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America’s most embarrassing man Jussie Smollett isn't charismatic, he's just cringe

A fabulist and a fool. Earl Gibson III/Getty Images

A fabulist and a fool. Earl Gibson III/Getty Images


May 12, 2024   5 mins

Spring, the season of rebirth, is as good a moment as any to review the second lives of the formerly cancelled. Some are faring better than others: Louis C.K., for one, is fully back in business, albeit after taking a multi-million dollar financial hit for his masturbatory scandal circa 2017. Roseanne Barr, who lost her TV series over a racist (and allegedly Ambien-induced) tweet is now a moderately successful podcaster, as well as a cast member on a new, “anti-woke” animated series from The Daily Wire. Shane Gillis, fired from Saturday Night Live over offensive comments, was welcomed back to the stage as host this year, a sure sign that all was forgiven.

These are the success stories, the comebacks, the triumphs over adversity. But then, in a category all his own, there’s Jussie Smollett.

Smollett was initially moderately famous as a TV actor on the Fox network show Empire, where he’d been a regular cast member for five seasons from 2014. But then, in 2019, he shot to global infamy as the perpetrator of a hoax hate crime — one that has remained vivid in our collective memory not just because of its sensationally improbable narrative, but because Smollett refuses to let us forget.

It was a brutally cold night in Chicago, in January, when two white men allegedly assaulted Smollett after recognising him on the street at 2am. In the actor’s telling, they beat him, threw a noose around his neck, poured bleach over his head, and screamed, “This is MAGA country!”, before fleeing into the night.

It later emerged that Smollett had staged the attack with the specific intent of having it captured by a nearby security camera and creating a storm with it on social media (the tragic cherry on top of this whole sordid affair: the camera was pointed in the wrong direction). But at the time, the combination of a hate-crime narrative plus a MAGA hat-wearing villain stroked every confirmation bias that progressive pundits and politicians had.

“He is no mere transgressor, nor a mere grifter; he’s a fabulist.”

There was an outpouring of support, including from then-senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker. And the narrative, at least in Left-leaning spaces, settled somewhere in the vicinity of “this just goes to show what life is like for a gay black man in Donald Trump’s America”; which, once the truth emerged that Smollett’s attackers were in fact a pair of Nigerian brothers whom he’d hired to attack him, was swiftly retooled by Smollett’s supporters into a “nevertheless, my original point still stands” argument about how the fact they were fooled was surely proof of rampant racism in its own right.

Many careers and reputations fell to pieces in those heady final years of the Trump administration, when cancel culture was at its peak. But Smollett’s downfall is unique by comparison. He doesn’t quite fit the mould of the Hollywood bad-boy type whose delinquent or attention-seeking behaviour has resulted in criminal charges. He is no mere transgressor, nor a mere grifter; he’s a fabulist, which places him at a unique crossroads in the American cultural imagination. For those shameless enough to really commit to the bit, being an audacious liar can command a certain grudging respect. Consider P.T. Barnum, Frank Abagnale, even Donald Trump — each of them an icon in his own right, and all of them utterly full of shit.

Could Smollett have made himself into one of these, doubling down on his fabricated tale of victimhood with the same brazenness with which Trump continues to hammer the “stolen election” narrative? In this paradigm, the sheer ludicrousness of the story would even have been a selling point, and at least some people seem to have been ready to buy in: when Smollett was convicted on five counts of felony disorderly conduct, Black Lives Matter released a statement referring to the entire trial as “a white supremacist charade”, writing: “We can never believe police
 over Jussie Smollett, a Black man who has been courageously present, visible, and vocal in the struggle for Black freedom.”

But this coping strategy was not adopted by the majority, for whom the entire thing was, if not forgotten, then very intentionally not discussed. Far from elevating Smollett to folk hero status a la Barnum or Trump, his initial supporters rapidly dispersed. Tweets were quietly deleted, and follow-up statements given grudgingly if at all. Smollett disappeared from the cast of Empire, and the show was cancelled the following season.

At the time of Smollett’s conviction — nearly two years after the story first broke — Wilfred Reilly wrote in UnHerd that the case revealed “an uncomfortable truth about race in America: that the constant exaggeration, or even invention, of incidents of bias by activists and media members is probably a bigger problem than the residual violent racism that still exists”.

