By Curtis Ellis
The 2016 election gave us the “Silent Trump Supporter” — Trump voters who would not reveal their true sympathies to pollsters.
This was a great mystery at the time, but seeing now how Trump supporters are routinely denigrated, harassed and vilified, their silence was understandable if not prescient.
In 2018, the Silent Trump Supporter has gone global.
Around the world, government officials and heads of state ritually denounce President Trump to anyone who will listen. But at the same time they are pursuing the game-changing policies the president has championed.
Take this story from the European Union, please.
“China and the European Union vowed to oppose trade protectionism in an apparent rebuke to the U.S., saying unilateral actions risked pushing the world into a recession,” reports the lead sentence in a recent Bloomberg story.
However, European companies are complaining about the “lack of reciprocity between the access to China’s markets that they get, and the access Chinese companies get to Europe.” Brussels also has problems with China’s forced technology transfers, steel overcapacity, cyber espionage and investments targeting critical technology and infrastructure.
And while Eurocrats genuflect to multilateral globalism, they acknowledge the World Trade Organization needs to be updated “to better equip it for the contemporary world.”
How do we know all this? It’s in the same Bloomberg story, buried eleven paragraphs down.
China’s non-reciprocal protection of its home market, its industrial espionage, forced technology transfer, deliberate overproduction of steel and aluminum, and the WTO’s inability to deal with Beijing’s flagrant serial violations– these are the issues President Trump has addressed after decades of diplomatic happy talk and no action.
Count the Brussels bureaucrats as silent Trump supporters.
By now we are all familiar with Justin Trudeau, Canada’s woke prime minister, he who preens and postures in public about not being pushed around by President Trump.
Meanwhile, we learn the Canadian government is preparing a combination of quotas and tariffs to prevent a flood of steel imports from other countries including China. ”The moves follow similar ‘safeguard’ measures being considered by the European Union,” our friends at Bloomberg tell us.
Add Justin Trudeau and his trade minister Chrystia Freeland to the basket of Silent Trump Supporters.
You may want to put Toronto Mayor John Tory in that basket, too. While Trudeau gamely condemns the Trump administration’s immigration policies as “unacceptable,” Toronto’s mayor says his city can’t handle the huge number of refugees and asylum seekers entering Canada and is asking for help from Ottawa.
And then there’s Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor and anti-Trump poster child. While her public pronouncements against President Trump’s America First agenda are as fierce as any MSNBC host’s, her actions tell a different story.
Merkel wants to send some of the million recent immigrants to the other European countries they came through on their way to Germany. Her coalition partners want any more asylum seekers turned back at the border. Merkel recently had a photo-op at a Beirut refugee camp, and the European Commission is considering setting up centers in North Africa for migrants intercepted at sea on the way to Europe.
These are precisely the policies President Trump is advocating when he says Mexico should deal with the migrants flowing through that country, asylum seekers should be dealt with at the border, and Middle Eastern refugees should be taken care of in their home region.
Unlike the silent Trump voters of 2016 concerned about being bullied on social media or in public, the Silent Trump Supporters of 2018 are more cynical.
They bring to mind the story of the Red Hen.
Not the Lexington restaurant that refuses service on the basis of political opinion (one of the recognized grounds for seeking asylum, ironically), but the children’ story about the hypocrisy of those who refuse to make the bread but are more than ready to enjoy the product of someone else’s industry.
President Trump did the hard work — he had the guts to discard the failed policies and conventional wisdom of the past. He’s charting a new course for an international system collapsing under the stress of decades of systemic imbalances in trade, production and employment opportunities.
The lazy, sleepy and noisy are all too happy to call President Trump names — even as they emulate his policies and eat the bread he baked.
Curtis Ellis is senior policy advisor with America First Policies. He was a senior policy advisor on the Donald J. Trump campaign.