President Donald Trump, in his avatar as a politician, has stepped out on to the electoral warpath. America’s leader, best known for his Twitter rants, came out all guns blazing against four Democratic Congresswomen with a vicious racist attack that has already set the tone for a blistering 2020 re-election campaign. Mr Trump isn’t known for any sensitivity on what his tweets may convey to various sections of his country’s ethnically diverse and increasingly foreign-born citizenry.
In directing his ire at four progressive women who are young faces of the Democratic Party, he made his agenda crystal clear. He is appealing once again to white nationalists who may have been the ones to most facilitate his entry into the White House. Two-and-a-half years into his first term, Mr Trump may have reason to feel that he has nothing to worry about the furore he is causing in trumpeting his racist and xenophobic policies.
The call to “Go back to your country” may sound somewhat familiar to us in India where people not considered amenable to the powers that be are often asked to “go to Pakistan”. The trend of a swing to the right of the political firmament became apparent long ago and Mr Trump is aware that his baiting will hit home with the section of the electorate he is aiming at. It might seem incongruous to us that, of the legislators he named, only one was born outside the US and the others are Americans since birth. Alarmingly, very few voices of dissent were heard about the Trump diatribe from among Republicans, except for the moderate Senator Susan Collins. The party knows well that the situation is now different, with a majority of Twitter users following Mr Trump approving of his performance in the White House.
Theresa May standing up to Mr Trump may be just an indication of her position as Britain’s PM as she is on the way out. The comments do reflect the damage that Mr Trump may have caused to US-British relations with his vitriolic attacks on the British ambassador to Washington recently. The point is: The world knows what Mr Trump stands for, but it doesn’t matter to him as long as his actions and words please his supporters. It may worry Republicans that his peccadilloes may do little to attract those who are not part of their core base, but they are as helpless as the world is in seeing the viciously divisive campaign now under way.