Josef Braml: "Trump continues to play chauvinistic card"
In an address to the nation, U.S. President Donald Trump called for political unity. However, expert of the German Association of Foreign Policy (DGAP) Josef Braml told Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen that he doubted that these words would play a real role, since Trump is in full campaign mode.
- How do you assess the U.S. President's State of the Union address in the light of the current rather complex atmosphere?
- Trump delivered a very good campaign speech. He is in full campaign mode and did a lot to throw the Democrats into confusion.
- What did you pay special attention to?
- My attention was caught by the fact that he mentioned Israel in connection with Iran. It is about the security of Israel, and everything was skillfully connected with the Holocaust and the history of Germany. Trump said the United States stands with those who fight for freedom, by associating one with the other. Even the abortion issue (the next major topic) was related to the right to life, and have left the Democrats in a state of dismay as well. However, he succeed to lure his electorate, the Christian right. They elected him as president for precisely this reason.There is also a topic of wall on the border with Mexico. Here the Democrats will also have a tough time.
- Let's dwell on the border wall issue. Why didn't Trump explain how he wants to finance its construction?
- I don’t know who could expect it from Donald Trump. He may continue to put pressure on Congress. He still has the opportunity to slow down the adoption of the budget in order to get nearly $6 billion. Trump made it clear why it should be done. And why do democrats should do more to ensure security. The Democrats' problem is that many democratic voters, trade union members do not want immigration, fearing that wages will continue to decline. And Trump got the best of it.
- Was it a kind of curtsey to the Democrats? Is it possible that the wall issue is still a matter of discussion on the part of Trump?
- If you believe in it, believe in Little Red Riding Hood Story. Donald Trump is Donald Trump. He is taking a hard line to split. He wants to be re-elected using his polarizing society topics.
- If I understand correctly, you say that despite all his talk about unity everything is different in Realpolitik?
- Have you ever heard the speech of any American president, who would not speak about unity? I haven't. Trump talks a lot about unity. In his speech, I concentrated on the subjective elements, and they point to a split.
- The address to the nation was suitable for Trump, because his current rating is as low as ever. Was he able to take advantage of this opportunity?
- Trump's approval rating is not so bad. He never enjoyed much popularity. He was elected because the Americans were choosing between pest and cholera.
Hillary Clinton was even less popular. He must continue serving his electoral base in the face of right-wing evangelicals and conservative Catholics. These are judges who advocate the right to life - opposing abortion. And Trump continues to play a chauvinistic card. He maintains his base and may even expand it with democratic voters.