In September 2017, speaking at the United Nations, President Donald Trump decried the abject failure of socialism as a form of governance, and more broadly, as an ideology:
The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented but that socialism has been faithfully implemented. From the Soviet Union to Cuba, Venezuela — wherever socialism or Communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish, devastation, and failure. Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems. America stands with every person living under a brutal regime.
During his speech at the UN today, Trump returned to the subjects of socialism, communism, and Venezuela, where he noted that “more than 2 million people have fled the anguish inflicted by the Socialist Maduro regime, and its Cuban sponsors.” He added: “Not long ago Venezuela was one of the richest countries on earth.” Trump observed: “Today socialism has bankrupted the oil-rich nation and driven its people into abject poverty.” And he concluded with another denunciation of socialist/communist totalitarianism as a predatory, liberty-crushing ideology that produces despair:
Virtually everywhere socialism or communism has been tried it has produced suffering, corruption, and decay. Socialism’s thirst for power leads to expansion, incursion, and oppression. All nations of the world should resist socialism and the misery it brings to everyone.
Three years earlier, campaigning at the Iowa Family Leadership Summit in July 2015, Donald Trump gushed about Norman Vincent Peale (d. 1993), a staunch anti-Communist and his family’s pastor at the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan:
Norman Vincent Peale was my pastor — “The Power of Positive Thinking” [Peale’s 1952 book]. Everybody has heard of Norman Vincent Peale? He was so great. He would give a sermon — you never wanted to leave. I’m telling you, I still remember his sermons.
Peale minced no words about where he stood on the totalitarian menace of Communism in his 1952 bestseller, penned at a critical juncture in the Cold War: “No one has more contempt for Communism than I have.” Indeed, a Nashville Banner, January 20, 1951, front-page story featured coverage of an enormous anti-Communist rally, where Peale was the keynote speaker: “Dr. Peale Tells Thousands Here — The Future Belongs to Christ Not Communism.”
David Brody’s 2018 biographical analysis, The Faith of Donald J. Trump: A Spiritual Biography, elaborates on Peale’s earlier opposition to collectivism more broadly, encompassing both Communism and fascism. Two weeks after Trump’s birth in 1946, Peale opined in a newspaper column:
There are small-minded people who have the idea that to be a Christian today, one must lean way over to the left or right: either to take Communism on the one hand or something else on the other. For the life of me, I have never been able to understand how a man who regards himself as a leader of the Christian Church can attempt to deprecate the teachings of Jesus as to try and get them into the thinking of Karl Marx or of some Fascist. Those puny little fellows compared to the colossal mind of Jesus Christ, pale into mere insignificance.
Brody avers that Peale was also an “ardent” opponent of what he viewed as Franklin Roosevelt’s coercive New Deal era statism and “demagoguery,” particularly when FDR sought a third presidential term.
A January 2016 Washington Post story (notwithstanding the negative, tangential headline) riveted upon the warm, enduring relationship between the “Trump and Peale clans”:
Norman Vincent Peale presided at Donald Trump’s wedding to Ivana Trump. He also officiated at the wedding of Trump’s sister Maryanne. The mogul co-hosted the minister’s 90th-birthday bash … “The great Norman Vincent Peale was my minister for years,” … Peale, for his part, described Trump as “kindly and courteous” with “a streak of honest humility,” and touted him as “one of America’s top positive thinkers and doers.” The minister also called Trump “ingenious” and predicted that he would be “the greatest builder of our time.” Trump’s parents, Fred and Mary Trump, formally joined Peale’s Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan — a venerable affiliate of the Reformed Church in America — during the 1970s.
While Donald Trump (in a 2009 Psychology Today interview) credited Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking for keeping his mindset optimistic after a series of setbacks, I believe Dr. Peale’s staunch anti-totalitarianism — especially his anti-Communism — influenced Trump’s own worldview. Trump’s 2000 The America We Deserve, is the best summary explication of the pro-freedom ideology which animates his foreign policy considerations. Referring to what he designated “oppressive communism,” Trump championed “western style democracy” as his desired replacement for communist totalitarianism in the collapsed former Soviet Union. Trump also denounced the “disgrace” Castro’s communism had wrought upon Cuba:
Terror reigns, the police are unrestrained; beatings and citizen disappearances are common, and all free expression outside the Communist Party is crushed.
