Toon & Text by John Auchter
None of what Donald Trump does should surprise anybody. His behavior is erratic, certainly, but highly predictable. He has spent a lifetime demonstrating in a very public way that acting in his own self-interest is his default mode, his plan B, his alternate route, his “upon further consideration,” and so on. Look it up — it’s right there in his books, his shows, and his copious media coverage.
And yet, how can it be so disappointing when he goes ahead and does something that you know was entirely probable? Pick your example over the past 100 days (or, indeed, over his lifespan), but what recently kicked me in the mouth was his unprompted embrace of two brutal strongmen, Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey and Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines.
After “winning” a recent referendum that will allow Erdoğan to further consolidate his dictatorial powers in Turkey, President Trump made a point of calling him to congratulate him on his victory. This while Erdoğan has been busy jailing journalists, including editorial cartoonist, Musa Kart, for doing what journalists do. If you’re interested in knowing more about Mr. Kart, go to the Cartoonist Rights Network International website: http://cartoonistsrights.org/
Duterte also has been ruthless with journalists. But he is perhaps best known for a brand of supposed law and order where he has encouraged summary execution as a preferred method of achieving justice. Heck, he’s even bragged of murdering people himself. President Trump has reached out to Duterte with kind praise and an invitation to visit at the White House.
Another common thread with these two? There are Trump Towers in Istanbul and Manila.
So… not surprising, but deeply disappointing.