Trump’s War Against the Elephants
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.One might think that under this title it would be appropriate to read something about the conflicts that affect relations between Trump, the narcissistic president of the United States, and the leadership of the political party that had him as its candidate for that high office.
The Republican Party has had the elephant as its electoral symbol since 1887 when a cartoonist drew it in response to the Democratic Party’s electoral symbol, the donkey.
The donkey had emerged in the 1828 elections as a Democratic symbol as an expression of mockery by his opponents of the stubbornness and lack of intelligence attributed to the then-Democratic presidential candidate, Andrew Jackson.
The insult was jocularly assimilated by the leaders of the Democratic Party who adopted the donkey as their electoral emblem, highlighting its capacity for work and its modesty. So the Republican elephant was born in response to the Democratic donkey invoking the mastodons for their memory, docility and submissiveness.
However, Donald Trump is not identified as a historic Republican or any other party member, since his political career has been characterized by repeated changes in party membership since he entered politics.
Trump sought the presidential nomination of the U.S. Reform Party in 2000. It was a populist formation of nationalist economic orientation founded in 1995 and ephemeral in existence. He withdrew before the voting began. He then considered running for high office as a Republican in the 2012 election, but eventually did not.
In June 2015, he officially announced his candidacy for the 2016 elections, and gradually became the favorite among the seventeen candidates in the Republican primaries. In May 2016, the last of his rivals suspended campaigning and in July he was nominated, with Mike Pence as his running mate, at the Republican Convention.
His campaign received unprecedented media coverage and international attention. Many of his statements in media interviews, on social networks and at campaign demonstrations were controversial. No few were considered false, but they were always widely disseminated.
He won the general election on November 8, 2016 against his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, and became president on January 20, 2017 at the age of 70, 7 months and 6 days, making him the oldest president to assume this position in his country. He is also the most affluent president, first without military service or political office before being elected and fifth in winning by the votes of the electoral college despite having lost the election by popular vote.
But, to return to the title of this commentary, it is curious that one of the many embarrassing situations Trump has been involved in stems from the accusations made against him for his support of elephant hunting in Africa.
Avaaz, a nongovernmental organization with more than 46 million members who protect nature and the ecosystem, which promotes actions aimed at protecting wildlife, has directly accused President Donald Trump of supporting elephant extermination actions in Africa.
A climax of this ruckus came when the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump, Jr., mutilated an elephant during a hunt in Africa and appeared in the world’s press in a photo proudly depicting the white hunter with a smoking rifle next to the body of a large elephant. The president came to his aid and ordered the lifting of the ordinance prohibiting such “diversions” because of the danger they posed to this species in danger of extermination.
But this decision provoked justified outrage in the world. While it met the insistent demand of many wealthy American hunters thirsting for the morbid pleasure of killing harmless elephants in Africa in order to bring their ivory tusks to their mansions as trophies for the sake of human dignity and their role on the planet, nature and environmental protection organizations mobilized and succeeded, through massive global protest, in getting the United States to renounce such an offensive practice.
Following the general rejection of the measure, Trump tweeted that he would put this decision on the elephant hunt on “hold” but, earlier this year, in an interview, he assured us that the trophy ban act would not stand for long.
Obviously Avaaz’s protest has continued and the issue of the elephants remains on Trump’s agenda and with it the confrontation between the US president and the Republican party’s electoral symbol that supposedly sponsors him.
June 21, 2018.