Today, this seems truer than ever, in that the primary emotion aroused by Smollett among his former supporters is profound embarrassment. It also may explain why Smollett seems to have little hope of ever working again — if he even wants to, which is also an open question. For the past five years, the actor’s bandwidth has been largely consumed by the doomed project of sticking to his story, to insist on the ending he planned (and paid) for instead of the one he got. He continues to deny any wrongdoing and apparently intends to appeal his conviction all the way to the Supreme Court. These efforts may be understandable in a sunk-cost sort of way, but they are also having the opposite of their intended effect: the more he struggles to free himself from the mire of his infamy, the deeper he sinks, and the less sympathetic he becomes. Donald Trump, he is not.

In a parallel-universe, Smollett might have come clean, apologised, and paid restitution as soon as it became clear that his story was bullshit — and after a few dutiful weeks of mockery, we would all moved on to the next thing. In this alternative reality, Smollett is still working; Empire might even be still running. Despite that F. Scott Fitzgerald quote about there being no second acts in American lives, the reality of American culture is that we love a good comeback, even, or maybe even especially, after the most humiliating public misstep.

But you have to take your lumps, first, in a way that Smollett has categorically refused to do. His original, much-criticised plea deal eventually fell apart precisely because it included no admission of guilt. His conviction at trial, too, could have been avoided if he’d just owned up to the fabrication. Indeed, however embarrassing the hoax was, it has long since been eclipsed by the cringe-worthy spectacle of Smollett still insisting it happened.

All of this is to Smollett’s detriment — if for no other reason than that it’s to the embarrassment of powerful people whose support he would need most if he wanted to come back. This is what sets the actor apart from someone like Roseanne Barr or Louis C.K., but also someone like Barnum or Trump: in allowing himself to be made foolish, he made fools of his allies, too, duping them into the role of supporting actors in an offensive farce. If he’d been more charismatic, maybe he could have gotten away with this — or if he’d been more apologetic, perhaps he could have been forgiven. But his actual path, the third way, is the worst of both worlds: Smollett diligently continues to spin his wild tale of victimhood, playing the role of the brazen showman
 but to an empty house.


Kat Rosenfield is an UnHerd columnist and co-host of the Feminine Chaos podcast. Her latest novel is You Must Remember This.

katrosenfield

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Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
16 days ago

The election was indeed stolen from Trump and handed to a crooked, stupid man who has been full of sh*t for decades. What does this author have to say about all the hoaxes perpetrated against Trump?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
16 days ago

Trump didn’t need hoaxes to paint him as a despicable human. My favorite is when he joked about his five deferments during the Vietnam war (sending other men to take his place). He said his personal war was not getting a sexually transmitted disease. It was reported on in the press when he said it, as he was a celebrity in the Seventies. My father fought in Vietnam, and I don’t find the draft dodger is very funny.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
15 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Totally agree. I don’t know why people put Trump on pedestal. Personally, I think he’s a narcissistic POS. I wish the GOP picked DeSantis instead. Having said that, the Democrats are infinitely more dangerous.

Damon Hager
Damon Hager
15 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Speaking as a technically neutral Briton, I recognise that Mr Trump has his faults, but he also has chutzpah and charisma. More pertinently, the spectacle of one man (however imperfect) trying to face down the wrath of a monolithic, hypocritical, degenerate and mendacious establishment provokes sympathy.
Many conservatives, in your country and abroad, reflexively feel, “My enemy’s enemy is my friend.”

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
15 days ago
Reply to  Damon Hager

IDK. I don’t like him. I never have. I do sympathize with him, however. The attacks by the deep state Dems has been utterly relentless.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
14 days ago
Reply to  Damon Hager

Trump is the privileged establishment.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
14 days ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

That’s why the donor class despises him. Err. Maybe I have that backwards.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
15 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

That’s what autistic people do. Lacking the sensitivity to norms the rest of us have, they tell the truth about their motives. It’s disconcerting, but in some ways preferable to the systematic lying engaged in by other types of sociopathic personality. Bill Clinton for example.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
15 days ago

Who cares. He brings it on himself…

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
16 days ago

“This is MAGA country!”
This was the third-least believable part of his story, the second-least being recognized by a pair of white guys at 2 AM, the first being recognized by anybody.

nnnn hhhhhg
nnnn hhhhhg
16 days ago

Why do we have to read about this loser again? Surely, there are more pertinent articles to publish? This is ‘old hat.’

