonald will still be inflicting his leftist nonsense on gullible Canadians.

First published in the National Post.

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