Call me a masochist, but I watched the entirety of Donald Trump’s March 25 rally in Waco, Texas. I watched it to confirm my belief that he is getting crazier. I was curious about what he might say about his possible indictment by the Manhattan DA. I wondered what sort of crowd he would attract and how it would react to a typical Trump rant. I got all those answers, but I also got a primer on the policy proposals that Trump would pursue if (heaven forbid) he returned to the White House.
I had assumed I knew all about Trump’s policies. In a way, we all have made such assumptions. Ask people on the street what Trump stands for, and they will mention Trump’s wall, trade, America First, lower taxes, fewer regulations, opposition to climate change, and “culture wars.” Those who hate Trump will mention racism, his history of sexual assaults, grift, the January 6 insurrection, and The Big Lie.
In Waco, Donald Trump delivered a 92-minute speech. I did not have my stopwatch out, but more than an hour was about himself. Trump lamented the “weaponization” of the justice system that he claims has victimized him with endless unfair and ungrounded investigations. He vilified his supposed torturers, calling them Marxists, scumbags, globalists, and Democrats.
He also surprised me by playing a rendition of the right-wing anthem, “Justice for All,” performed by a choir of people jailed for the January 6 insurrection. While they sang, a video screen showed pictures of the riot. Later in the speech, the defeated ex-president said, “some of them are patriots.”
Watching the first hour of Trump’s speech was a challenge. Unlike in-person attendees, I could press the pause button to take a break from the endless stream of complaints about the 2020 election and much more. Press reports suggest that a noticeable number of attendees streamed out of the event before it was over. That’s not surprising given the Texas heat and what, to that point, was Trump being Trump.
Eventually, Trump turned to what he would do if re-elected. Focusing on those proposals or claims that are not already widely known, here are a few things worth remembering:
After suggesting that President Biden is leading the world into World War III, Trump claimed that only his election could prevent it. He did not elaborate on which Biden’s policies were making a world war inevitable, but they appear to focus on Ukraine.
Trump claimed the Russian invasion of Ukraine would never have happened if he were president. He implied that his relationship with Vladimir Putin was the key. He then indicated that if elected president in November 2024, he would settle the Ukraine war “within 24 hours,” acting even before he was inaugurated.
Trump promised to “clean up America” not only by curtailing illegal immigration but by executing “the largest mass deportation” in history. After claiming that “smart” dictators and others were emptying prisons, insane asylums, and mental institutions and sending the inmates/patients to the U.S., Trump indicated he would send them back. If the “original countries” refused to take them back, Trump said he would cut off all American aid.
Trump also said he would address growing Chinese economic and military power. He plans an all-out trade war against China to stop the importation of most Chinese goods. Trump did not address how such a trade embargo might impact the U.S. economy or how the Chinese might react.
Education is also a focus of Trump’s policy proposals. He did not call for improving the quality of schools or making American students more competitive in science, technology, engineering, or math. Instead, he promised to prohibit federal funds to any school with a vaccine or mask policy or that permitted the teaching of critical race theory. Also, taking a page from Florida Governor Ron “DeSanctimonius,” he called for parental control of schools. He condemned the “mutilation of children” and an end to “the participation of men in women’s sports.” Trump indicated parents should have the right to fire school principals who “are not getting the job done.”
Not part of Trump speech, unsurprisingly, was any discussion of an issue essential to our future on the Eastern Shore—climate change. Trump bragged about his withdrawal from the “disastrous” Paris Climate Accords in his speech and repeatedly called for “restoring” American energy independence.
These are not the only Trump policy proposals mentioned (or not mentioned) in the speech, but, in my view, are the most important. . . .
Curiously, while writing this piece, I searched in vain for a transcript of Trump’s remarks. I found none. I reviewed Trump’s speech by listening to the entire hour and 40 minutes and reading various news reports. Does the “fake news” industry have it in for Trump? In a way, it does. Trump has lied so often and engages in so much offensive rhetoric that the mainstream press tends to ignore him. Trump considers that unfair. Maybe it is, but it is also unfortunate. To understand the risk of Trump winning the White House in 2024, it is necessary to understand the issues he is running on and the promises he is making.
Some of the nation’s most prestigious newspapers and media outlets have ceased following Trump. I could not find coverage of the speech in The New York Times. The Washington Post had an article, but it was a feed from the Associated Press—the paper that prides itself on its coverage of politics apparently did not send its own reporter to Waco. What does that tell you?
If you still support Trump or believe he is being treated unfairly, I urge you to watch the video. It is available on C-SPAN without any editorial comment. If you have already rejected Trump and pray nightly for him to disappear from the political stage, I urge you to listen to the speech. Only by knowing Trump can you ensure his defeat.
J.E. Dean is a retired attorney and public affairs consultant writing on politics, government, and other subjects.
Letters to Editor
Mickey Terrone says
Hello John. I certainly share your concerns about Trump. He is a menace to our country and has likely done some irreparable damage to our democratic republic and our American way of life. My family prays nightly before dinner that “we may lead long, happy, productive, prosperous, pain-free, Trumpless lives”.
