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Short Takes

Short Takes


Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

Maybe Trump Is Actually Worried

His polls continue to decline as some Republicans begin to question President Trump’s leadership, even in public. While the country continues to experience one of the worst periods in its entire history, President Trump just appears to be flaying out against everything and everyone with no sense of managing the national crises. For the President, however, his personal troubles may well be getting worse.

Before this week is out, the Supreme Court is expected to issue its final opinions of this term.  Adding a little extra drama to the concluding days, will be the Court’s decisions whether the President’s tax returns must be turned over to the House of Representatives in one case or to the New York City District Attorney in the other.

Trump will continue to have literary fallout as well. The reaction is growing over his niece’s new book following on the heels of John Bolton’s tell all and preceded by the September 1 scheduled release of a book by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff about the First Lady, Melania Trump. For the President these are where his concerns reside, not dealing with the human suffering that the nation is enduring.


School Openings

President Trump’s declaration that he was pressuring Governors to reopen schools was absurd on its face. It denied the fact that health authorities have indicated that such a decision cannot be determined by fiat. Trump based this demand strictly on his similarly outrageous assertion that if economic life would get back to normal, the pandemic will go away.  Such decisions need to be determined based on health conditions in local school districts; assuming they are able to obtain sufficient funds to actually re-open safely.

Unfortunately, like all the President’s decisions related to Covid-19, urging schools to reopen is based on a hope to portray rosy economic conditions which would permit his re-election campaign to look more viable. The fact that he has apparently cowered the CDC to review its instructions on schools re-opening is another scary example of Trump’s unwillingness to follow science and health experts.

There is an uglier picture to the re-opening decision which relates to pressuring colleges and universities to re-open. The White House announced that international students who are not in at least 50% face-to-face university programs this fall will not have their education visas renewed. They, therefore, will not be permitted to remain in the country to attend school in the fall.

Higher education foreign students are an enormous source of revenue for universities as they all pay full tuition and obtain no financial assistance. Deporting foreign students will deplete further universities’ revenue streams which are already severely strained. This may well also drive universities to endeavor to return to a “business as normal” model in an ill-prepared and medically compromised environment. (Harvard and MIT have already gone to court to challenge Trump’s deportation ruling.)


Blame for the Virus and For All the World’s Ills

President Trump repeatedly exclaims either in a tweet or a shout-out in a speech that the coronavirus is really the Kung flu and the Chinese are to blame for the pandemic that already has killed over 130 thousand Americans. In other places the more traditional blame card is once again being placed on Jews.

Global anti-Semitism has been on the rise for months, but the world-wide pandemic has ignited all the classic, anti-Semitic canards. According to an Oxford University study, 20% of Britons questioned, blamed the virus on Jews. It was suggested that they created it to collapse the global economy for their own financial gain.

Similarly, at the end of April, the Toronto Sun reported that B’nai Brith in Canada announced that Jews were being blamed for the coronavirus. According to the League for Human Rights in Canada, 19% of all hate crimes in Canada are directed against Jews who represent less than 1% of the entire population.

Meanwhile, elements within the BLM movement and now a prominent Black athlete are invoking anti-Semitism to arouse people to their social justice demands which have emerged following the protest marches. DeSean Jackson, an NFL football star with the Philadelphia Eagles, posted on Instagram an assortment of anti-Semitic slurs and quotes (false ones) from Adolf Hitler, the purpose of which in part had been to suggest that Jews prosper when others suffer.  Jackson has apologized for his comments to the NFL and specifically to the Jewish community. Stephen Jackson, however, a retired NBA star and friend of George Floyd, persisted in underscoring DeSean Jackson’s earlier remarks.


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