Donald Trump’s Mandela effect – former president compares himself to the late South African leader: The former president elevated himself to the level of a longtime political prisoner in a speech this week.
What Did Donald Trump Say Now?
Nelson Mandela was a longtime anti-apartheid activist and freedom fighter in South Africa who, after he was imprisoned for 27 years, was elected South Africa’s first post-apartheid president in 1996. He died in 2013 as one of the world’s most admired men.
Mandela’s life story doesn’t have a great deal in common with that of Donald Trump. But the former president clearly sees things differently.
Trump, appearing in New Hampshire Monday to formally file for his presidential candidacy, made just that comparison, in reference to his ongoing legal problems.
“I don’t mind being Nelson Mandela because I’m doing it for a reason,” Trump said, according to an Associated Press story. “We’ve got to save our country from these fascists, these lunatics that we’re dealing with. They’re horrible people and they’re destroying our country.”
The comparison is profane and horrifying, for all sorts of reasons. Trump is not a political prisoner, nor is he any kind of prisoner at all, at least not yet. His cause is many things, but it is not anything resembling the decades-long anti-apartheid struggle.
In a speech he gave in New Hampshire, per CNN, Trump was heavily critical of President Biden, especially his handling of the situation in Israel. He argued that a vote for Biden in 2024 would represent “a vote to turn the United States into a hotbed of jihadists and make our cities into dumping grounds very much resembling the Gaza Strip.”
In the speech, Trump talked about wanting to punch the man who succeeded him as president.
“I dream of that. You know what I’d do with him?,” Trump said as he “threw punches in the air,” per the New York Post. ”I’d hit him right in that fake nose. He’d have plastic lying all over the floor.”
Donald Trump also, per the Post, mistakenly referred to Hungarian President Viktor Orban as “the leader of Turkey.”
Trump also proposed a missile defense system similar to that of Israel’s “Iron Dome,” although the Iron Dome was funded by hundreds of millions in U.S. aid during the Obama Administration- and a big story following the Hamas attack has been that system’s failure.
While the U.S., unlike Israel, is not typically attacked with rockets or missiles, the idea of such a shield was proposed by the Reagan Administration in the 1980s, when it was nicknamed “Star Wars,” and also bandied about during the Bush-Cheney Administration, although it was never built and the idea hasn’t much been discussed in the years since.
Trump also said something curious to his supporters during the New Hampshire visit: “Don’t worry about voting.” The former president assured his supporters that he would have “plenty of votes” and therefore they should “get out there and watch those voters.”
“You don’t have to vote, don’t worry about voting. The voting, we got plenty of votes,” he added.
Also, Trump attacked judges and prosecutors in his various legal entanglements.
“This radical left judge. He’s a Trump-hating judge…hates Trump. We have a judge that is out of control and he is totally afraid of peek-a-boo James. He’s intimidated by her,” Trump said in the speech, in a reference to New York Attorney General Letitia James that some have characterized as having a racist tinge.
While Donald Trump was in New Hampshire, meanwhile, his rival Nikki Haley criticized the former president for allegedly not having paid for police protection in a pair of New Hampshire cities.
“The Trump campaign owes $3,788 to law enforcement in Concord, NH, and $12,870 in Manchester, NH. If Trump refuses to pay, the cost will be borne by hardworking New Hampshire taxpayers,” Haley’s presidential campaign said in a statement that it called “Haley to Trump: Fund the Police,” the Post said. It’s part of a continuing tendency for Haley’s campaign to criticize Trump more directly.
Author Expertise and Experience
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @StephenSilver, and subscribe to his Substack newsletter.
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