As if we needed any more evidence on top of the mountain of it that has piled up, Donald Trump’s decision to impose steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum has proved what already has been known.
The president has co-opted the principles of the party under which he was elected. He is no more of a “Republican” than, um, I am.
And I am not.
What we have here is a man who has turned the Republican Party into the Trump Party. The right and far-right wing of the GOP stands behind this man — even though this protectionist trade policy flies in the face of traditional Republican principle.
This is a dangerous trend, folks.
I believe we are witnessing — and this is not an original thought; I didn’t think of this — the development of a “cult of personality.” This is the kind of tag one usually associates with dictators and despots.
Kim Jong Un? Pol Pot? Fidel Castro? Hugo Chavez? Francisco Franco? Adolf Hitler? Benito Mussolini? Juan Peron?
Is the president of the United States a despot and dictator in the mold of those men? No. However, I believe it is a legitimate concern that he has perverted the principles of a once-great political party and turned them into a political tactic.
I cannot pre-determine what Donald Trump has in store for the party for as long as he is president. I do believe that we are witnessing an evolution of sorts. The most fervent Republicans in this country should be aghast at the trade war that Trump seems willing to launch. Instead, they are standing by their man.
If that doesn’t define a cult of personality, then I don’t know what does. It’s a very good thing, indeed, to have two other co-equal government branches — Congress and the federal courts — on board to keep the president’s power grab in check.
But still … this is frightening.