Trump's ignorance won't save him from history lesson - Times LIVE
   
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Sun Mar 26 22:39:18 SAST 2017

Trump's ignorance won't save him from history lesson

Times Editorial | 2017-02-01 06:38:20.0
Donald Trump does not hold history in high esteem, says the writer. Photo file.
Image by: JONATHAN ERNST / REUTERS

There's a sense of horrified awe in witnessing the Trump tsunami unfolding in the US as the newly inaugurated president tears through his country's democratic traditions.

Pundits are pointing to Richard Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre as the closest chapter in recent political history to what is occurring now.

Nixon's "massacre" saw the resignation of both the US attorney-general and the deputy attorney-general in October 1973 for refusing a presidential order to fire the independent special prosecutor probing the Watergate scandal.

Students of history will know how the story ended for Nixon.

Tellingly, Trump does not hold history in high esteem.

Instead, his myopic world view has allowed him to translate what he believes is his electoral mandate into a flurry of bigoted executive orders including throwing up a Berlin-style wall on the border with Mexico and his reprehensible ban on refugee migration.

The latter decision shines a light on Trump's denial of history as he cited the 9/11 terror attacks as justification for the ban. Critics point out that none of those attackers came from countries targeted in Trump's ban.

Thankfully, inspiration comes in the resistance to the refugee crackdown, from the protesters at John F Kennedy airport in New York City and elsewhere, to the civil rights groups fighting the order tooth-and-nail and to US District judge Ann Donnelly who was the first judge to block Trump's order.

Also inspiring was acting attorney-general Sally Yates's refusal to instruct her staff to oppose legal challenges to the Trump directive. Her stand has cost her her job, as it did her predecessors in the Nixon era.

History has a tendency to repeat itself and Trump's ignorance of it will not save him from its lessons.

And that's not an alternative fact.

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