To read newspapers like this one, you might think that almost nobody has endorsed Donald Trump. Ah, but maybe that’s because The New York Times is, as Trump puts it, “totally dishonest,” “failing” and “a disgusting fraud.”
In truth, Trump has actually attracted a broad range of endorsements that perhaps haven’t received adequate attention.
For example, from terrorists.
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“I ask Allah to deliver America to Trump,” a supporter of the Islamic State declared recently in an Arabic-language posting. Foreign Affairs quotes jihadis explaining that Trump would say and do such crazy things that he would end up helping extremist groups.
“He must be smoking bad hashish to say such crazy things,” one jihadi added. Supporters of ISIS say they hope Trump would cause the United States to self-destruct, and that is why, as one put it, “Trump’s arrival in the White House must be a priority for jihadis at any cost!”
Of course, Trump has been endorsed not only by terrorists but also by nation states.
“Trump is not the rough-talking, screwy, ignorant candidate they say he is, but is actually a wise politician,” a columnist wrote in a North Korean propaganda magazine, DPRK Today.
The magazine approved of Trump’s threats to withdraw U.S. military forces from South Korea and noted, “Who knew that the slogan ‘Yankee Go Home’ would come true like this?”
Then there’s Russia, which seems to be not only backing Trump but also perhaps releasing stolen emails to hurt the Democrats. There are also concerns that Russia will meddle with voting systems or leak other stolen materials – or fake ones – to try to influence the election.
Likewise, many Chinese leaders would like to see a Trump victory, according to Cheng Li, an expert on Chinese politics at the Brookings Institution. Chinese leaders apparently think Trump would manage allies and foreign policy poorly, thus reducing U.S. influence and creating space for China.
That’s quite a list of influential backers – ISIS supporters, North Korea, Russia and China. And it’s matched at home by an array of strong endorsements that also, perhaps, don’t receive adequate attention.
“Donald Trump would be best for the job,” said the imperial wizard of the Rebel Brigade Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. “The reason a lot of Klan members like Donald Trump is because a lot of what he believes, we believe in.”
Likewise, Trump has the backing not only of the Republican Party but also of the American Freedom Party, a white nationalist organization. “Donald Trump’s campaign may help remind Americans that all genocide, even against white people, is evil,” said Bob Whitaker, who until spring was the American Freedom Party’s presidential candidate, running with the campaign slogan, “Diversity is a code word for white genocide.”
The American Nazi Party’s position is a bit more complicated. Rocky Suhayda, the party chairman, has predicted that Trump will win and that this will provide “a real opportunity for people like white nationalists.” But, apparently worried that Nazi support for Trump might be counterproductive, he denied reports that on his radio show he had actually endorsed Trump.
“Recently, the jews-media gave the Party international coverage over our last ANP radio show, where they ‘claimed’ that I ‘endorsed’ Donald Trump, in another effort to ‘SMEAR’ the man,” Suhayda wrote on the Nazi Party website. “It was a typical kosher BIG LIE, as exposed and explained in Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf – whereas they ‘CLAIM’ that Mr. Evil Nazi (me) has embraced Donald Trump for President, hence Mr. Trump and myself are joined at the hip, being clones of Little Hitlerites.”
So maybe Trump doesn’t have the Nazi endorsement sewn up after all.
He does have the backing of other prominent figures. Among them: Martin Shkreli, who as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price of a lifesaving drug by more than 5,000 percent; Milo Yiannopoulos, recently banned from Twitter for leading internet trolls on a misogynist and racist campaign against Leslie Jones, the comedian and actress; and Alex Jones, the talk show host who has said that the Apollo 11 moon landing was faked and that no children were actually injured in the Sandy Hook school shooting.
The Washington Post published an early non-endorsement editorial, stating that Trump constitutes a “unique and present danger” to America, but Trump has won some publication endorsements – such as one from The Daily Stormer, a white supremacist website, and one from The National Enquirer.
OK, OK, it’s also true that Trump has support of tens of millions of Americans, including (sometimes grudgingly) leading Republicans, like Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and John McCain. Yet one element that makes this election stunning is how many prominent Republicans have refused to endorse their nominee, while some have denounced him as a “madman” and “bigot” who has no more “core principles than a Kardashian marriage.”
But perhaps what’s even more illuminating is the crowd that is endorsing Trump.
Contact Nicholas Kristof at Facebook.com/Kristof or Twitter.com/NickKristof.