The Pied Piper of the White House

>> Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Perry Diaz

In 1284, as the legend goes, the people of Hamelin, Germany, hired the town’s rat-catcher, a piper, to lure the rats away with his magic pipe.  The piper was dressed in multi-colored (“pied”) clothing; hence he was called the “Pied Piper.”  He led the rats out of the town and into the sea where they drowned.  When the town’s people refused to pay him for his services, he retaliated by using his magic pipe and led their children away as he had with the rats.
Today, the term “Pied Piper” describes a person who talks often convincingly but who leads people into disaster.  It is also used to identify a leader whom people willingly follow as he leads them into danger or trouble by means of lies and false promises.
During the 2016 presidential elections in the U.S., Democratic Party officials labeled the Republican Party’s candidate Donald Trump a “Pied Piper candidate.”  Using his strong appeal to white nationalists and right-wing conservatives, Trump got the nomination of the Republican Party by eliminating his 16 rivals, one by one, in the primaries. 
During the general election, Trump used demagoguery to deliver a populist message such as “America First” and “Make America great again!”  He also manifested anti-women, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim behavior.  But to his die-hard supporters, his coded messages stirred their own prejudices.    
Massive protests
The day after Trump’s inauguration on January 20, 2017, the largest organized protest against him occurred in Washington, DC.   The protest -- Women’s March -- was then the largest single-day protest in U.S. history.  Protests in various cities around the world were held in support of the Women’s March.  After that, more protests occurred against Trump’s immigration policy, Travel ban, and the controversial Zero Tolerance Policy that forcibly separated migrant children from their families.
As the anti-Trump protests snowballed, his base of diehard voters became angrier. They turned out in large numbers in rallies Trump organized in cities where his voter base was strong.  And in these campaign-like rallies, Trump would excite them using inflammatory rhetoric against the anti-Trump protestors.  
He strongly believes that his followers would follow him blindly and remain loyal to him regardless of what he does – right or wrong. Indeed, on January 23, 2016, then presidential candidate Trump caused controversy when he said during a campaign rally in Iowa: “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” That’s how confident he was.  
Knowing how effective it was, he had since repeated the same line over and over again.  It worked and they loved it!  Which makes one wonder if he’d ask them to jump off the bridge, would they do it?   Trump would probably say, “Yes, they’ll jump for me.”  Does that manifest over-confidence or is it symptomatic of his imbalanced psyche? 
Faux pas
When Trump visited the Queen of England last July 13, huge anti-Trump demonstrations were held in London and other cities.  An orange blimp shaped like a baby in a diaper floated above London. It was called “Baby Trump.”  But what is more surprising was the number of anti-Trump protesters who showed up at the rally.  
It was estimated that the protesters numbered from 100,000 to 200,000.  The British media was particularly critical.  One newspaper, the Daily News, showed a cartoon of Trump holding Putin with one hand and shooting Uncle Sam with the other hand.  It was captioned, “OPEN TREASON.”   
The social media was also inundated with postings expressing indignation and outrage over Trump’s behavior in London and during the NATO Summit in Brussels two days before.  Trump broke protocol when he arrived 12 minutes late to his meeting with Queen Elizabeth.  
And when they reviewed the honor guard, Trump rudely walked in front of her.  The Queen had to walk fast to catch up with Trump and walked by his side, which was the norm. After his visit with the Queen at the Windsor Palace, he bragged to reporters that it was the first time in 70 years that the Queen reviewed an honor guard.  Certainly, that was a lie. 
It’s interesting to note that no other members of the Royal Family joined Trump and the Queen for tea.   Was it a deliberate snub for Trump who had said, “Britain is in turmoil” and defended Foreign Minister Boris Johnson who had resigned over Brexit?  
It was bad enough that Trump made some faux pas during his visit with the Queen; he also criticized Prime Minister Theresa May.  He accused her of wrecking Brexit, warning that “she may have killed off any chance of a vital US trade deal,” which is a diplomatic taboo to say.  He also told May: “Boris Johnson is good friend… He would make a great prime minister,” which certainly rubbed May the wrong way.
Helsinki disaster
But the worst thing happened during the Trump-Putin Summit in Helsinki on July 16.  During the question and answer session following their press briefing, Trump was asked about the indictment of 12 officers from Russia’s GRU, the equivalent of the CIA.   They were indicted in the US for allegedly hacking the Democratic Party’s computer servers during the 2016 elections.  
The investigation that led to the indictment was backed up by US intelligence agencies.  But in a stunning rebuke of the US intelligence community, Trump declined to endorse the US government’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 elections, saying he doesn’t “see any reason why" Russia would be responsible.  Standing next to Putin, he then firmly said in no uncertain terms:  
“I have great confidence in my intelligence people. But, I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.  He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would.”  Huh?  Did Trump just throw America and the American people under the bus? 
And when Putin was asked whether he had actively wanted Trump to win the presidency, and if he directed any officials to help ensure Trump would win?  Putin’s answer to the double question was: “Yes, I did.  Yes, I did.  Because he [Trump] talked about bringing the US-Russia relationship back to normal.” It was a disaster!
Putin’s puppet
The Helsinki disaster triggered a tsunami in public opinion.  Waves of Americans vented their anger and displeasure over Trump’s treachery. Many called him a traitor, Putin’s puppet.  How can their Commander-in-Chief sell out to the country’s geopolitical enemy? 
Trump was shocked at the reception back home.  
Although his diehard base remained loyal by deluging social media with postings of their support, the rest of the country was thunderstruck!  Why?  He believed that he had just finished an outstanding performance on world stage.  He must have felt that America had disgraced him.  How can the American people elect him as president and then abandon him when he needed their unqualified support?
Now Trump is going to exact vengeance against America for turning her back on him.  And what a better way to avenged America’s shabby treatment than to find an ally in Putin?  So, a few days after his devastating diplomatic fiasco, Trump invited Putin to come to America.  
He will honor him as his special guest during the military parade he had planned for November 10 to celebrate Veterans Day, which is preceded by the midterm elections on November 6.  The outcome of the midterms could lead to Trump taking his victory lap – if he retains majority in Congress -- with Putin on his side, or receive the biggest insult -- if he loses Congress -- to his presidency in front of the hundreds of parading soldiers.
And just like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, the Pied Piper of the White House is going to retaliate with his magical tweets by leading America’s children away and propel America into Russia’s orbit. (


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