Trump is just one deeply troubled, degenerate human being. Shouldn’t we be equally, if not more concerned with the Americans who somehow allow themselves to be groomed and so easily deceived into believing the babble that comes from his mouth? These people have followed Trump down an immense rabbit hole of lies, exaggerations and deceptions that many 8th graders can understand are false. His rhetoric seems to urge them to further violence (beyond the January 6th Insurrection) as legal authorities seek to bring him to justice for his alleged crimes.
Perhaps even more dangerous to our democratic republic however, are the GOP politicians who are either true believers in Trump or are too frozen in fear to speak out against him. These are dangerous people because they are working to abuse the government institutions to cover up his (and their own) alleged crimes or undermine the legal justice system to absolve him and free the criminals already convicted. Trump himself exonerated numerous of his accomplices before leaving the White House. Many of these GOP politicians have already acted to undermine the US by refusing to accept the Electoral College results as part of Trump’s January 6th plan to overthrow our system of goverment.
Why has an utterly dishonorable scoundrel like Andy Harris received a free pass by the media to be respected as a legitimate member of the US House of Representatives after his disgraceful failures of January 6th (and in the planning meeting he attended as a co-conspirator)? Why are we and the media not daily challenging and confronting Harris and his cronies like Jim Jordan, Louie Gohmert, Marjorie T. Green and the rest of that freak show they call a caucus?
Trump would be powerless without these gutless running dogs. I’d strongly suggest Trump’s mindless support among the GOP “base” would dissipate quickly if these radical GOP representatives would/could come to grips with the damage they are doing to our country and withdraw their blind support for Trump and Trumpism. Of course, part of the blame here also belongs to run-of-the-mill GOP members of Congress who dodge reporters and quietly fail to distance themselves or, God forbid, criticize Trump publicly.
Trump is a lost soul who will blather on ever more wrecklessly as he becomes ever more desperate and fearful of being brought to justice. Its largely up to the rest of the GOP to remove him from own their center of power and return themselves to some degree of respectability.
John Dean says
Thank you for this comment. We are on the same page.
Richard L. Allison says
Mickey, you are very corre ct in your opinion, but I suggest that perhaps the party hacks you single out are not froxen in fear, but are quiet due to campaign funding sources from Trump r his allies and self serving careerism.
Mickey Terrone says
Thank you Richard. You are right in pointing out that many, if not most GOP elected House Reps and Senators (i.e., hacks) are quiet due to maintaining their dark money funding sources. They also fear getting primaried byu some half-crazed Trump fanatic. I suppose there are plenty of Gohmerts, Greenes, Boeberts waiting in the (right) wings in case some Republican fails to live up to the Pledge of Trump Allegiance.
The real trouble with this degeneracy is that the best economic interests of the masses of Republican voters is utterly ignored. Its not about their health care needs, their health insurance costs, their prescription drug costs, their wages, their earned social security benefits, their standards of living or the public education standards for their children. Instead, the hacks fight for massive tax breaks for the wealthiest 1%, cuts to education, killing low cost health insurance, protecting the proliferation of assault weapons and covering up a mountain of lies and crimes perpetrated by Trump.
The GOP has things bassackwards. The “base” votes against its own best interests. The leaders vote to represent the dark money interests that supports Trump extremism while overtly lying to try to protect him. They have abandoned the best interests of the base. And Trump still controls the majority of them all. It is almost inexplicable other than in totalitarian terms.
Richard L. Allison says
Thanks you for the very erudite and concise article. I did not watch or even lsiten to the speech, having mistakenly closed the door on Trump, in hope that his rhetoric would be muzzled and better intentioned constituants and representatives will prevail. I read with avid ineterst and increasing alarm as you enumerated his platform proposals. The deportation, and heavy handed approach to controlling the nation is not just reminiscent of facisist and right wing protocols but is almost right out of “Mien Kampf”. Finally your statement about Climate Change as a major concern for the Eastern Shore is not only true, but a critical and clear emergency now. My wifes family is in south dorchester, long misaligned and negleceted by Annapolis, wherein land is going underwater in populated areas of the main shore. Not to exclude the Cambridge and other communities. I agree with ypou Trump should not be sidelined or ignored his rhetoric and platfrom imperiels the liveliehoods, life styles and continued future of our communities and the nation.
John Dean says
Thank you for your kind words. Much appreciated.
Paul Rybon says
I think Mr Dean and his acolytes are celebrating split milk. Criticizing a past president is a waste of time in light of the nearly insurmountable problems facing this country right now. Our present administration is obviously being buried by the new realities. Let’s get over the Trump animus, get our ‘big boys’ pants on, and muster up to the existential problems facing us right now.
Deirdre LaMotte says
We wish he would go away. Trump is a huge threat
to democracy as are his GOP acolytes. He is supported by millions of seriously dishonorable people who look the other way because they like his cruelty and/or his tax cuts.
John Dean says
Thanks for reading the piece and for your comment. I disagree that the article was celebrating anything. The point is that we better pay attention to what Trump is proposing because, like it or not, Trump could still be elected president again in 2024.
Matt LaMotte says
In lieu of watching Trump prattle on, I’d encourage readers to watch/rewatch “Triumph of the Will” by Leni Riefenstahl. It’s a 1935 documentary on the rise of Hitler & Naziism. Just sayin’…
John Dean says
Interesting comment. Enough said.
Thanks for reading the piece.