Germany faces a multitude of problems. They begin with an aging society, lackluster economic growth, overdependence on the export sector of the economy and too little investment at home.
They also include a shaky education sector, unsustainably high levels of welfare spending and considerable problems with managing the current (never mind future) migration waves. In short, the country is in crisis.
Paying attention to great grandpa’s home
But here is an interesting twist: Even though Donald J. Trump and the entire Trump clan are generally seized by the age of past-factualism, if not ignorance, they do pay remarkably close attention to what’s going on in their ancestral country.
The Donald’s grandfather, Friedrich Trump, who lived from 1869 to 1918, hailed from a small town called Kallstadt an der Weinstrasse in Germany’s Palatinate region.
Ever since Donald J. Trump became U.S. President and took so forcefully to the Twitter waves, Germany has been a core subject of his scorn. Part of the reason is that the country is led by a woman, Angela Merkel.
After Trump had beaten Hillary Clinton in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, Nancy Pelosi wasn’t enough as a target. He needed another object for his misogynistic inner drive – and found the German Chancellor.
Slighting today’s Germany, to restore family honor
Another vital part of Trump’s scorn for today’s Germany is that his great grandfather was denied permission to return to Germany on a permanent basis, when he applied for repatriation after he had made his career in the United States. The family had to return to the United States in 1905.
The key reason for that decision by the King of Bavaria was that when Friedrich Trump had left for the United States as a young man, he dodged his obligation for military service (which evidently is a proud family tradition!).
The fact that Trump’s grandpa had made his fortune in the United states as a brothel owner probably also did not help his case.
The Trump women also weigh in
How much the Trump clan still feels slighted by this becomes evident when you listen to Lara Trump, the wife of U.S. President’s middle son Eric.
Earlier this year, appearing on Fox News, she called German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to admit 1.4 million refugees, mostly fleeing from the civil conflict in Syria, “the downfall of Germany.” She also called it “one of the worst things that ever happened to Germany.”
From the “squad” to self-deportation!
But now to the core matter at hand, Trump’s de facto self-deportation order. He has called on four women members of the U.S. Congress — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn) — to go back to the countries where they (or their families) hail from.
It goes without saying that Trump launched into his diatribe — a 21st century version of the anti-Communist “love it or leave it” trope — for entirely political reasons. The 45th U.S. President hopes that his race-baiting will gain him votes in battleground states in the upcoming 2020 elections.
What Trump’s opponents overlook
All those Americans who are rightfully incensed about Trump’s divisionary political ploy fail to see the opportunity that lies in Trump’s suggestion to the four non-white Democratic Congresswomen.
When Trump says “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” why not take him at his word and suggest that he would do well to apply his suggestion to his own ancestral land?
Why Trump should “go back” to Germany
Given that Trump is greatly incensed about what’s going on in Germany, he should go on a sabbatical and apply his magic to Europe’s largest economy.
Now, there will be those sophisticated Republicans who will argue that this suggestion does not really fly. After all, the President loves America, whereas the four Congresswomen loathe it. Therefore, the “go back” suggestion can impossibly be applied to himself.
That, however, is too literal a reading of Trump’s criticism. The four Congresswomen do not loathe the United States at all. Far from it. They love it and stand up to remind the nation of its proudest traditions of civility, openness and fair argument about the best path ahead.
What Trump really loathes about the squad
When Trump argues that the four women loathe the United States, what he really means is that they are unacceptable because they dare criticize him and the way in which he systematically appeals to the worst instincts in the American people.
They rightfully argue that Trump is deliberately fomenting racism and doing so for personal political gain.
And just because Donald Trump, in his Sun King mindset, firmly believes that any criticism of him and his extremist policies represents a case of lèse majesté.
Insulting the king may be an unpardonable offense in the mind of Donald the Great and his followers. But that doesn’t make it a criticism of the United States per se. It is just a criticism of the current president – and that is part and parcel of living in a democracy.
What about the poor Germans?
That leaves one question: Will the Germans take Trump back?
This article is republished from The Globalist: On a daily basis, we rethink globalization and how the world really hangs together. Thought-provoking cross-country comparisons and insights from contributors from all continents. Exploring what unites and what divides us in politics and culture. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. And sign up for our highlights email here.