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December 17th, 2018

Insight

Crocodile Tears of Rage

Laura Hollis

By Laura Hollis

Published Jan. 18, 2018

Crocodile Tears of Rage

U.S. Senator Cory Booker made a fool of himself on Tuesday. In a hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee at which Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testified, Booker loudly professed shock and indignation at the allegations that President Donald Trump had referred to certain countries as "s—-holes." Booker claimed to have shed "tears of rage" when fellow senator Dick Durbin called to tell him about the incident.

This is nothing but craven posturing. As numerous writers have already noted, Democratic presidents — including the generally dignified Barack Obama — have said things as bad or worse. In addition to the numerous reprehensibly racist remarks attributed to President Lyndon Johnson, he once told the Greek ambassador, "F—- your parliament and your constitution. America is an elephant. Cyprus is a flea. Greece is a flea. If these two fellows continue itching the elephant, they may just get whacked by the elephant's trunk, whacked good." Hardly charming diplomacy. And then there's Hillary Clinton, who is notorious for her foul language.

This tempest-in-a-toilet is just one more in a long list of attempts by the left to discredit Trump. Another one is the popular trend of speculating unfavorably on the president's health as a run-up to demanding his ouster. That trial balloon was fatally punctured earlier in the week when White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson gave a post-physical press conference at which he announced that Trump was in excellent physical health (and had received a perfect score on a test of cognitive function.) The media's crushing disappointment was painfully evident during the apoplectic fits of questions that followed.

Although Trump gives his opponents plenty of fodder in his tweets and off-the-cuff remarks, it's not the president's diplomatic faux pas or domestic policy failures that the left fears, but rather his successes. And those are racking up: a booming economy, record-breaking stock market, increased consumer confidence, ISIS devastated in Syria and Iraq, and major tax cuts that are already paying dividends for American workers and families.

The left counts far too many vulgarians among their number to be truly offended by Trump's language or conduct. No, the left hates Trump because he commits the unpardonable sin of ignoring (and mocking!) them, and refusing to let their nonstop hysteria derail his plans.

For their part, Trump's opponents on the right probably are legitimately outraged by his crude demeanor. But I suspect that they're even more incensed by the way he has shown them up. The GOP in Congress has made a collective career of cowering to the press, apologizing for conservative principles and finding ways to avoid enacting laws that would keep their campaign promises.

Trump has shown the country that it's possible to beat the press at their own game and get things done. Not only does this embarrass Republicans now, it will cripple their ability to make the usual excuses for years to come.

Unsurprisingly, the left's take on Trump's indelicate comment about some underdeveloped nations is that it's further proof of his racism. Bunk. Even assuming that Trump said precisely what Durbin recounted, it's quite clear that Trump was referring to the governments that have made those countries pits of despair, not the people trapped there.

Donald Trump did not create the conditions in countries like Haiti, and a truthful — if inartful — description of them doesn't worsen matters. Furthermore, there is, regrettably, very little that anyone in the United States — including the president — can do to remedy the condition of people in other countries.

But there are plenty of things that could be done here at home. Where are Cory Booker's "tears of rage" about any of the following crises affecting African-Americans in the United States?

—The murder rate in Chicago — the highest in the nation — and a disproportionate number of the victims are black men.

—The students from Ballou High School in Washington, D.C., who received diplomas despite absenteeism in excess of that allowed by district policy? Ninety-one percent of Ballou students failed the English literacy test for D.C. high schools in 2016. In fact, on average, nearly 50 percent of D.C. high school students fail basic English and math tests. This is despite D.C. consistently ranking among the highest in spending per student in the nation.

—The shocking educational deficiencies for African-American children generally. (In the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress tests, only 18 percent of black children were proficient in reading, and only 19 percent were proficient in math.)

—Not to mention incarceration rates, fatherlessness and generational poverty

Among the other economic good news is the recent statistic showing that black unemployment is now at a record low 6.7 percent. When Trump courted the black vote, he famously asked for African-Americans' support, saying, "What do you have to lose by trying something new, like Trump?"

Indeed. Why shouldn't African-Americans place more trust in someone who improves their economic prospects than in those who cry crocodile tears over imagined offenses?

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Laura Hirschfeld Hollis is on the faculty at the University of Notre Dame, where she teaches courses in business law and entrepreneurship. She has received numerous awards for her teaching, research, community service and contributions to entrepreneurship education.

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