Economic sanctions have worked to varying degrees against bad actors around the world, including Iran, China, Russia and North Korea. At various points in time, our leaders realized that some nation-states don’t respond to moral imperatives, human rights issues or the ideal of peace among nations. So we starved those countries into compliance, holding back food or fuel or trading rights.
The time has come to do the same to Donald Trump and his cohorts in the White House.
We have survived enough of the Trump presidency to know that he cares only about himself, his kids and his financial empire. It took a while to realize that he has no higher calling, no ideals and absolutely no core morality. As the weeks and months have rolled by, we’ve seen a man who sits in the Oval Office and denigrates his staff, Congress, government officials and even the very roof over his head. As the prospect of political successes erodes, he increasingly brags about his money, boasts about his hotels and businesses around the world and clearly derives the most satisfaction from that financial high ground.
That is his Achilles’ heel.
All the time, I hear people lamenting, “But what can we do? He’s the president.” The answer is, we the people can impose economic sanctions on the Trump business empire until he considers stepping down. And not just as individuals: We need to lobby our friends, business associates, clubs and philanthropies, demanding that they stop doing business with Trump.
Since his failure last week to clearly and flatly condemn the neo-Nazis and nationalists who marched in Charlottesville, Va., the political blowback has been fierce. But that may not bother him. Perhaps more threatening to his outsized ego is that financial consequences have been piling up.
On Friday, several mega-charities, including the American Cancer Society and the American Friends of Magen David Adom, announced that they would not go forward with plans to host events at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s club in Palm Beach. They cited their support for “diversity” and their opposition to racism. As I write this, nine groups have canceled such plans.
As The New York Times reported, “The rapid rejections of one of the president’s signature businesses revealed a possible financial vulnerability for Trump, who has been fiercely criticized this week for equating the actions of white supremacists and neo-Nazis with counter-protesters during a violent weekend in Charlottesville.”
Earlier in the week, shortly after Trump went off script with his rogue remarks about Charlottesville, several high-profile CEOs on his Business Advisory Council quit, again citing his offensive comments. In response, the toddler in chief dissolved the council.
We need to learn from past presidents and secretaries of state who successfully imposed sanctions on hostile nations when they could push no further for reasonable compliance.
We have a president who is raving and behaving in ways that are damaging to our country’s standing in the world. Here at home, his mindless tweets and tacit empowering of American Nazis, militias and nationalist groups have revealed him as a man who is all sound and fury and truly signifies nothing. He is indifferent to the damage he is doing to our country. One tiny part of me actually feels sorry for him, a man who has over-reached to the point of self-destruction. He probably can’t do better than he does. Therefore, he needs to step down.
But he won’t. So here’s where the sanctions come in.
He himself is giving us the means to encourage his retirement from political life. He is the president on the gilded throne. He worships money and buildings featuring his name emblazoned in gold. If businesses and charities and citizens of America and leaders from around the world start boycotting the Trump brand, it would get his attention. He has been called a “transactional” figure who operates on a pragmatic axiom: If I can make money from it, it is good. That reveals his weakness, and those who do have a moral compass can take advantage of his vulnerability.
Boycott his hotels and his golf courses here and around the world. Urge your clubs and civic groups and philanthropies to do no harm by avoiding Trump Inc. If the foreign governments who have sent staff to stay in his hotels are starting to get nervous about the erratic and unstable man in the Oval Office, they should start looking elsewhere for accommodations when they come to D.C.
We can only hope that a boycott would start pushing him out the White House door. He could then give up this day job, which surely brings him little joy, and go back to his life’s work: making himself richer.
Copyright © 2017 Randi Kreiss. Randi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.