February 9, 2019


The Least Pro-Life President Ever: From war crimes to executions to murdering dissidents, Trump treats human life with contempt. (WILLIAM SALETAN, FEB 08, 2019, Slate)

Trump says the United States should deliberately target family members of suspected terrorists. Sometimes he says he'd stop short of killing them; sometimes he says he'll "leave that to your imagination." In a drone strike, the distinction is moot. It doesn't matter to Trump whether these people have done anything wrong. What matters is that by hurting them, we might deter terrorists. "With the terrorists, you have to take out their families," Trump argued three years ago. The idea, he explained, was that terrorists "may not care much about their lives, but they do care, believe it or not, about their families' lives."

In comments about other governments, Trump explicitly condones murder. During the 2016 campaign, interviewers pointed out that Russian President Vladimir Putin had arranged the assassinations of dissidents and journalists. Trump said he didn't care. "Our country does plenty of killing also," he retorted. "At least he's a leader, you know, unlike we have in this country." Two weeks after Trump's inauguration, during a Fox News interview, when Bill O'Reilly reminded Trump that "Putin's a killer," the president batted the question away. "We got a lot of killers," he argued. "What, you think our country's so innocent?"

Last summer, Trump praised North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un as man who "loves his people." Again, a Fox News interviewer challenged Trump, citing Kim's atrocious record on human rights. "He is a killer. He's clearly executing people," Bret Baier told the president. Trump responded by defending Kim: "Hey, when you take over a country, tough country, with tough people. ... If you can do that at 27 years old, I mean that's 1in 10,000 that could do that." Baier persisted: "But he's still done some really bad things." Trump shrugged, "Yeah, but so have a lot of other people."

Trump doesn't just excuse Kim's butchery. He glorifies him. In September, Trump bragged at a campaign rally that Kim "wrote me beautiful letters" and "we fell in love." In October, CBS News correspondent Lesley Stahl pressed Trump about that boast. She reminded Trump that Kim "had his half-brother assassinated" and "presides over a cruel kingdom of repression, gulags, starvation ... slave labor, public executions. This is a guy you love?" Trump stood by his man. "I get along with him really well," he told Stahl. "I have a good chemistry with him."

Over the years, Trump has defended other mass killers: Saddam Hussein of Iraq ("Saddam Hussein throws a little gas. Everyone goes crazy. 'Oh, he's using gas!' "), Muammar Qaddafi of Libya ("We would be so much better off if Qaddafi were in charge"), and Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines (who said he'd be "happy to slaughter" that country's "3 million drug addicts"). Lately, Trump has extolled Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who's implicated in the October murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 

Posted by at February 9, 2019 9:47 AM