Ex-Gov. John H. Sununu popped up in New Hampshire this week and endorsed Donald Trump, forgetting perhaps that he disparaged and heaped scorn on Trump in a Union Leader op-ed in January 2016.
“Trump,” Sununu wrote, “is cut from the same big government cloth as Barack Obama … He welcomed the Obama stimulus packages, supports government-funded universal health care, and is a fan and an exploiter of eminent domain for his real estate developments.”
Sununu père, whose son Chris is running for governor, concluded, “We must not drink the Trump Kool-Aid.”
It seems that what Sununu the Elder really meant was don’t imbibe until I tell you to.
Not drink until he says you can. Then, upon his decree that “Republicans, independents and smart Democrats need to come together to elect Donald Trump and Mike Pence” swallow heartily and deep from the elixir that promises gold but delivers pyrite.
Thus, John H. Sununu, not surprisingly, has joined the stable of Republicans and conservatives who have abdicated their éminence grise status to court jester by agreeing to serve a dangerous charlatan and con man at a time when as patriotic Americans — even as patriotic Palestinian-Americans — they should be standing strong and shouting from podiums and pulpits, “Donald Trump has no clothes.”
How ironic for Sununu to endorse Trump after his embarrassing debate performance when in 2012 Sununu heaped scorn on President Barack Obama for a significantly less-embarrassing performance against Mitt Romney: “What people saw last night, I think, was a president that revealed his incompetence, how lazy and detached he is, and how he has absolutely no idea how serious the economic problems of the country are, and how he has failed to even begin to address them.”
As far as I’m concerned Obama’s “lazy and detached performance” of 2012 was an Oscar-winning effort compared to Trump’s failure to rise to the historic challenge of his first national one-on-one debate.
Really, John, do you want “Republicans, independents and smart Democrats (aren’t Republicans and independents smart?)” to vote for the twitching, sniffing, barely-articulate reality TV poseur who seems not to know the difference between nuclear “first strike” and “first use” options?
Really, John, you’re an MIT grad. You know what this means; do you really want Trump to have the codes — to be the voice of the United States in determining the future for your children and grandchildren — and mine?
Most vexing for me, however, is that a man of Palestinian heritage, aware of how people of similar heritage and background have been targeted as the Other throughout Trump’s campaign, has thrown his lot in with someone who has deliberately targeted minorities and communities of color.
Trump’s targets aren’t just Mexicans or Muslims — they’re Arabs, Sikhs, Parsees, Hindus and anyone that doesn’t look like Trump. Sununu has just linked his fortunes, and his son Chris’s, to that of a bigot, racist, misogynist and a serial liar who’s unconstitutionally and temperamentally unsuited to be president and whose every action reveals him to be a narcissist shallow in character, education, empathy and reflection.
Linked to a man whose every public action for years have been in the service of self-aggrandizement and profit, a serial misogynist for whom bling and headlines have more value than public service.
When your son, John Jr., introduced you in 2006 for an award from the American Task Force on Palestine he recounted that he had a “Palestinian-American father, who was born in Havana and grew up in New York City … Growing up, I saw at a very early age the pride my grandfather had at the fact that he grew up in Jerusalem, and he went to school within the walls of the Old City. My grandmother, Abara Hussein, was born in Central America. And it made for a family history that, I think, naturally encouraged me and my brothers and sisters to learn more about our background, to learn more about the world, to better understand the Middle East …”
At that gala, where the proceeds went to Palestinian hospitals in Jerusalem and Nablus, and to Palestinian refugees in Gaza, your response to your son’s introduction sympathetically included, “Certainly, these are not easy times for a young man and his family to participate in public life as and Arab-American, as a Palestinian-American.”
Ten years later, Governor, these are even less easy days for Arab-Americans, for Palestinian-Americans, and in response you’ve just endorsed a man who opposes a two-state solution and who will not condemn the illegal West Bank occupation and settlements even though you yourself said in 2006 “… it is important for people to understand that tranquility will never come where there is an environment of occupation.”
Governor, those are noble sentiments and positions, and they are diametrically opposed to those taken by the candidate you’ve just endorsed.
Which, then, reflects the true Sununu?
In “How Palestinians Keep Warm,” Palestinian-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye wrote:
“My well went dry, my grandfather’s grapes
have stopped singing. I stir the coals,
my babies cry. How will I teach them
they belong to the stars?”
Governor, how will you teach the children they belong to the stars if the person you endorse tells them they’re less than equal?
There is no nourishment in Kool-Aid, Governor.