Laurence Kaufman: Would Trump have avoided World War II?
Is it possible that if Donald Trump had been president in December 1941 that World War II could have been avoided?
Suppose that someone blessed with his bravery, his interpersonal skills and his unsurpassed negotiating ability had been in the White House at that time to deal with the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Remember the bravery that he exhibited when he downplayed the coronavirus dangers because, as he explained he did want not to “panic America” so he kept the truth hidden and the burden of the secret on his shoulders alone?
Take a moment and imagine that it’s December 8, 1941 and the president of the United States of America is Donald Trump — not Franklin Delano Roosevelt — and it is President Trump speaking to the nation from the Oval Office. It will be years before he will admit that he knew of real severity of the attack on Pearl Harbor but he will explain his actions by saying that “he didn’t want to panic the American public.”
Radio announcer: “We now take you to the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C. for an announcement from President Trump.”
President Trump: “My fellow Americans. I am speaking to you from the Oval Office in the White House. I am here because as you know I am the president — probably one of the greatest, if not the greatest president to ever hold this office. Yesterday, Sunday, December 7, 1941, a date of no particular historical significance, some of you may have heard that we had an unfortunate incident in Hawaii that resulted in some minor damage to some of our ships in Pearl Harbor.
“I called Governor Poindexter, governor of the Territory of Hawaii, who confirmed that it appeared that there was an explosion that involved Arizona. Since I know my geography, probably better than any other president, I reminded Governor Poindexter that he was in Hawaii, not Arizona. He seemed confused by my comment since he continued by saying something about additional damage to Pennsylvania and Oklahoma.
“My fellow Americans, it appears that Governor Poindexter is perhaps the worst informed governor of any state or territory and I will have to replace him since I have the authority to do so. A huge shame — a disaster. He was doing a terrible job — the worst ever.
“It appears that this incident in Hawaii — very minor, perhaps 10 or 15 of our very brave Army and Navy personnel suffered slight injuries and they should be fine in five or 10 days —— resulted from Japanese airplanes accidentally dropping what some people are describing as bombs which unfortunately landed on some of our ships.
“I immediately called my very good friend in Japan, Emperor Hirohito — he and I are on a first name basis, I call him Hiro and he calls me Donny-Babe — I mean what could be sweeter, right? Hiro assured me that this was a large mistake for which he said he was so sorry.
“He explained that several Japanese ships had just happened to be sailing in the Pacific. As a special treat, a number of Japanese aircraft were flying some of their sailors around Pearl Harbor simply to whale watch when someone accidentally pulled the wrong lever and a few bombs fell from their aircraft.
“Hiro — what a sweetheart — again apologized and said he hoped that this would not interfere with our otherwise good business relations. I assured him that it would not and I invited him to visit Washington, and we could split an order of chop suey and play a few rounds of golf. He seemed unaware of what chop suey was. He went on to assure me that my plans to build a Trump Tower in downtown Tokyo are still on track as we spoke. Hiro remains a best friend forever.
“You may have heard rumors that our military intelligence was insisting that this was no accident — that, instead, this was a deliberate attack on our naval and air forces in Hawaii. My fellow Americans, let me assure you once again that — stable genius that I am, I know more than our admirals and generals. When my best-bud, Hiro, says it was an accident, you can rest assured that was just that.
“So, my fellow Americans, there is no need to panic and you can safely put away your guns and rest easy tonight. There is no need to panic because when the greatest president who ever served tells you this entire matter will be gone and be just a memory by New Years Day, 1942 you can believe him.
“Ask yourselves, ‘Have I ever lied to you?’ And remember this in November 1944 when I run for my fourth term as your greatest president ever. May God bless you all and bless the United States of America and while you can’t see me since I am only the radio, rest assured I am holding a Bible in my hand as I speak.”
Announcer: “You have just heard President Trump speaking to you from the White House. I must add a correction — the president was not speaking from the Oval Office, we are just being informed that he was addressing the nation from a deep underground bunker. We apologize for the error.”
Now you see how easily our involvement in World War II could have been avoided if only Donald Trump had been our president. Sad, nothing sadder.
Laurence Kaufman lives in Nevada City.
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