BY JOHN K. WILSON
Today, Ann Coulter published her latest book, sure to be another best-seller: In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome.
I know, the very stupid subtitle makes no sense, in Latin or English, because Coulter hates immigrants and thinks America is being destroyed by too much “pluribus.” Maybe her publisher thought “Unum Awesome” was just too dumb for a subtitle, but if they followed that standard, the book would have never been published.
As the author of a competing book about the man, Trump Unveiled: Exposing the Bigoted Billionaire, I think I can speak with some expertise when I say that Coulter has written an ignorant and bigoted book, so full of lies that it is clearly inspired by the hero she worships, Donald Trump.
Her publisher wouldn’t send me a review copy to read in advance, so I went to the bookstore this morning and spent two hours reading the book and taking notes.
This book can easily be summarized in four words without losing any of the substance: “Trump hates immigrants: Awesome!”
Coulter shares Trump’s apocalyptic vision, writing that America is going “from the greatest nation in history into some pathetic, third-rate, also-ran multicultural mess.”(3) She wonders, “Is the country already finished?”(11)
According to Coulter, “Americans are raped and maimed…by millions of illegal aliens waltzing across our wide-open border.”(73) In addition to Mexicans, she hates the “millions of Islamic savages”(73) and praises Trump’s plan to “keep Muslims out of the United States.”(77)
Coulter also offers this odd racist statement: “The Trump candidacy puts Democrats in an extremely awkward position. They are the party of elegance and fabulosity, but also claim to be the party of the ‘blacks and browns’—who see absolutely nothing wrong with Trump’s taste. Jay Z and Beyoncé may not like Trump’s positions, but, boy, they like his style. They’re asking themselves, How can a person of such taste be a Republican?”
Yeah, I’m sure Beyoncé, like all black and brown people, thinks Trump is a very stylish guy. Is Coulter intentionally being a dumb racist because she enjoys being hated, or does she actually believe that all black and brown people like covering everything with gold and marble just like Trump?
Coulter wrote, “To keep people distracted, the party obsesses over irrelevant issues—ISIS! EXIM Bank! Farm subsidies! Bonus depreciation! The death tax!—while they get on with the serious business of raising billions of dollars, siphoning off their take, and ensuring the transfer of power from their constituents to billionaires and foreigners.”(23)
Coulter apparently imagines this as a defense of Trump and a critique of establishment Republicans, but it shows just how closely Trump hews to the establishment. Trump talks constantly about ISIS, and supports the Republican positions on ending farm subsidies and the inheritance tax. Now he’s raising vast sums of money, siphoning off his take in payments to Trump companies, and making sure that Trump and his buddies (who are mostly billionaires and foreigners) will profit from his presidency. Trump is such a good con artist that Coulter doesn’t recognized how she and the rest of the Trump supporters are falling for a scam. However, Coulter doesn’t care as long as Trump serves her sole political issue: stopping immigration.
Coulter wrote, “Trump made his fortune in real estate. That can’t be outsourced. He’s planted his flag here. If America goes down, Trump’s empire goes down.”(44) Actually, much of Trump’s empire is already outsourced. He regularly sells his name to foreign investments, he builds golf courses overseas, and most of his licensed merchandise is made overseas. And considering that Trump’s primary market is the very rich, he benefits personally from the global inequality of wealth. Yet Coulter bizarrely claims, “Trump has always put Americans first—typical, everyday Americans.”(43)
Apparently Coulter wasn’t able to edit her book after the Republican National Convention, since she complains that “Republicans can’t leave a stage without boring the audience with endless biographical tidbits about their tedious lives.”(48) Coulter claims that Trump rejects “treacly sales pitches about his family”(48) unaware that Trump’s children would be the leading voices at the RNC.
Coulter claimed, “He loved evangelicals and they loved him, but you sure couldn’t accuse Trump of pandering.”(50) Pandering to evangelicals is what Trump does best, such as declaring that everyone will say “Merry Christmas” when he’s president. Even Trump’s dumbest errors, such as calling for women who have abortions to be imprisoned, were caused by his pandering to evangelicals.
Coulter falsely depicts Trump as ideologically consistent: “Trump has been a Republican at least since he attended the 1988 Republican National Convention as a guest of the first President Bush.”(63) And he’s also been a Democrat and an Independent many times since then, too.
Coulter fills up a dozen pages of her book with quotes from journalists pointing out that Trump doesn’t have specifics for his policies. Coulter then claimed they were wrong, without offering specifics, before concluding, in all caps, “WE DON’T CARE ABOUT THE DETAILS.”(95)
According to Coulter, “If Trump accomplishes nothing else, by the end of this, when the tide recedes, he will have validated scoffing at political correctness and enlarged the space of what can be discussed.”(96) Trump has certainly enlarged the space of what can be discussed. Until he ran, no one imagined that a presidential candidate would brag about the size of his penis, talk about the ugliness of his female opponents and wives, and accuse his opponent’s father of helping to assassinate JFK. In the name of fighting PC, Trump has created a safe space for stupidity and bigotry.
Coulter whines that “the attacks on Trump were just long, angry insults,”(100) which would only mean they were just like Trump’s campaign and Coulter’s book.
But perhaps the most important chapter of the book is Coulter’s defense of Trump’s infamous claim that he saw a television report showing “thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey cheering the 9/11 attacks.
