American columnist apologises to NZ for ‘scary’ Trump leadership

Biden supporter celebrations
Supporters celebrate the success of President-elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the US elections. Image: AJ

Pacific Media Watch Newsdesk

An American columnist and high tech expert has apologised to the people of New Zealand over the “scary” experience of authoritarian presidential rule over the past four years and appealed for a “second chance”.

Dick Brass, a former vice-president of Microsoft and Oracle for almost two decades and an ex-New York Daily News editor, says it will take a while to restore trust in the American system after Donald Trump who has been defeated by Joe Biden in a closely fought election. Trump is due to leave office in January.

“I think the absolute low point for me came the night after the election. In a tweet that will live in infamy, our President [Trump] ‘claimed’ for himself states that had barely begun to count their votes,” Brass wrote in his New Zealand Herald column today.

“This was pretty shocking, because even populist demagogues like Putin and Erdogan pretend to wait for the results.”

Brass quoted from Trump’s tweet:

“’We have claimed, for Electoral Vote purposes, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania … the State of Georgia, and the State of North Carolina. … Additionally, we hereby claim the State of Michigan.’ Hereby claim? I hereby claim this land for Spain!”

Brass summed up his response to Trump.

‘Just dumb bluff?’ – it was
“Was he for real? Had militias been mobilised? Or was it just a dumb bluff from a beaten man? Well yes, turns out it was.

“As the numbers inexorably turned against Trump, even Rupert Murdoch began to distance himself. First Fox called Arizona for Biden, undermining Trump’s hope to seriously play his phoney rigged election ‘claim’.

“Yesterday, all of Murdoch’s various organs agreed that with Pennsylvania, Biden had won.”

Brass said it must have been a hard four years for New Zealanders as well as Americans.

“We elected a cruel and rude man who called for a Muslim ban [in the US] and talked about
“America First” as though we no longer cared about anyone else. To prove it, he renounced decades of commitments.

“We pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord just as climate disaster loomed. We pulled out of the World Health Organisation as covid raged.

“We started trade wars. We acted like we couldn’t be trusted.

Hiding ‘covid bungling’
In August, Brass wrote, Trump had tried to “hide his covid bungling … by pretending New Zealand was having a ‘big surge’ of new cases. You had nine that day. We had 42,000. On Saturday we had 132,000. You had two.”

Brass also referred to past differences such as New Zealand’s nuclear-free stance.

“Like in 1985, when we refused to honour your sovereign right to a nuclear-free country and insisted on our right to park a nuclear-armed destroyer in one of your ports.”

In a amusing footnote, he wrote that the destroyer was sunk as target practice in 2000.

“Authoritarianism is often much easier to see from abroad,” wrote Brass.

“At home, it looks like a mixture of patriotism and new-found national purpose. The ravings of a mad king seem entertaining, powerful or just different.”

Last week, Brass had penned a Herald column predicting that Trump would not survive the covid “Army of the Dead”.

Brass lamented the “236,000 covid dead here, rising to perhaps 400,000, depending on what Trump now finally does post-election”, but concluded:

“He has been defeated and America has been given a second chance. That’s not nothing.”

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