WASHINGTON — It has been a pretty good week for Donald Trump. The economy is growing faster than anyone on the left or in the middle or among the Never-Trumpers believed possible. Inflation is low, and employment is at a record high. Moreover, the president and the European Union reached an understanding on trade last week that signals the likely end of a trade war, at least with Europe. Ferocious fires continue to burn out of control on the California countryside, yet no one has had the temerity to blame the fires on the president, or even on Melania Trump.
President Trump's critics have compared him to Adolf Hitler, Joseph Goebbels, Benito Mussolini and, of course, former President Richard Nixon. The president has not really been compared to Stalin by them, but one would not expect it. Many of them still have a warm spot in their hearts for Stalin, or “Uncle Joe,” as former President Franklin D. Roosevelt was given to calling the vaunted Man of Steel. Over the weekend, I am told, the president was also compared to a mafia don by Maureen Dowd, though I have not verified the comparison, as I no longer find la Dowd amusing to read. Yet as I go to press, the president has not been blamed for the California fires, or even for CBS CEO Leslie Moonves' problems with women, many of whom have now apparently changed their minds about his good intentions, in some cases after decades of reflection. Good show, Mr. President! Stay out of California and the Moonves business.
Actually, the news about our president gets even better. Apparently, A.G. Sulzberger, the hereditary publisher of The New York Times, had lunch with him in the White House on July 20 — I do hope Trump's presidential advisers were nearby to counsel Sulzberger on the proper use of cutlery. At any rate, Sulzberger has informed the American public via an official New York Times edict that he told the president “his language was not just divisive but increasingly dangerous.” And Sulzberger went on to warn his host that “this inflammatory language is contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence.” He gave this lecture despite the fact that most of the violence has been against Trump supporters, and even against Republican office holders like Sen. Rand Paul and several congressmen, most notably Congressman Steve Scalise. What planet does Sulzberger inhabit?
There is an aura of the surreal about the world inhabited by this earnest striver Sulzberger, and, of course, la Dowd and all the rest of the goody-goodies equating Trump with everything from brutal tyranny, to deadly bacterium, to poison ivy. They have championed every form of lout from the mild — say, immigrants who are in the country illegally — to the criminal — say, rapists and murderers — to the authors of genocide — say, the aforementioned Stalin, that fat little butterball of a butcher Mao Zedong and Fidel Castro, the last of whose historic funeral ride across progressive Cuba a few years back was interrupted when the seemingly 40-year-old Jeep bearing his body broke down in the countryside and had to be pushed by a few of his yokels to some repair shop for a new set of spark plugs, or perhaps a new rubber band.
These last three psychopaths have never, as far as I can tell, been compared to Donald Trump. They have been compared to former Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, Jesus and other exemplars, but never to Trump. To the tiny brain of a Hollywoodian or a progressive Democrat or a hamster, all three are towering figures. All the mystery and hocus-pocus that surrounds their aura entrances these simpletons. As was said of their equivalents back in the ancient days of the Russian Revolution by Beatrice or Sidney Webb — I think it was Beatrice — “You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs.”
What is amazing about the Trump critics is not that they exist, for they always exist, but that they are so plenteous and have risen to positions of influence even outside Hollywood, the media and what passes for culture in America today. Oh, sure, their views rarely take on much puissance even when they are spotted at work in the fields of commerce, the courts, high tech, medicine and so forth, but it is a little startling to see them running large companies, say Facebook or Google.
All I can say is that the great majority of Americans pays them little attention. The American majority sees that President Trump is effective in boosting the economy, and even in handling our foreign policy. Meanwhile Facebook and other dubious enterprises are blowing up. The critics make a lot of noise, but in the end they do not matter a lot. What really matters is last quarter's growth rate of 4.1 percent.