I suppose that, after being in the news for the past 18 months, Donald Trump is going to remain in the news for the next four years or eight years. But he remains a bit of a riddle.
H/T Rhys for this insight:
Mr. Trump said he has never had a drink of alcohol and said he drummed a simple message into his children’s heads at an early age.
“I’d say, ‘No drugs, no alcohol, no cigarettes,’” he said. “‘No drugs, no alcohol, no cigarettes.’”
I can understand an aversion to alcohol from someone whose older brother died of alcoholism at age 42. I think if I had an older brother who died of alcoholism at age 42, I would have a powerful aversion myself. But I didn’t, and so I don’t.
The puzzle for me is that the alcohol and cigarette -averse Trump seems to have become big buddies with the personification of those things – Mr Beer and Cigarettes himself, Nigel Farage. After all, Nigel Farage has made a career of very publicly drinking beer and smoking cigarettes, and being utterly shameless about both. It’s why people like me voted for him: he’s one of us.
Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage is to be a “close but unofficial” advisor to U.S. President Donald Trump, the Governor of Mississippi has said.
Speaking at a party thrown for Mr Farage on the top floor of the Hay Adams hotel, Phil Bryant said: “There is an opportunity for him to work directly with the president, we call it ‘close but unofficial’.
“I think you will see that type of relationship between Nigel Farage and the president where he will turn to Nigel for advice about Great Britain.”
The Telegraph quotes Mr Bryant as adding: “I don’t want to speak for the president but I know that the president has a great deal of trust in Nigel Farage, and I think he is going to turn to him as an adviser and there would be none better.”
In fact, Trump has even suggested that Nigel become Britain’s US ambassador – a suggestion flatly rejected by Theresa May.
This raises all sorts of questions about Nigel Farage, who now seems to be in process of re-inventing himself as Mr Brexit, international power broker extraordinaire. It has set me speculating that when Theresa May flies into Washington later this week, and sits down to talk to Donald Trump about Brexit and Europe, she may well find that, occupying a seat next to Trump, as ‘close but unofficial’ advisor, there will be none other than Nigel Farage.
In fact, Nigel Farage may well have already become Britain’s de facto ambassador to the USA, and any ambassador that Theresa May has appointed is now surplus to requirement.
Actually, on further reflection, Nigel Farage may actually be indispensable to Donald Trump, for a very long list of reasons. Firstly, they’re kindred spirits that come from a business culture rather than a political one, and outsiders who have both taken on and defeated an entrenched political class (most likely with Farage helping Trump a little). But secondly, Farage knows everything about UK politics, and he knows all the players inside it. He’s probably met Theresa May a dozen times or more, and can tell Trump what she’s like. But, more than that, Farage knows all about European politics as well, from his experience as an MEP in the European parliament. He knows (and likes) Jean-Claude Juncker, the current President of the European Commission. He probably knows Marine Le Pen and Beppe Grillo too. And Donald Trump has probably never met any of them. Having an insider and a kindred spirit like Farage is a tremendous help for Trump.
On even more reflection, I think Trump probably needs Farage so much that he’s most likely already made him an offer to become his highly-paid advisor with his own office and limo and Washington pied-a-terre. And in this capacity – a sort of Thomas Cromwell for Henry VIII? -, he may become the presidential gatekeeper in all matters of the UK and Europe for the next four years or more, and anyone who wants to see Donald will first have to see Nigel. And that will include Theresa May and Boris Johnson and all the rest of the denizens of the UK parliament. Nigel is set to exert enormous influence on UK politics, and far more than he ever did as leader of UKIP in the European parliament.
And what does it matter to Trump if Nigel smokes? Does it matter to him that Ivanka smokes? H/T Harley for the photo of her at right. She’s another one of his indispensable advisors. And she made the gracious speech that launched his presidential candidacy in June 2015.
…all of which somehow brings me back to Donald’s alcoholic elder brother, and the fact that I’ve never known anybody who was an alcoholic (although I met a recovering one a few years ago). I spent years surrounded by friends who smoked (and who smoked not just tobacco) and drank, and none of them became casualties of either smoking or drinking or any other substance they ingested. In my experience, none of these things ever kill anybody. But most people I knew did everything in moderation. My father smoked and drank, but always in moderation. And most of my friends were the same. They didn’t go on drug or drinking binges, and have to be collected from casualty the next morning, or bailed from police custody. That sort of thing simply didn’t happen.
I suspect that alcoholism is the twin brother of prohibitionism, and both are the products of immoderation. Where prohibitionists rule, bottles and cigarettes get hidden away, so that when people find them they drink and smoke the whole lot in one go – because they have never learned to drink or smoke in moderation. And my guess is that Donald Trump’s mother, who came from the island of Lewis in Scotland, was probably a prohibitionist from one of the ‘dry’ areas of Scotland. There was a powerful temperance movement in Scotland before WW1, around the time she was born, and which must have influenced her. And the result was that there was no culture or moderate drinking and smoking in the Trump’s New York household, on her strict orders. And that meant that when their eldest son first got hold of a bottle, he partook of it immediately and immoderately, because he didn’t know any better. Just as if, never having been shown how to swim, he drowned on the very first occasion he dived into the sea, killed by his own over-protective parents.
But that’s just a guess.
P.S. On the island of Lewis: There are almost no rural public houses (for the sale of alcohol); instead, local hotels or inns function as meeting, eating and drinking places, often with accommodation provided. Recently, Abhainn Dearg distillery at Carnish, UIg, on the Isle of Lewis is producing Scotch Whisky, the first legal whisky in over 200 years.