On January 16, The Times of London posed a question to Donald Trump: “Do you have any models – are there heroes that you steer by – people you look up to from the past.”
In reply Mr. Trump said,: “Well, I don’t like heroes, I don’t like the concept of heroes, the concept of heroes is never great.” He then described his admiration for his father, from whom he learned “a lot about negotiation,” but then he gave himself final credit, saying that negotiation is “natural trait,” which “you either have or you don’t.”
Father and son may share additional traits. In 1950, Woody Guthrie leased an apartment from Fred Trump, and soon came to despise the president-elect’s father for his racism. In his song, “Old Man Trump,” he wrote:
Beach Haven ain’t my home!
No, I just can’t pay this rent!
My money’s down the drain,
And my soul is badly bent!
Beach Haven is Trump’s Tower
Where no black folks come to roam,
No, no, Old Man Trump!
Old Beach Haven ain’t my home!
In the 1970’s, the Justice Department sued Fred and Donald Trump for racial discrimination, under the 1968 Fair Housing Act, which Rep. John Lewis helped pass. The Trumps settled, “without an admission of guilt.
Heroism begins with a concern for someone or something greater than oneself, so of course Mr. Trump is unacquainted with the concept. Polls show his approval rating has slipped since the election, but a core group of supporters apparently still hope that inauguration will somehow awaken a concern with their wellbeing and that of the nation.
I’m betting in six months – a year at the outside – the denial will wear off, and most of his remaining supporters will realize they’ve been conned as badly but effectively as those who enrolled at Trump University.
We will not find any heroes in the White House after Friday.