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Donald Trump has crossed the line - John Vassallo

US Republicans will soon realise they must stand up to this man

'Donald Trump and his bevy of generals and press agents have now crossed the final bridge.' Photo: Reuters

'Donald Trump and his bevy of generals and press agents have now crossed the final bridge.' Photo: Reuters

In my 18 years working with US companies, spending six of these as the chairman of the US Chamber of Commerce to the EU, I had many occasions to meet with and discuss politics and EU-US relations with members of the US Senate and House of Representatives.

These ladies and gentlemen impressed me and anybody who listened to them with their sense of history, love of their country and deep belief in the rule of law and the tenets of the American Constitution.

They also shared a deep sense of loyalty to Europe and the liberation of Europe from tyranny. So many young Americans died fighting for the liberation of Europe from fascism and communism.

The relationship between the US and Europe, as expressed in Nato and in the similarity between our legal concepts, democratic principles and common belief in the equality of all before the law, has always been the hallmark of this closeness.

In fact, because of it, the US Chamber and European business communities have always pushed hard for a transatlantic partnership that would lead to a transatlantic single market with common rules and principles.

This was unfortunately not achieved in the last 20 years, when the opportunity was at its height. It is unfortunate, even though many US politicians expressed hope and confidence that it would come about.

Yet something happened in the last few years in the US. The arrival of Donald Trump, bolstered by 30 per cent of the population, changed all this. The 30 per cent is mainly made up of the descendants of white immigrants in the states comprising the Rust Belt, the farming centre and the empty states like Nevada and North Dakota and the white plantation owners of the Deep South. This base of disgruntled religious conservatives and white supremacists took power in the US under the Republican banner.

The division between the former and the east or west coast liberal, international and better-educated states with their much larger percentage of minorities, Latinos and African-Americans and Middle Eastern, recently arrived immigrants could not mobilise enough force behind Hilary Clinton to stop the America First movement.

READ: Trump retweets anti-Islamic videos

And, hey presto, here we are. We have broken-down EU-US relations, broken-down Nato unity, broken-down globalisation progress, broken-down climate change agreements and soon the risk of a nuclear war. All this because of one crazy person.

Donald Trump and his bevy of generals and press agents, twittering their way to oblivion, have now crossed the final bridge.

Their love for their country will be rewarded by history if they manage to stop the road the US is following towards a modern fascism

It is not his tweet on anti-Islamic videos or his tweet against African-American war heroes, nor is it his insults to Native Americans, nor is it his anti-Mexican rants.

It is not one of these outrages but the accumulation of them that will, in the near future, push a substantial number of seasoned senators and members of the House of Representatives within the Republican Party to realise that their love of liberty, equality before the law and interfaith and interracial relations, their belief in the EU-US relationship, democracy and upholding the US Constitution overcomes any qualms they may have had about rocking the Republican Party boat and risking their own lives from attacks by fanatical Trumpsters and white supremacists.

Their love of their country, though people like Steve Bannon or the President’s closest allies might attack them, will lead a number of them to huddle in the lobby of the Willard Hotel (the lobby of which was the origin of the word ‘lobbyist’) or in private wood-panelled Washington clubs to conspire for the benefit of the entire world to impeach and dismiss their President.

Yes, they will incur the ire of 30 per cent of the American people but will receive the gratitude of the other 70 per cent, as well as the populations of the rest of the world. The only exception may be a dictator or two, but these do not count.

When will this happen? Within the next six months, thus allowing six months from impeachment and the mid-term elections, allowing the relief to sink in and giving the Republican Party enough time to regroup and to have a chance of not losing too many seats in the two Houses of Congress.

These modern American heroes will not be young men and women; they will probably be older statesmen who may be planning not to run for re-election.

They may be branded as traitors by the followers of Trump and the believers in ultranationalism that he represents.

They will be branded as traitors by the new American fascists.

Their love for their country will be rewarded by history if they manage to stop the road the US is following towards a modern fascism.

There is an analogy in this American story with our own country.

Are there any seasoned and honest Maltese politicians, within any or all the parties, especially within the governing party, who love their country enough to change the course of our present government, which is leading us down the path to ultranationalism?

I sincerely hope so.

My trust lies in American patriots and patriots in general, including here at home.

John Vassallo is former senior counsel and director for EU affairs at GE, former vice-president EU affairs and Microsoft associate general counsel and former ambassador of Malta to the EU.

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