More importantly, as has remained his wont, Trump was gimlet-eyed about the persistence — and danger — of entrenched Communism in a powerful China:
I break rank with many business colleagues and foreign policy gurus … in my unwillingness to shrug off the mistreatment of China’s citizens by their own government. My reason is simple: These oppressive policies make it clear that China’s current government has contempt for our way of life. It fears freedom because it knows its survival depends on oppression. It does not respect individual rights. It is still, at heart, a collectivist society. As such it is a destabilizing force in the world, and should be viewed that way.
Donald Trump’s muscular anti-socialist/communist pronouncements and observations highlight the seditious role reversal underlying the manufactured “Trump-Russia collusion” faux narrative. A simple juxtaposition of Trump’s written and spoken words versus the writings, utterances, and behaviors of key players orchestrating what was tantamount to a putsch (or coup d’etat, per former federal prosecutor DiGenova) against Trump — John Brennan, Nellie Ohr, Christopher Steele, and James Comey — should make this dichotomy plain to even the most blinkered and doctrinaire Never Trumpers of any persuasion.
Former CIA Director John Brennan has admitted casting his 1976 POTUS vote for Communist Party of the USA leader Gus Hall, who was then virulently anti-American and an overt champion of the “liberating” hegemonic Soviet Communist terror state under Communist dictator (and Hall’s “Comrade”) Brezhnev. Hall articulated these views in a 1975 “Report to the 21st Convention of the Communist Party” (p. 33):
Détente is not an agreement to accept, or to turn one’s head from oppression by [US] imperialism anywhere. Comrade Leonid Brezhnev made this clear in a public statement here when he stated: ‘The Soviet Union’s support for all national liberation struggles and movements is non-negotiable.’
Consistent with this 1976 vote for American Stalinist Hall as POTUS, Brennan, in his 1980 University of Texas MS thesis, adopted the moral relativism one associates with the Communist movement. Brennan declared “absolute human rights do not exist,” rendering “[human rights] analysis subject to innumerable conditional criticisms,” rejecting free speech and Western liberty as universal values, and rationalizing Soviet Communist totalitarianism. He proffered this unsettling apologetic for the appalling human rights record of the Brezhnev-era Soviet Union (although Brennan refrained from labeling the Soviet dictator “Comrade Leonid Brezhnev”):
Can human rights violations in the Soviet Union be as easily justified in terms of the preservation of the communist ideology? Unfortunately (looking at events from a democratic perspective), yes. Since the absolute status of human rights has been denied, the justification for the violation of any of those rights has to be pursued from a particular ideological perspective. Leonid Brezhnev could justify human rights violations in the Soviet Union as a necessary part of the preservation of the communist ideological system.
Diana West’s extensive, illuminating backgrounders contextualize the hard Left (even pro-Communist) proclivities of Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele. Nellie Ohr, for example (summarized in this West interview), is a full-throated apologist for Stalin’s 1930s Ukrainian terror-famine, which according to great Sovietologist Robert Conquest’s “The Harvest of Sorrow” (p. 306), killed some 14.5 million souls. “Confirmed socialist” Christopher Steele worked for the subversive, Marxist-infiltrated Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Even James Comey has acknowledged his dalliance with Communism, as reported in October 2003 by New York Magazine’s Chris Smith:
I’d moved from Communist to whatever I am now. I’m not even sure how to characterize myself politically. Maybe at some point, I’ll have to figure it out.
Having imbibed Norman Vincent Peale’s positive, pro-freedom, pro-capitalist, anti-totalitarian ideology, Donald Trump’s own muscular anti-totalitarianism stands in stark contrast to the hard left — even overtly Communist — sympathies of the cabal of anti-Trump pustchists aligned against him.