Gerald Caplan is a former New Democratic Party national director.
Thank heavens for Donald Trump. Who knows how long those migrant children would have been separated from their mothers, from their entire families, if Donald Trump’s sympathy hadn’t gone out to them. Their plight really broke his heart, so he decided to move heaven and earth to bring them together again.
Good thing, too, that Mr. Trump was receptive, as is his way, to the heart-rending pleas of those he so deeply respects around the world: the United Nations, the UN Human Rights Council, the Pope, Laura Bush, his daughter Ivanka, Theresa May, Emanuel Macron, Justin Trudeau, many high-placed fellow Republicans, all Democrats and, in general, just about the entire population of the world. So far as we know, Mr. Trump’s favourite statesman and leading bromantic interest, Kim Jong-un, did not weigh in on the subject. But Mr. Trump proved himself open to the petitions of the world. That’s just the kind of guy he is.
Okay, truth time. Yes, all of this is false news. While Mr. Trump was indeed widely pressured to allow parents and children who had tried to cross into the United States to be reunited, the only badgering he ever recognized, as is his wont, was from inside his guts. Mr. Trump now moves on not with any sense that he ever did anything wrong, nor that he meekly succumbed to badgering from across the globe. But because he wanted to. And he wanted to because he always does the right thing, not because he was pestered by elites. If he wants to separate migrant children and their families again, he will. Period.
For he has never been wrong – not once in his entire life. He was not wrong when his hotels and casinos went bankrupt. He was certainly not wrong when he accused Barack Obama of having been born outside the United States. He was 100-per-cent right in pointing the finger at Latino refugees as the curse of America. He told the truth in the 3,001 lies that the Washington Post proved he uttered in his first 466 days in office, and in his menacing rants against an independent press.
He was dead on when he flattered Kim Jong-un. And if he’s wrong? “I may be wrong, I mean, I may stand before you in six months and say, ‘Hey, I was wrong,’” the President said at a Singapore news conference earlier this month, before adding, “I don’t know that I’ll ever admit that, but I’ll find some kind of an excuse.”
He was, of course, right when he repeatedly insisted that in separating children from families he was merely executing the law passed by the Democrats in Congress. (Except for a couple of Fox News experts, almost everyone who knew anything in America told Donald Trump he was wrong about this, and showed him how and why he was wrong, which meant every time he repeated it, which was very often, he was lying.)
But, of course, it’s pointless to say so. We need, finally, to understand that as far as Donald Trump is concerned, he never lies, even when he lies. If he says it’s so, it’s so, even when it’s demonstrably not so. Experts – elitists, by definition – can bellyache to their squishy hearts’ content about the truth. They’re wrong. They’re wrong because he can’t be wrong. He has never been wrong. He can never be shown that he’s wrong.
That’s why he perennially wears that smug, self-satisfied look, or alternatively puts on his best scowl when he thinks someone is disagreeing with him.
Mr. Trump will have learned no lessons at all from this debacle over child separation. But it should at least be a teachable movement for Canada and the rest of the world. Prime Minister Trudeau is completely off base when he claims that “We’ve established the ability to have real conversations” with Mr. Trump. There are no real conversations with Donald Trump. There are no dialogues, no exchanges between equals. He has no equals. He is indifferent to reason, deaf to arguments. His favourite human being is Vice-President Mike Pence, the robot perpetually at his side, silent as the grave, blank as an unmarked tombstone, beyond any lingering self-respect – the perfect sidekick for Donald Trump.
Politicians such as Mr. Trudeau need have no fear of speaking truth to Mr. Trump’s power for fear of angry retaliation. He will retaliate when and if he wants – capriciously, unpredictably, irrationally, with provocation or without – as he wants. If he wants. But Justin Trudeau can offer Canadians what so many of us desperately want – a voice that speaks the truth about Donald Trump and his administration. A voice that would make Canadians proud that our leaders spoke truth to power on our behalf. And, if he attempts to punish us, we should know two things: He probably intended to do so anyway, and at least we took a blow in the name of plain truth and simple decency.