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
16 days ago
Reply to  nnnn hhhhhg

To shoehorn in some TDS..

Keith Merrick
Keith Merrick
15 days ago

Trump is civilisation’s best hope at fending off, not only the unwashed masses from the south, east and everywhere else, but also the pink-haired, nosed-pierced, tattooed, permanently aggrieved, permanently revolting, adolescent wannabe socialists. That doesn’t change the fact that he’s a lying narcissist and nothing Kat Rosenfield wrote was factually untrue.

Brian Matthews
Brian Matthews
15 days ago
Reply to  Keith Merrick

a) Everyone who runs for high office is a narcissist.
b) Trump is too often sloppy with his words and prone to hyperbole. This is a flaw but far short of lies. Also when Trump makes jokes the lying corporate media relay the text as if spoken in earnest. Basically the press tells 10 lies for every authentic Trump lie.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
14 days ago

Yea, I was wondering whether this was a hit piece on Smollet or Trump.

Keith Merrick
Keith Merrick
15 days ago
Reply to  nnnn hhhhhg

I disagree. Not only did I like the schadenfreude of being told in a well-written article that this loser is now an even bigger loser than he once was, it stops the incident being lost to collective memory. When the next black person tries such a racial hoax, we’ll be able to say, ‘It’s another Jussie Smollett’ and people with very short memories will know what we mean.

mike otter
mike otter
14 days ago
Reply to  Keith Merrick

I heard “Doing a Smollett” used at the time to describe someones who’s lies and schemes at work blow up – usually resulting in sacking or fudged resignation for the schemer. I really hope it enters the lexicon like “Gordon Bennet” or “Get in there Moreton”. (Tragically Moreteon killed himself aged 35 and you wonder what the toll on Smollett will be long term if he can create his own independent reality) Perhaps Smollett could find happiness with cook channel online specialising in Southern fried fish dishes – like Jake Smollett.

Rob N
Rob N
16 days ago

“with which Trump continues to hammer the “stolen election” narrative”

Even if, and it is a very big if, there was no significant electoral fraud (and lots of evidence there was) there was absolutely definitely biased reporting which led to a misinformed US electorate. They knew all of Trump’s failings (and some imaginary ones) but none of the true scandals of Biden. That misreporting alone makes the claim of a ‘stolen election’ not unreasonable.

glyn harries
glyn harries
14 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

There is ZERO evidence of “significant electoral fraud” and between Fox News and the NYPost the idea that the press was all biased to the Dems is nonsense.

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
15 days ago

The election WAS stolen….maybe not with fraudulent votes. But the orchestrated campaign of lies my MSM, social media censorship and the Biden laptop were easily enough to make the difference. So Trump’s narrative is not fabulist BS. It’s basically true. And people know it. There is no comparison

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
14 days ago

A few key precincts in a few key states was all it took to steal the election. It is the sort of thing the Democrats know and the Stupid Party never learns.

glyn harries
glyn harries
14 days ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

And yet no one has any evidence of any electoral fraud in any few precincts in any few states.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
14 days ago

No, we don’t know it. Boy, you MAGAs have really taken off with the one-liner about Trump in an essay that wasn’t about him. You’ve come up with some quite creative fantasies about Biden and have chosen to focus on that instead of commenting on the broader point of the essay.That one-liner was like a red flag to a bull.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
14 days ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Fantasies? These are all documented. The key question is if shown the documentation, would people still believe they are fantasies? I am old enough to remember the interviews of the young senator Biden making outrageous claims about his education and accomplishments and being caught by reporters, who said his political career is over because of them. Yet here we are.

glyn harries
glyn harries
14 days ago

So good to see you admit there were no fraudulents votes – not the MAGA position at all – but the idea that with Fox, the New York Post and all the social media platforms available that the election was stolen is nonsense.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
15 days ago

Smollette clearly has mental instability issues


Paul Rodolf
Paul Rodolf
13 days ago

If one accepts that the 2020 election wasn’t “stolen” can we agree that at the very least it was “heavily influenced” by the media and the suppression of known evidence that would have negatively affected the Biden/Harris campaigns?

