Saturday 21 April 2018

Like a 'long, slow swim through a bed of sewage'

The Republican candidate has emerged as champion of the armies of the alienated who will say the unsayable and who has no fear of the consequences

Donald Trump unburdens himself at a campaign event in Raleigh, North Carolina. Photo: Sara D Davis/Getty Images
Donald Trump unburdens himself at a campaign event in Raleigh, North Carolina. Photo: Sara D Davis/Getty Images

Fergal Keane

It has become a journalistic commonplace to describe the Trump campaign for the White House as a 'rollercoaster'. It is both tediously literal and fundamentally untrue. A rollercoaster does indeed soar up and swoop down. But it is a playground attraction full of breathless excitement.

Critics of the Trump campaign effectively characterise it by appropriating the phrase of Frank O'Connor who described certain proceeds of the Senate as being like "a long, slow swim through a bed of sewage".

Let us remind ourselves of what the news cycle so swiftly forgets: the presidential nominee of the party of Lincoln has described Mexican immigrants to the United States as rapists and thieves; he has called for a wall to be built between Mexico and the US; he has called for a ban - generously described as a temporary - on Muslims entering the United States; mocked a fellow Republican who suffered torture at the hands of the Viet Cong; denigrated the parents of a Muslim soldier who died fighting for America; indulged in misogynyistic bullying of a television journalist and mockery of another who suffers from a physical disability.

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