History sustains us when our ties to one another become frayed.
A Phone Call from President Trump
On making the most of history
I received a call from President Trump recently. He does not know me from Adam. We had never spoken. Trump had phoned to congratulate me on a speech I gave called “Trump’s Virtues,” words that he probably rarely sees in partnership. He said he had read the transcript of the speech twice—and he said it in a way that suggested he rarely reads things twice.
Trump no doubt read my speech as an endorsement; it was not. It was an attempt to call attention to his underappreciated virtues outside the policy arena. Although Trump enacted many important policies, it was his personal virtues that inspired a movement—it is the “rest of him” that revealed qualities which any Republican president will need, if he is to succeed in winning the war we are in.
Trump had left me a voice mail which began, “This is Donald Trump, your all-time favorite President.” I imagined Abraham Lincoln chuckling as he graciously gave up the top spot in the presidential rankings to The Donald.
Trump is not a modest man, but modesty in a politician is overrated. What’s more, Trump is probably not much more immodest than most politicians. The difference is, he doesn’t feel the need to hide it. Trump is comfortable in his own skin—a prerequisite for courage and independence, which he has in spades.
With Trump what you see is what you get. Authenticity is very rare in politics, which his supporters understand and appreciate.
He began the call with barely a hello before launching into his rally speech. As he always does, he raced through his (impressive) list of accomplishments as well as Biden’s failings—also an impressive list. In addition, he told me he had saved Mitch McConnell’s bacon and made DeSantis into the star he is. Nothing that we have not heard scores of times before. Trump, good marketer that he is, knows that repetition is the marketer’s best friend.
Though he spoke for most of the 30-minute call, he was eager to hear what I had to say, and when I spoke, he listened respectfully. I had the impression that despite his long-windedness, he was a better listener than advertised. At one point, I told him he had no white guilt. I wanted to emphasize that white guilt in America is killing us. Because of it we all, Republicans and Democrats alike, are giving in to the woke comm agenda of affirmative action and group outcome equality. (“Woke Communism” or “woke comm” is my name for the enemy regime that wants to overthrow the American way of life.)
For the woke comms to succeed, they must make us swallow the lie that America is systemically racist and about to be overrun by white supremacists. This is the Big Lie, and Trump should call it that. If they can convince enough of us to accept the Big Lie, we will submit to their agenda. This, in turn, will inevitably lead to a totalitarian regime. We are partly there already. This needs to be explained to the American people often and everywhere. They must understand that if the Big Lie is allowed to stand, America will fall.
Although Trump does not believe for a nanosecond that America is racist, systemically or otherwise, he needs to say it much more often than he does. If he would do so, perhaps other Republicans would follow his lead. Republicans should band together and agree on a rhetorical strategy for combatting the Big Lie. There is courage in numbers. Perhaps this could be the work of a new “anti-woke” congressional caucus.
At the same time that the woke comms jam the Big Lie down our throats, they try to shut up those who challenge their lie—through censorship, calumny, terror, humiliation, and blacklisting. On the national stage, only Trump can withstand such attacks. Trump gives as good as he gets, and he does not care whether he is liked. God bless him for that.
I asked President Trump what two or three things he would do differently were he to get a second term. He gave me a very good answer, I think—he said, “People, people, people.” Obviously, he knows that many in his administration ill-served him, sometimes even undercut him. Apropos, he said he had only been to Washington 17 times before becoming President. This was by way of explaining that he did not know his way around Washington. And so he took advice from the wrong people, RINOS mostly. I asked what he would do differently were there a next time. He responded in the common-sense way he invariably does: “I now know the right people,” he said.
After we hung up I thought of a few things I should have mentioned. First, we need a name for the enemy regime that is intent on destroying our way of life. I’d like Trump to use “woke communism,” but he might well come up with a better one. Naming is right up his alley. If he had a name that he used frequently, other politicians and thought leaders might follow suit.
We also need a face to attach to the woke comm movement. The woke comms have Trump himself as the face of everything they hate. Trump is their fascist-in-chief. A friend suggested that Gavin Newsom might play a similar role for our side. Newsom is well known, uses the right number of pronouns, and looks the part: unctuously trendy. But here too, Trump might come up with someone better. This is another strength of his.
We touched on Anthony Fauci, but I wanted to go deeper. Trump probably regrets his decision not to fire Fauci, although he might not admit it and there is no reason he should. Admitting mistakes is not necessarily a virtue in times of war. In evaluating Trump, we must always keep in mind that Trump is a wartime president.
I also should have asked Trump what he was planning to do were he to get a second term. What I want to find out is whether he was doing any planning at all. He now knows what he wants to accomplish, but is he developing the strategies for getting it done? Trump is a man who shoots from the hip. That considered, his aim is very good. But with a little strategic planning he might hit a few more targets.
Were Trump to run and win in 2024, he must hit the ground running.
The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.