Studio Largo
Studio Largo
16 days ago

The only people this charlatan convinced with his ludicrous story were far lefties, who’ve now turned their backs on him. Poetic justice.

Robert Pruger
Robert Pruger
16 days ago

May Mr. Smollett wither into the obscurity that he so justly deserves.

Keith Merrick
Keith Merrick
15 days ago
Reply to  Robert Pruger

No, no. You know how black people always wheel on Rosa Parks when they think it will help them win the argument and lefties wheel out Hitler? We’ve got to keep Jussie Smollett’s name in the public’s consciousness so that when the next race hoax comes along, as it inevitably will, we can simply say, ‘Jussie Smollett’ and watch our opponents either have to admit to the hoax, or find themselves mired ever deeper by trying to defend him. Long live the name Jussie Smollett in the public consciousness, say I!

Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips
16 days ago

Biden has made a career out of lying but is forgiven and forgotten by too many. Orange man bad!

Kent Ausburn
Kent Ausburn
15 days ago
Reply to  Mark Phillips

Agree. There is no bigger full-of-shite fabulist than Joe Biden.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
15 days ago
Reply to  Kent Ausburn

Coming from Trump worshippers this is very funny indeed!

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
15 days ago

C’mon, man!

John Riordan
John Riordan
15 days ago

It is possible to prefer Trump on the basis that he’s the lesser of two evils, you know.

But then again if you were capable of nuanced thought, you wouldn’t be a socialist in the first place.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
14 days ago

Plonk Socialist has a masochistic streak. It’s why he posts here so regularly.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
14 days ago
Reply to  Mark Phillips

The news media and every other Biden ally make sure his lies go straight down the Memory Hole.

Howard S.
Howard S.
16 days ago

Joe Biden has publicly stated that: he served 180 years in the U.S. Senate, Kamala Harris is the President of the United States. He used to drive tractor trailers. His son died in combat in Vietnam (his son never served) . He rode millions of miles on Amtrak between D.C. and his home in Delaware (a 90 mile trip). He rode numerous times on the train across the recently destroyed Francis Scott Key bridge in Baltimore (there is not and never was a rail line across that bridge). Of course in Joe’s case his wild tales have nothing to do with fabulism, and a lot to do with senility and advancing dementia.

Pat Rowles
Pat Rowles
16 days ago
Reply to  Howard S.

He rode millions of miles on Amtrak between D.C. and his home in Delaware

…and has claimed, repeatedly, that he discussed this with an Amtrak guard who’d been dead for at least a year.

Mark Kennedy
Mark Kennedy
16 days ago
Reply to  Pat Rowles

Marlon Brando, to police chief, in Bedtime Story: “Look, she caught me with another woman. You’re French, you understand these things.”
Police chief: “To be with another woman, this is French. To be with another woman and be caught, this is American.”

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
16 days ago
Reply to  Howard S.

You’ve forgotten his active role in the Civil Rights movement in the 60s. I’m sure if asked that he would confirm that he also taught Jimi Hendrix how to play guitar.

Kent Ausburn
Kent Ausburn
15 days ago

Biden also said he was arrested with Nelson Mandela during the civil rights struggles there.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
16 days ago
Reply to  Howard S.

Well, let’s see: the Senate is in session on average 164 days a year, a round trip is 180 miles–that’s 29520 miles. For 180 years, that works out to 5,313,600 miles altogether. Math checks out.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
15 days ago
Reply to  Howard S.

Joe’s problem is ‘dementia onset’

Mrs. H Kenway
Mrs. H Kenway
14 days ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Yes, but he’s always been an outright liar and a plagiarist. Those lies cost him his Presidential bid in the 80s, when we had a media that actually did their jobs instead of carrying water for the left.

Mrs. H Kenway
Mrs. H Kenway
14 days ago
Reply to  Howard S.

