Suspense mounts: Will one of America’s closest allies vote to ban from its soil one of the four or five people in the world who stands a chance of becoming the next president of the United States? I’m thinking, “no, stupid,” but it’ll be fun to watch Trumpmania take over another country for a day. Soon France will start bickering over Trump, then Germany, and eventually the contagion will spread to Russia and the Far East. Not until the farthest-flung corners of the planet are arguing over whether he’s a brave utterer of unpleasant truths or a crass phony demagoging blue-collar anxieties will Trumpmania finally have satisfied its global ambitions.
Here’s the UK petition that started it all. Trump responded to it two weeks ago with — what else? — a threat:
“Any action to restrict travel would force The Trump Organization to immediately end these and all future investments we are currently contemplating in the United Kingdom. Westminster would send a terrible message to the world that the United Kingdom opposes free speech and has no interest in attracting inward investment,” it read.
“This would also alienate the many millions of United States citizens who wholeheartedly support Mr. Trump and have made him the forerunner by far in the 2016 presidential election. Many people now agree with Mr. Trump that there is a serious problem that must be resolved. This can only be achieved if we are willing to discuss these tough issues openly and honestly.”
Assuming that actually banning Trump is off the table, what’s the point of today’s debate? Those who follow British politics regularly would know better than I, but I assume that it’s mainly about making Cameron’s government uncomfortable — not only will they have to grudgingly defend admitting Trump to the UK so as not to create awkwardness with Americans but they’ll have to distinguish the decision not to ban Trump with previous decisions to ban other controversial speakers. One Muslim MP from Labour is eager for that discussion:
Friends of Tulip Siddiq, the MP leading the campaign to ban Donald Trump from Britain, have said she will be “tearing” his reputation to “shreds” during today’s parliamentary debate on the proposed ban…
Ms. Siddiq is the niece of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. She campaigned for Barack Obama in the 2008 Presidential Election and is one of the MPs who helped the hard-left anti-Israel Jeremy Corby become the Labour leader.
She told the Telegraph today: “The law needs to be applied to everyone equally and the Home Office has previous in banning hate preachers engaging in rhetoric similar to that of Trump…
“The real question is ‘Why should we make an exception for billionaire politicians?’. We should not.
Fun fact: On the very day that MPs will decide whether Trump’s comments about Muslims and immigrants should make him persona non grata in the UK, a story is on the wires about another politician with an international profile arguing that Muslim immigrants who refuse to learn English should be deported from his country. No, it’s not Nigel Farage. It’s — ta da — David Cameron. Actual quote: “If you are not able to speak English, not able to integrate, you may find therefore you have challenges understanding what your identity is and therefore you could be more susceptible to the extremist message.” Sounds Trump-y. Maybe Cameron should be barred from Great Britain too.
C-SPAN will air the debate live at 11:30 ET. If you’re not near a TV, you can watch online here or at Parliament’s live-streaming channel. Exit question: if Parliament did bar Trump from the UK, how would that shake out for Trump politically here at home? For Trump fans, I assume, it would be treated as further enhancement of his nationalist cred. Leave it to the squishy Brits not to be able to handle the distinctly American truthbombs Trump is dropping, right? But that doesn’t really answer my question, as Trump fans treat everything as a new reason to love him more. He could spend an hour at a rally beatboxing into his mic and the spin the next day would be “he’s not playing by their rules!” What I’m asking is, how would the rest of the electorate react? Would he gain votes in Iowa from undecideds who take offense at the idea that worrying about Mexican rapists is some banworthy thoughtcrime in the UK or would he lose votes from Republicans who worry that a man who can alienate longtime friends even before he’s been elected probably isn’t a guy we should nominate?
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