According to Coulter, when Trump said “thousands,” even though that wasn’t true, “no one takes it literally.”(114) Yet she claimed, “Trump was telling the truth.”(114) Coulter wrote, “what Trump had said about Muslims celebrating was fundamentally true.”(123) It didn’t matter if what Trump said wasn’t factually true, as long as it was “fundamentally” true.
Coulter cites a few second-hand reports of people in the US cheering the 9/11 attacks and then concludes, “the media’s big argument with Trump came down to his saying ‘thousands’ and not ‘hundreds.’”(120) In reality, none of Coulter’s handful of examples amounted to “hundreds” of people, nor were any of them confirmed, and some of her examples have been largely discredited.
But Coulter ignores the core of the lie Trump told about the “thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey who allegedly cheered 9/11: Trump said, “I saw it. It was on television; I saw it.” Coulter never admits the truth, but of course there were no television broadcasts showing anyone in New Jersey celebrating the 9/11 attacks. No recordings exist, and no one other Trump can recall seeing any reports.
Yet Coulter claims, “In order to say Trump was wrong, reporters were willing to call themselves liars. This was the Goebbels-style propaganda about Islam that Trump was up against. Trump was the only politician man enough to say things that were obviously true.”(123) In Coulter’s mind something Trump said that was obviously false, that even she refuses to support factually, is still “obviously true” because she hates Muslims and loves anyone, such as Trump, who supports her bigotry. In Coulter’s mind, anyone who challenges Trump’s obvious mistake with the facts is a Nazi peddling “Goebbels-style propaganda.”
While trying to cover up Trump’s lie, Coulter adds one of her own: “after the 9/11 attack, we didn’t see Arabs in capitals around the world sobbing hysterically. We saw celebrations, including in our own country.”(124) Coulter is actually claiming that no Arabs anywhere around the world (including America) were crying over the 9/11 attacks, there were only celebrations.
Coulter’s desperation to pretend that Trump’s 9/11 lie somehow wasn’t a lie was matched by Trump himself. In attempting to pretend that Trump had seen a report that didn’t exist about cheering Muslims, Trump’s campaign found a Washington Post story by Serge Kovaleski which included the fact that some New Jersey police had questioned people accused of celebrating during 9/11. When Kovaleski explained that his reports of cheering were not verified and didn’t match Trump’s description, it prompted an angry reaction from Trump, who mocked Kovaleski’s disability by doing an imitation of him.
Coulter wrote, “Serge Kovaleski’s denial of his own contemporaneous news story was remarkable.”(123) That would be remarkable, except that it’s not true, and Coulter never explains how it was a denial. Coulter also falsely added that “Serge disavowed his own reporting.”(113)
According to Coulter, “They made up a story about his making fun of a reporter’s disability to distract from Kovaleski’s article confirming Trump.”(113) Coulter warns, “Believe nothing you’ve heard about that incident.”(112) She dutifully offers her bizarre interpretation of Trump’s party line that he never made fun of Kovaleski’s disability: “Trump was not mimicking any mannerisms that Serge has. He doesn’t jerk around or flail his arms.”(113) She claims, “That’s not the imitation Trump was doing—he was doing a standard retard, waving his arms and sounding stupid.”(113) Mind you, this “retard” defense is Coulter’s idea of proving that Trump doesn’t ever mock the disabled.
But it’s factually not true. Trump clearly wasn’t waving his arms around. Trump’s performance has the “curved in” wrists that Coulter admits are characteristic of Kovaleski’s disability. He is obviously trying to do an imitation of Kovaleski. This is proven by the fact that while Trump is doing his imitation, he says, “the poor guy, you gotta see this guy.” If Trump had never seen Kovaleski, as he claims, why would he talk about seeing him? Coulter simply omits this inconvenient detail.
According to Coulter, “The media screamed that Serge was ‘disabled’ only to prevent Trump from mentioning that Washington Post story ever again.”(123) No, the media reported that Serge was disabled because Trump mocked his disability. No one, other than Trump and Coulter, cared about the Post story because it proved nothing and was irrelevant to the lie that Trump told about 9/11.
Coulter shares with Trump a fondness for conspiracy theories. According to Coulter, there was a media conspiracy to hide evidence of Muslims celebrating 9/11. One of her chapters is titled, “So Close! The Plan to Destroy America Was Almost Complete”(154)
On Monday, Trump warned his followers to stay away from the new Washington Post biography about him, “Don’t buy, boring!” as if excitement were the only qualification for a serious book (or a president). Meanwhile, Trump promoted Coulter’s new book, which he also has not read: “People are saying it’s terrific – knowing Ann I am sure it is!” Coulter is exactly the kind of person Trump surrounds himself with: mindless supporters who are as incapable of critical analysis as they are of criticizing anything Trump does.
Unlike Trump, Coulter is modest about her accomplishments, but she really deserves the credit, and blame, for helping to create Trump as a presidential candidate. Coulter’s relentless attacks on immigrants helped inspire Trump to use it as a nationalist wedge issue within the Republican Party. And on a broader level, Coulter and her conservative friends in right-wing media have set the stage for Trump, creating an alternate universe where the ignorant are proud of their stupidity, where bigotry is regarded as common sense, where groupthink makes conspiracy theories seem plausible.
Coulter concludes her book with this thoughtful insight: “the voters said: WE CAN’T WAIT! WE’RE GOING TO BE LIVING IN AMERICA AGAIN!”(182) It’s a very stupid, annoying ending to a very stupid, annoying book.