Don’t forget that he graduated law school at the top of his class (he graduated near the bottom–75th out of 86, iirc); that he was the Outstanding Political Science Student for that year (he wasn’t); and that he had a full scholarship (he didn’t). Or that he grew up in a Puerto Rican neighborhood but went to a black church (lol). Or that his uncle was eaten by cannibals in WWII. Or that his house almost burned down. Or that his first wife and baby daughter were killed by a drunk driver (the other driver was sober, and Mrs. Biden was at fault in the accident). Or that he just happened to see two men kissing on the street in the 50s, and his father told him, “It’s simple, they love each other.” Or that Robert Hur brought up his son Beau in an interview apropos of nothing and that was gross and awful (when in fact it was Biden who mentioned Beau to begin with).
Oh, and recently, that inflation was 9% when he took office (it was 1.4%).
And that’s all just off the top of my head.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
14 days ago
Reply to  Howard S.

To be fair, Joe’s son was slipped into a safe green zone for a short time to do some legal work so his military record would show Vietnam service. Then slipped out again after never hearing a shot fired in anger.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
16 days ago

Shane Gillis forgiven and reinstated on SNL? You call that redemption? It’s PENANCE.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
14 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

It’s where comics go to be unfunny.

Robert Paul
Robert Paul
16 days ago

This reminds me of the Duke lacrosse team and Tawana Brawley scandals, in which Black women falsely accused white men of sexual assault. And historically, white women in the Jim Crow South false accusing Black men of the same.

Keith Merrick
Keith Merrick
15 days ago
Reply to  Robert Paul

Yes, I’ve watched To Kill a Mockingbird, too.

Christopher
Christopher
15 days ago
Reply to  Keith Merrick

Now banned in CA.

peter lucey
peter lucey
15 days ago
Reply to  Robert Paul

“Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case” is an excellent account of this shocking case. I ended it loathing the corrupt DA, loathing the lefty media and university faculty and deeply sympathetic to the poor falsely-accused students. I even felt some sympathy for the complainant – Crystal Mangam. Not the sharpest pencil in the box, she was led on to the accusations and the furore did her no favours

A D Kent
A D Kent
16 days ago

So he’s the US version of Gideon Falter then.

A D Kent
A D Kent
16 days ago
Reply to  A D Kent

 Here is Falter trying to drive a van through a pro-Palestine march that just happened to be in his way last year. He’s clearly trying to goad the police into removing the demonstrators for obstructing the highway – note the clearly unimpeded vehicles driving past in the background.

https://twitter.com/StevePowers_/status/1782035742803292516?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1782169900011712846%7Ctwgr%5E75ff2e793d0cc129213fd1dc70868aee4557c2b1%7Ctwcon%5Es3_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fskwawkbox.org%2F2024%2F04%2F22%2Fevidence-eyewitnesses-challenge-falters-claims-he-was-stopped-for-just-crossing-road%2F

And here he is this year doing the same whilst walking into another pro-Palestine demo.

https://news.sky.com/story/sky-news-footage-reveals-new-details-of-exchange-between-police-and-antisemitism-campaigner-called-openly-jewish-13120104?trk=public_post_comment-text

Dr E C
Dr E C
15 days ago
Reply to  A D Kent

You have a real problem with Jews don’t you

AC Harper
AC Harper
16 days ago

Perhaps how he ‘feels’ is more convincing than any inconvenient facts? If only everybody else agreed.

Toby Aldrich
Toby Aldrich
16 days ago

Smollett raises a smile in me every time his name comes up – which isn’t often, admittedly – for the most fabulous, textbook evasion when he was interviewed just as his story was unravelling.

“I will never be the person that this did not happen to”.

Case closed!

Arlene Wilcox
Arlene Wilcox
16 days ago

No one in the Black community, the on the ground Black community, ever believed him.

https://youtu.be/wZXoErL2124?si=ryKZaDLhCBUX8Hyz

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
16 days ago

She ends by referring to an “empty” house. Smollett’s problem is not something, but nothing. If only he had something, he would not have to play make believe. This is, in a nut shell, the problem of Modernity.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
14 days ago

I don’t know why Kat didn’t mention George Santos.

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
16 days ago

Obligatory TDS.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
14 days ago

What is TDS?

