Donald Trump: America’s Saddam Hussein
After reading the Washington Post story on the first 72 hours of the Trump Administration, I came to realize something profound, and that is that Donald Trump is America’s, Saddam Hussein.
My opposition, nay hatred, of Donald Trump is well known. I view him as a threat to not only the security of the United States but to the civil liberties and checks and balances which make this country great. I am, truthfully, biased in my opinion. I want you to know that going in because I would hate to mislead you all.
There were three main anecdotes that I saw in the article that screamed ‘Saddam-ish.’ First and foremost it was the desire to sow mistrust amongst his lieutenants. From Bloomberg:
By requiring subordinates to speak untruths, a leader can undercut their independent standing, including their standing with the public, with the media and with other members of the administration. That makes those individuals grow more dependent on the leader and less likely to mount independent rebellions against the structure of command. Promoting such chains of lies is a classic tactic when a leader distrusts his subordinates and expects to continue to distrust them in the future.
By planting the seeds of mistrust of colleagues and creating loyalty tests, Trump ensures that every person within his administration, from the Press Secretary down, is both expendable and that their loyalty is in question. This will force those who want to keep their jobs, in a dictatorship it would be their lives, to report on any activity that could be considered treacherous. Such traitorous actions may be speaking to the press, pursuing an agenda different from the leader, or as simple as not displaying enough fealty to their lord.
The second Saddam-ish aspect I felt Trump showed was his propensity to lie to the press. Sean Spicer, the newly-minted press secretary, gave a five-minute rant to the media where he claimed that the crowds at Trump’s inauguration were the ‘largest ever’. This was quickly dismissed by anyone with eyes and Spicer’s credibility was under fire.
For Spicer, it appears that he was about to fail the all-important loyalty test of Donald Trump. Failure to properly dictate the President’s message could be see Spicer kicked out on his first day in his new office. Luckily, for the embattled Press Secretary
If there was any doubt over the weekend about Spicer’s standing with the president, it seemed to have been erased by his performance Monday, at least for the moment. Trump told his senior team that he was pleased with Spicer’s more confident and relaxed turn at the lectern.
Saddam’s Sean Spicer, a man named Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, was the Iraqi Minister of Information. al-Sahhaf was well known to American audiences for his colorful interpretation of Operation Desert Storm. Such doozies as
The Cruise missiles do not frighten anyone. We are catching them like fish in a river. I mean here that over the past two days, we managed to shoot down 196 missiles before they hit their target.
were not only untrue but they were monstrously untrue. al-Sahhaf earned the nicknames ‘Baghdad Bob’, and ‘Comical Ali’. The lying of both the Hussein and Trump administrations is to both mislead the press and the people. It is a natural aspect of any dictatorship, the so-called ‘Super Weapons’ of the SS in Nazi Germany were meant to help a beleaguered nation win an already lost war, and it is banking on the (usually correct) supposition that people simply won’t research any of the stories that they announce.
The third and final ‘Saddam-ish’ quality of Trump has to do with his family. Family is important to everyone, but for a dictator, it reigns supreme. For Trump, the only people he feels that he can trust is his family. It is why Don Jr, Eric, and Ivanka are sitting in on government meetings with tech titans, it is why Jared Kushner, his son in law, has become de facto consigliere, and it is why Trump only trusts his two sons to handle anything to do with his business. For Trump, blood is greater than any security clearance.
Trump’s attitude over the past several months, his constant lying, his unabashed narcissism, his allergy to facts and figures, and his constant fights with the press are akin to that of Saddam Hussein. There’s one significant difference between the two men: Saddam had the resources of a nation-state at his disposal to enforce his will. Before coming into office, Trump had alienated not just the press but the entire intelligence community as well. The only question is, with his circle of trust getting increasingly smaller by the hour, will a statue of Trump fall in the town square or will it not have time to be built?