I have a secret to confess: I have an unusual respect for Don Brash.
Believe me; we don’t always see eye-to-eye. As a sixth-generation Kiwi, whose family’s early survival in New Zealand was in no small part due to the good-will and manaakitanga of the iwi on whose tribal lands they settled, I find his dismissive attitude towards Māori culture particularly offensive.
Nonetheless, I have always admired Brash for his unrelenting commitment to the fundamentally Christian democratic principles of freedom of speech and equality under the law – even when faced with dreadful, unjust attacks against not only his character, but his physical person.
Imagine then, my disbelief at what can only be described as a blatant hit-piece in the previous issue of elocal, entitled “Trump: The Worst U.S. President in My Lifetime”.
Firstly, let’s address the “enormous damage” supposedly caused by Trump’s fiscal policy. In the first three years of Trump’s presidency, before COVID lockdowns decimated the US economy, federal debt increased by 16.08%, or 5.09% annually.1 Not only is this lower than the 6.85% annual increase in federal debt under Obama, but is the second-lowest annual increase of any President since Lyndon Johnston in the 1960s. “Grossly irresponsible” financial management? Hardly.
Moreover, through his tax reform, Trump accomplished what his left-wing opponents in the Democratic Party (not to mention, ‘progressive’ politicians in this country) could only dream of achieving: dramatically reducing the tax burden of working- and middle-class Americans, while increasing the tax payable by high net worth individuals (an extra $16 billion in 2018 alone).2 I would have expected the former leader of the ACT Party to be impressed by such an achievement, but apparently not.
With respect to the Iran nuclear deal, does anyone seriously believe that the regime in Tehran has now, or has ever had, any serious intention of abandoning its quest for nuclear weapons? Sure, it was willing to comply with the terms of the deal while it stood – joyfully accepting oil money from the West, while shamelessly continuing to provide weapons and financial support to Hamas, Hezbollah, Ansar Allah, and other revolutionary terrorist organisations throughout the Middle East.3
But the Obama administration’s rhetoric that increased diplomacy with Iran would temper its fanatical obsession with obtaining nuclear weapons (no doubt, the primary objective of which is to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth) seems to me as sound as the post-Cold War delusion that increased diplomacy with communist China would lead to democratisation and improvement of human rights. 32 years after Tiananmen Square, the Chinese Communist Party is as ruthless, oppressive, and authoritarian as ever; to believe Iran will behave any differently, given its open and widely-documented hatred for America, would be frankly absurd.4
Not to mention the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco, four Muslim nations that after decades of hostility, have now established diplomatic relations with Israel. Far from undermining trust in America, Trump and his administration
have done more to promote stability in the Middle East than any U.S. President since Jimmy Carter in the 1970s.
As for COVID-19, Mr Brash is well aware that the United States is a federal republic of 50 states, not a unitary state like New Zealand, where the Government may unilaterally implement lockdowns and other public health measures without the consent of local officials.
So while it is undeniable that Trump could have done more to ensure federal oversight of the pandemic response, it is another thing entirely to suggest that state-level implementation of any ‘pandemic plan’ would have been any more successful if he had. One only needs to look to the incompetence of Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who personally ordered 9,000 elderly recovering COVID patients be discharged from hospital care into nursing homes without first returning a negative PCR test,5 to see why this is the case.
To Brash’s incredulous reference to Russian interference in the 2016 election – for which there has never been an iota of credible evidence – I will say little more than refer the reader to the words of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, who called the investigation into Trump’s alleged ties to Russia “one of the most incompetent and corrupt investigations in the history of the FBI and DOJ”.6
But without a doubt Brash’s grasp on reality becomes most unhinged when it comes to his comments about the 2020 election, not least his rabid support for the false and plainly unconstitutional attempt to impeach Trump for inciting the capitol riots.
Where was Brash when hard-working Americans were having their homes and businesses trashed by so-called “peaceful protestors”?7 Where was Brash’s concern for the U.S. Constitution, when armed Antifa and Black Lives Matter activists literally staged an insurrection by establishing an occupied ‘autonomous zone’ in Seattle, and later in Portland?8
I certainly didn’t hear Brash calling for the censure of Democratic Representative Maxine Waters, who in 2018 implored her supporters to “create a crowd and […] push back, and tell [Trump supporters] they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere”;9 nor of then-Senator Kamala Harris, when she actively solicited donations for ‘justice’ funds that later bailed out convicted domestic abusers and child sex offenders.10
But when Donald Trump holds a rally in Washington D.C. on January 6th, more than a mile away from Capitol Hill, and encourages his base to exercise their constitutional rights to freedom of assembly by peacefully protesting the election results, suddenly he is guilty of “urging a mob” to overthrow the U.S. Government?
Let's get real: everyone from the NRA to Antifa knows there was something “fishy” about Biden’s election11 – whether it was the late-night ballot drops,12 the unconstitutional last-minute changes to voting procedures,13 or the brazen collaboration between Big Tech, Wall Street, and the media to suppress anything at all that might jeopardise Biden's victory.14
Who knew that Don Brash’s passion for “freedom of speech” extended only to his political allies?
In short, no recent President has fought as tirelessly to uphold the democratic, sovereign independence of America in the face of rising global totalitarianism. If that doesn’t make Trump the greatest President of my lifetime, I don’t know what does.
Far from undermining trust in America, Trump and his administration have done more to promote stability in the Middle East than any U.S. President since Jimmy Carter in the 1970s.
Let's get real: everyone from God-fearing conservative Republicans to Trump-bashing Antifa activists knows there was something “fishy” about Biden’s election.
Nicole Wenzlick is a contributor to elocal Magazine.