Pyra Intihar
Pyra Intihar
14 days ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Trump Derangement Syndrome… it’s one ancillary symptom of the woke mind virus.

F J
F J
14 days ago
Reply to  Pyra Intihar

Related to Obama Derangement Syndrome, which did not reach critical mass

Colorado UnHerd
Colorado UnHerd
16 days ago

Certainly a strong contender for “America’s Most Embarrassing Man,” though with so much competition, it’s hard to choose.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
16 days ago

And, believe me, the chase for this august title is fierce in the States, starting with the Potato in Chief who purports to govern the place. The sad part is that Smollett is hardly unique in pushing race hoaxes; there is a litany of them. He’s just the one who the media accepted at face value despite the glaring holes in his claim.
By the way, the stolen election “narrative” looks less like that with stories about how Fulton County mishandled the recount and cannot account for nearly 400 thousand ballot images.

John Murray
John Murray
15 days ago

Dave Chapelle has made me unable to think of him as anything other than the French artiste Juice-say S-mole-lay.

Stephen Kristan
Stephen Kristan
15 days ago

“…Donald Trump … utterly full of shit.”
Oh, really, Kat? To rebut, here’s a partial rundown of some of what went down during his administration:
–The US began no new wars, declared or undeclared.
–He led four Islamic nations — Bahrain, the UAE, Morocco, and Sudan — to normalize relations (“The Abraham Accords”) with Israel. [ https://www.state.gov/the-abraham-accords/ ]
–Killed Iranian general and commander of Iran’s Quds Force Qassem Soleimani and the deputy head of the Iran-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
–Killed leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a man who presided over atrocities against defenseless civilians including beheadings, crucifixions, live burial, and live incinerations.
Pursued the campaign against ISIS to the point of eliminating the caliphate.
–Led 10 NATO member nations to pledge to increase their defense spending to share the expense burden more fairly. [https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/14/politics/nato-defense-spending-target/index.html ]
–Blacklisted 28 Chinese companies whose surveillance technology products were used to systematically oppress and control — and violate the religious freedom of — Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, China. (https://www.frcaction.org/accomplishments)
–Tried to open denuclearization negotiations with North Korea and negotiated the release of 3 Americans from NK.
–Supplied lethal aid to Ukraine to resist Putin’s troops, unlike Obama, who sent only nonlethal aid:
–Imposed tough sanctions on Russia:
 â€œIndeed, some of the toughest sanctions in years have fallen on Russia’s elite under the Trump administration. Sanctions imposed over Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014 have not been lifted, Trump approved the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine — something Barack Obama did not do — and he has ordered missiles fired at Syrian military sites, openly targeting strategic operations and allies of Russia.” (https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/16/heres-where-trump-has-been-tough-on-russia–and-where-hes-backed-do.html).
–Supplied Patriot missiles to Poland to counter Russia’s military buildup near Poland’s borders. Trump in Poland: U.S. to Sell Warsaw Arms to Stop ‘Hot War’ With Russia
–His support of U.S. gas and oil production both made the U.S. more-nearly energy independent and a net exporter of oil. This secondarily dealt a devastating blow to Russia’s and Iran’s oil markets, tanking their economies in the process. Opinion: Russia is the world’s biggest loser from oil’s crash, and that’s reason to worry – MarketWatch and The effects of oil price shocks on the Iranian economy – ScienceDirect.
— His sanctions on Iran significantly reduced its capacity to fund terrorists and carry out terror attacks and weakened the Iranian economy. [https://www.state.gov/the-importance-of-sanctions-on-iran/ ]
–Took a more-flexible and humanitarian approach to dealing with hostage takers than previous administrations.
As a result, he freed over 30 American hostages from their captors. Peter Bergen, CNN analyst, journalist who’s written extensively about terrorism, and interviewer of Osama Bin Laden, called Trump’s hostage efforts “an area of significant foreign-policy success.” Robert O’Brien, Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, said “The President has had unparalleled success in bringing Americans home without paying concessions, without prisoner exchanges, but through force of will and the good will that he’s generated around the world.” How Trump Has Reversed Decades of American Hostage Policy | The New Yorker
–The economy grew under Trump until it was upended by the pandemic, after which results became more mixed. Nevertheless, FactCheck.Org reports, in part, that for the Trump administration:
·      Corporate profits set records — until this year [2020].
·      Stock prices and home prices set records.
