You’ve probably heard of Donald Trump, the American billionaire real estate developer turned TV personality turned Republican presidential candidate.
His loud mouth and lack of political-correctness are certainly gaining him a lot of attention and, frighteningly, a lot of support. What does he think about the Middle East, Arabs and Islam? As it turns out, not much.
He knows literally nothing about Middle Eastern politics:
He doesn’t know the difference between Iran’s Quds force and Kurds.
When asked if he was familiar with General Qasem Soleimani, leader of the Quds force, Trump replied he was and went on to say, “By the way, the Kurds have been horribly mistreated.”
He was completely lost when asked about Hassan Nasrallah (leader of Hezbollah), Al Zawahiri (leader of Al Qaeda), Al Julani (leader of Al Nusra front) and Al Baghdadi (leader of ISIS).
He claims the interviewer was trying to trick him. “He was giving me name after name—Arab name, Arab name, Arab—and there are few people anywhere, ANYWHERE, that would have known those names. I think he was reading them off a sheet.”
Don’t worry though, he offers this articulate and reassuring response regarding his lack of knowledge and his future ambitions: “I mean, you know, when you’re asking me about who’s running this, this this, that’s not, that is not, I will be so good at the military, your head will spin.” That’s the political equivalent of asking him his net worth and having him hold up four fingers and say, “I’m worth this many billions.”
It’s OK, guys. There’s a good reason he doesn’t know who these people are: he hasn’t had the chance to meet them. “As far as the individual players, of course I don’t know them. I’ve never met them. I haven’t been, you know, in a position to meet them.”
He figures it doesn’t matter, though, because the leaders will probably change by the time he’s in office anyway. Let’s just ignore the fact the Hassan Nasrallah has been the secretary general of Hezbollah since 1992 and Soleimani the commander of al Quds force since 1998…
Also, he doesn’t know the difference between Hamas and Hezbollah, yet… “[The difference between Hamas and Hezbollah will matter] when it’s appropriate. I will know more about it than you know, and believe me, it won’t take me long.”
Who is Trump going to get to explain to him the vast diversity and complex political dynamics of the Middle East? Who better and less biased than the American military! “I’ll have, I’m a delegator. I find great people. I find absolutely great people, and I’ll find them in our armed services, and I find absolutely great people.” Well said, Mr. Trump.
He doesn’t know anything about foreign relations and can’t even keep his own opinion straight:
He loves Saudi Arabia! I mean, do you even know how rich they are? “Saudi Arabia, they make $1 billion a day. $1 billion a day. I love the Saudis. Many are in this building. They make a billion dollars a day.”
Or not…“I saw a report yesterday. There’s so much oil, all over the world, they don’t know where to dump it. And Saudi Arabia says, ‘Oh, there’s too much oil.’ Do you think they’re our friends? They’re not our friends.”
We all thought he was ridiculous for saying he was going to build a wall along the southern border of the United States and make Mexico pay for it, but did you know he thinks Iraq should reimburse the U.S. for its invasion of the country?
After complaining about how expensive it is to wage foreign wars, he suggested taking Iraqi oil. When his interviewer was astonished that he would suggest stealing oil he responded, “Excuse me. You’re not stealing anything. You’re taking — we’re reimbursing ourselves.”
In a speech for the American Conservative Union’s 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Trump said the U.S. should take $1.5 trillion worth of Iraqi oil to pay for the cost of the war and give $1 million to each of the American families who lost someone in the occupation. These comments were met with wild applause.
By the way, similar payouts to Iraqi families who lost someone as a result of the war (from 2003-2011) would total over $500,000,000,000.
In his 2011 book, Time to Get Tough, Trump writes: “How much is it worth to [Iraqis] to be rid of the bloodthirsty dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and to have gained a democracy? In reality, that’s a priceless gift. When I say they should pay us back, I’m not even talking about cash out of their pockets. All I’m asking is that they give us, temporarily, a few flows of oil–enough to help pay us back and help take care of the tens of thousands of families and children whose brave loved ones died or were injured while securing Iraqi freedom. But does Iraq do that? No. In fact, they’ve made it clear they have no intention of ever doing so. Ever. The ingratitude of Iraq’s leadership is breathtaking.”
