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Donald Trump’s entire presidency was defined by his attempts to reverse every decision President Barack Obama had made. Continuing this trend of expressing jealousy and hate toward those with whom he’s disagreed, the disgraced, twice-impeached Andrew Jackson-wannabe chose to attack Gen. Colin Powell barely a day after the family announced his death due to Covid-19. Powell was 84, and his immune system had been weakened due to fighting cancer.
“Wonderful to see Colin Powell, who made big mistakes on Iraq and famously, so-called weapons of mass destruction, be treated in death so beautifully by the Fake News Media. Hope that happens to me someday,” Trump said in a statement.
In less than 24 hours after the passing of the nation’s first Black national security advisor, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and secretary of state, Trump managed to remind the nation that he navigates through life as if the world is his own reality TV show. Jealous of the media coverage afforded to one of the most decorated military leaders in our nation’s history, Trump’s insecurities have once again creeped to the surface.
Criticism of Colin Powell is fair, but Trump has no room to talk
To be fair, Colin Powell’s legacy is forever stained by his participation in and support for the Iraq war, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians, despite no weapons of mass destruction ever being discovered.
The fateful 80-minute speech Powell delivered to the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003 that laid groundwork for the invasion will forever be remembered as a tragic day for Iraqis.
“Powell, as well as those who were behind the invasion, are responsible for the death of Iraqis since 2003 until now, because they worked hard not to change Saddam Hussein, but to serve the interests of their own colonial countries,” Ali Mohsin, a retired Baghdad primary school teacher recently told U.S. media.
For hundreds of years the U.S. has interfered in other countries to benefit itself. Is it possible for any U.S. political or military leader to claim they’re blameless? Surely, former President George W. Bush, who made the ultimate decision to invade Iraq and Afghanistan, should receive more blame for war crimes than a member of his cabinet. Nonetheless, it’s fair for Colin Powell to receive criticism for his role in deploying the war machine on innocent people, even if the mostly White critics don’t seem to be spreading that criticism equally to all those who deserve it.
What did Trump accomplish as president?
What doesn’t seem fair, though, is having to watch the former Cheetoh-in-chief hypocritically cast aspersions on a Black man who picked himself up by his bootstraps, rising from Harlem to the White House.
It’s easy to criticize a war that has been condemned across the world. But what about Trump’s legacy during his brief stint in office?
His biggest policy achievement was giving tax breaks to corporations and wealthy Americans. Meanwhile, he had nothing but praise for some of the world’s most brutal dictators.
Trump excelled at praising dictators and autocrats
Praising Russian President Vladimir Putin, an assassinator of dissidents, Trump expressed more trust in a longtime adversary than U.S. intelligence agencies. At a 2018 news conference after the Helsinki Summit, Trump was questioned about Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 election.
“President Putin says it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be,” Trump replied, the BBC reported.
He also praised Putin’s handling of “Fake News” in Russia, though failed to mention the legacy of investigative journalists winding up dead in that country.
Moreover, Trump has praised North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un multiple times throughout his single term.
“Kim Jong Un has been, really, somebody that I’ve gotten to know very well and respect, and hopefully – and I really believe that, over a period of time, a lot of tremendous things will happen,” Trump said in April of 2019, according to CNN.
Meanwhile, Jong Un regularly orders the killing of his underlings whenever it suits him. The dictatorship forces its population to remain in dire poverty with no voice in the governance of their country.
While some supporters of Trump might say he was creating a strategic relationship for the benefit of the U.S., his highly anticipated talks with Kim Jong Un ultimately fizzled into nothing. Today, North Korea remains a threat to U.S. allies in the region.
Colin Powell’s flawed legacy still outshines Trump’s
Earlier in his presidency, Trump stood by in support of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after the man ordered his bodyguards to severely beat protesters.
Shortly after a White House meeting between Trump and Erdogan in May of 2017, Erdogan arrived at the Turkish ambassador’s residence in D.C. Dozens of mostly American protesters had gathered around the home. Erdogan was captured on video speaking to the head of his security team before bodyguards committed the brutal assault.
According to the Atlantic: “The bodyguards overran local police officers, punched and choked demonstrators, then kicked them repeatedly as they lay on the ground. Nine people were hospitalized for concussions, lacerations, and other injuries.”
Most notably, Trump’s legacy will forever be intertwined with his undemocratic attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
A sunburnt man whose “friends” include brutal dictators, and who attempted to undo U.S. democracy for his own self interest—has no room to throw shade on Colin Powell, who—even with a flawed legacy— placed a racist country above his own ambitions his entire life.