EDITOR, The Tribune.
When he was a private citizen nobody cared that Brent Symonette found in Donald Trump a man with whom he was so enamored that he would have voted for him in last November’s election if he had US citizenship.
More than a few Rotary Club members must have squirmed in their seats when Symonette made this declaration of solidarity with Trump in February.
Other than the obvious sucking of teeth and rolling of eye-balls by Rotarians whose guiding principles are service, diversity and integrity, the moment passed and somehow Symonette wasn’t laughed out of the luncheon or rebuked for his naïve utterance.
This man was our Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. Now he sits at the Cabinet table helping make decisions for all of us while Donald Trump sits in the White House making decisions that embolden racists, bigots, anti-Semites and white supremacists.
We don’t have to lose sleep over whether Brent’s fondness for Trump will somehow find its way into our foreign policy. His cabinet colleagues, led by our adroit new Foreign Minister Darren Henfield will shut him down before he finishes his thoughts.
But the public needs to know if our Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration still reveres Trump, a man who seemingly hates minorities, non-white immigrants, Jews and women.
Brent’s conscience probably won’t dictate that he come forward and repudiate Donald Trump for his latest benighted outburst. Continuing with his full-blown assault on the American presidency, Trump went rogue again and refused to be a beacon of hope and a balm for a nation hurting after racists, neo-Nazis and white supremacists went on a rampage in Charlottesville, Virginia, birthplace of Thomas Jefferson, the primary author of the US Declaration of Independence.
It is true that Jefferson was a philandering slave owner, but the words he used when he drafted the preamble to that declaration were later used to extend equality to the descendants of slaves. Those words “all men are created equal” rang hollow on the sacred ground that was defaced by racist thugs.
Enter Symonette’s hero Trump serenading the purveyors of hate and for the first time in modern history putting the presidency on the wrong side of a moral divide. Trump refused to appreciate that there were only two sides – good vs evil. He was cool with evil.
The Prime Minister and the Cabinet make foreign policy and so we can all rest assured that after Charlottesville whenever Minister Henfield speaks in international fora he will leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Bahamian people vigorously oppose racism and bigotry, anti-Semitism and any kind of supremacy.
Is Brent willing or ready to walk back his earlier Trump endorsement?
Brent is not the first man in history to fawn over a leader hell bent on his own destruction. But he chose to make public his esteem for Trump and so the onus is on him to state publicly whether Trump is still his man of business.
If he cannot distance himself from Trump then he dishonours himself, his colleagues and the Bahamian people.
This is not about politics. It’s about character. It’s about poor judgement. It’s about morality and it’s about the preamble to our own Constitution which tells the world that we abhor racism and slavery.
Brent must abandon Trump now before history leaves him standing alone, a poor pathetic figure who couldn’t tell the difference between a statesman and a charlatan.
It’s time for Brent to man-up.
August 19, 2017