I mean…I just…I can’t….There are no words.
More recently, in October of 2015, Trump says with certainty that Iraq, and the world, would be 100% better off if Saddam Hussein had been left in power. Do you think he’s still waiting for that “Thank You For Saving Us, Love Iraq” note attached to a few million barrels of oil?
He also says Libya would be better off with Qadaffi in power despite having said the only reason America should have gotten involved with Libya is to take their oil. To the rebels: “We will help you take out Qadaffi. But in exchange, you give us 50 percent of your oil for the next twenty-five years to pay for our military support and to say thank you for the United States doing what you could never have done on your own.”
Donald Trump even gives his two cents about Egyptian politics. In 2011, at the beginning of the January 25th Revolution, Trump told a group of reporters he supported the ouster of Hosni Mubarak: “He lives in tremendous estates all over the world. Supposedly, he’s taken $50 to $70 billion dollars. Is this the kind of a leader they want? I don’t think so.” Wait, Donald, I thought you judged your friends based on how much money they had regardless of how they got it?
However, in true Trump fashion he quickly changed his tune and tweeted:
Thanks for your input, Donald. I’m sure you’ve done your research on the matter so your opinion is highly valued.
His thoughts on Islam, American Muslims and refugees are more than a little worrying:
Trump came under fire recently when he did not correct a man who referred to President Obama as a non-American Muslim. When asked if he would handle the situation differently if it ever came up again, Trump’s response was: “He said Muslims are a problem, OK? That’s what he said, OK? Are they a problem? You tell me. I don’t see the people … that knocked down the World Trade Center going back to Sweden. OK? So he said Muslims are a problem.”
Oh OK, that makes perfect sense. When asked to clarify whether or not he thinks Muslims are a problem, he said: “I think a certain segment are certainly a problem. Unless you want to be so politically correct where you want me to say, ‘Oh, absolutely not’.”
The U.S. has had 994 mass shootings in 1,004 days, which have left 1,260 dead and 3,606 injured and only one was committed by a Muslim. American police have killed 936 people in 2015 alone. It’s about time someone focused on those numbers instead of fear mongering and inciting hatred against Muslims.
Not only is he weary of Muslim people, Trump apparently gets “negative vibes” from the Quran: “The Quran is very interesting. A lot of people say it teaches love … But there’s something there that teaches some very negative vibe …”
I’d be willing to bet all of his fortune he’s never read the Quran.
On the current refugee crisis, the presidential candidate acknowledges that, “It’s living in hell in Syria,” and says that some of the migrants flooding Europe should be allowed to enter the U.S. “I hate the concept of it, but on a humanitarian basis, with what’s happening, you have to [let them in].”
In true form, he later contradicts himself and said if Syrian refugees are allowed to enter and he becomes president, he will send them all back: “”I hear we want to take in 200,000 Syrians. And they could be – listen, they could be ISIS. I’m putting the people on notice that are coming here from Syria as part of this mass migration, that if I win, if I win, they’re going back.”
Not only will he send back refugees, he’s also threatening to end birthright citizenship, as protected by the 14th Amendment. This would mean being born in the United States would no longer guarantee American citizenship.
Unsurprisingly, Trump is misinformed in his blind support for the state of Israel. On the ties between the U.S. and Israel he wrote, “Why do we have this special relationship? It is not out of charity, guilt, or what some call ‘ethnic lobbies.’ We have been there for Israel because Israel is there for us. Israel is a stable democracy in a region filled with dictatorship.”
So it’s not because of lobbies like AIPAC, the “$60-million-per-year organization [that helps secure] more than $3 billion a year in unconditional military aid and an additional $2.5 billion in other forms of aid and loan guarantees for the State of Israel”?
Israel is not there for you, they’re there because of you. But hey, for $5.5 billion a year I could probably be talked into a “special relationship”, too.
Well, at least The Donald found one group to support. He even assures positions for his “friends” on his staff: “The only kind of people I want counting my money are little short guys that wear yamakas every day.” Cultural competency level: zero.
Donald Trump for President 2016??
WE SAID THIS: Don’t miss What Hillary Clinton as U.S. President Would Mean for Egypt.