I suspect most New Yorkers look with some pride at how rapidly the NYPD working with the FBI, New Jersey police departments and other agencies, identified a prime suspect in the Chelsea bombing and took him into custody. But look at what Donald Trump said this morning on Fox and Friends. In the spirit of his constant claims that we’re ‘losing’ everywhere, that things will soon get much worse if we don’t make him President, he said this …
“You have to hit them much harder over there and we’re going to find out — you know, our police are amazing. Our local police, they know who a lot of these people are. They are afraid to do anything about it, because they don’t want to be accused of profiling, and they don’t want to be accused of all sorts of things. In Israel, they profile. They have done an unbelievable job, as good as you can do, but Israel has done an unbelievable job and they will profile. They profile. They see somebody that’s suspicious. They will profile. They will take that person in and check out. Do we have a choice? Look what’s going on. Do we really have a choice? We’re trying to be so politically correct in our country and this is only going to get worse. This isn’t going to get better.”
Now, whatever you think of the larger geopolitical situation in Israel and the realities of the Israel-Palestinian conflict and the occupation of the West Bank, Israeli security services are well known for being some of the best in the world. They operate by very different rules than our police and security services do. Of course, it’s also true that the country has been facing on-going stabbing attacks for months. So it’s hardly like the Israeli police and security services prevent all attacks. But look at Trump’s comments about cowering police, afraid to do what they need to do to prevent terrorism. And look at that last line. It’s only going to get worse. It isn’t going to get better.
As I’ve argued before, authoritarian present themselves as the solution to violence and disorder. But they actually require it because it is the their justification for rule. Trump’s pitch is a perfect illustration of this. He says the country is falling apart. We’re not safe. And it will only get worse until he’s President.
And look at what he said when pressed by critics about how exactly he would combat ISIS or domestic terror attacks any more successfully than we and our cowering police and counter-terrorism personnel already are. Here’s what said at a rally in Colorado: “I will give you good results. Don’t worry how I get there, okay? Please.”
This is the entirety of his campaign. Crime is on the rise: it’s not. Our police and counter-terrorism services are powerless: they’re not. Only Trump can make us safe: he doesn’t even know the basics let alone have any idea what he would do if he actually called the shots. He’s a classic demagogue. Only I can protect you. Just trust me and I will make everything okay.