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POTUS’s true colours?

All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

Sometimes things happen that you can’t believe won’t become total game changers. And if the game isn’t changed, then is it a game that we really want to be playing anyway.

Sometimes words slip into the consciousness that sum up a time, a point at which everything changed. Selma, Columbine, Hungerford, London Bridge. Charlottesville.

Imagine the worst boss you ever had. The one you will tell your children and grandchildren about. The one who fired people because they wore the wrong coloured shirt, the one who fired people because they disagreed with him, the one who slagged off his own employees on social media and told everyone that anything he disagreed with was a lie – ‘fake’ if you will. The one who promised the world when he took over the company and then blamed everyone else when his promises turned out to be hot air.

Now, imagine that that worst boss ever managed to get so many dodgy people to agree with him that he became leader of the free world.

As leader of the free world, one has certain obligations to the rest of the world. And standing up against tyranny and hatred and bigotry is one of them.

So his refusal to condemn outright the terrorist attack on the protestors in Charlottesville that left Heather Heyer dead is outrageous. It’s sickening, but not surprising.  Donald Trump knows full well that he needs the far right on his side if he is to stand a chance (please, God, no) of being elected for a second term. He’s either being supremely pragmatic in allowing the far right to think that he is on their side – a tweet from ex-KKK leader David Dukes actually thanked Trump for “rightly” blaming Charlottesville on leftists terrorists – or he damn well is on their side. Either way, it makes my stomach turn.

My friends have just returned from Northern France where they showed their children the war graves from the Second World War. British, French, Canadian, Commonwealth, German and, yes, American graves, something I also did as a child.

By refusing to condemn outright the terrorist murder of Heather Heyer by a white supremacists, Mr Trump, you disrespect all your fellow countrymen who fell at Omaha Beach, at Utah Beach and whose bodies lie in the cemeteries across Northern France.

They died fighting people who waved the same swastikas as the people you are too weak to condemn. They died fighting the same ideology that murdered six million Jewish people within living memory. Your own daughter’s chosen religion.

Those dead American servicemen deserve our thanks, our gratitude and our heartfelt respect. You, Sir, do not.


About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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