·      Paychecks grew faster than prices.
·      Poverty decreased.
[ https://www.factcheck.org/2020/10/trumps-numbers-preelection-update/ ]
–The pre-pandemic economy under Trump was largely beneficial for African-Americans. From US News (6/8/2020):
Black unemployment reached a record low during the Trump administration, 5.4% in August, as the longest economic expansion in history pressed ahead. [https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2020-06-07/ap-fact-check-trump-exaggerations-on-blacks-economic-gains]
–Replaced the NAFTA agreement with the USMCA agreement. Biden admitted that USMCA is better than NAFTA.
–Restricted airflight from China at the end of January 2020 to reduce coronavirus spread. About which, Joe Biden tweeted:
Joe Biden tweeted (February, 2020):
We are in the midst of a crisis with the coronavirus. We need to lead the way with science — not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering. He is the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health emergency.
And from Nancy Pelosi (February, 2020):
It is “un-American” and “discrimination disguised as policy.”
“With this latest callous decision, the President has doubled down on his cruelty…” â€œThe Trump administration’s expansion of its outrageous, un-American travel ban threatens our security, our values and the rule of law.” [Top Democrats fume after Trump expands travel ban to six new countries]
–Trump initiated Operation Warp Speed, which facilitated development of several Covid19 vaccines within a year’s time, the fastest time in history.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process, often lasting 10-15 years https://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/vaccine-development-testing-and-regulation
–Correctly predicted that a vaccine would be available before 2021.  [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XK-YVWbU0IQ, 1 minute, 8 seconds into video clip].
–Strengthened border security and exerted greater control over immigration. Column: Like them or not, Trump policies are reducing immigration – The San Diego Union-Tribune and Border apprehensions, ICE arrests and deportations under Trump | Pew Research Center
–Added to and reinforced physical barriers at the southern border. What Will Become of Donald Trump’s Border Wall – Bloomberg
 — Negotiated the Migrant Protection Protocols (“Remain in Mexico”), which returned asylum seekers in the United States to Mexico while they awaited court dates on their requests to enter the US. This greatly reduced overcrowding at border detention facilities, and related problems, in the US.
–Created the U.S. Space Force, countering Russia’s Aerospace Forces and China’s PLA Strategic Support Force. Does the United States Need a Space Force? | The Heritage Foundation
–Signed the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017, which established tax-advantaged opportunity zones to incentivize investment in low-income areas.
— Restored – via the DeVos rule (named after his Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos) – due process rights to persons accused of sexual harassment in the context of Title IX (the 1972 federal law guaranteeing Americans educational opportunity free of sex discrimination). Restored to the accused were the right to face their accusers, the right to see evidence, the right to question witnesses, and the right to the presumption of innocence. All of these fundamental rights were explicitly forbidden by the Obama administration.” 
–Signed the First Step Act into law, which among other things, “shortens mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses,” which has disproportionately affected people of color and low-income communities.”[https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/how-first-step-act-became-law-and-what-happens-next]
–Supported school choice, which even democratic minority voters overwhelmingly favor. https://www.federationforchildren.org/national-school-choice-poll-shows-67-of-voters-support-school-choice-2019/
–Signed a bipartisan bill that “permanently provide[s] more than $250 million a year to the nation’s historically black colleges and universities, along with dozens of other institutions that serve large shares of minority students.” https://apnews.com/article/c4834e48841d97c5a93312b1bf75302a
–“Passed and implemented historic reforms to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), including greater accountability for VA employees and increased health care choice for veterans, which enjoys support from 90% of veterans. Additionally, the president signed bills that fixed long-standing issues with the GI Bill in a fiscally responsible manner and addressed the VA disability claims backlog.” https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/todaysdebate/2020/05/05/trump-achieves-major-victories-veterans-opposing-view/5173324002/
–In 2019, the nation’s CO2 emissions “…were the lowest they have been since 1992. Per capita emissions were lower in 2019 than they’ve been at any time since at least 1950.” “Two years in a row the largest reductions in global emissions came from the US.” “The US reductions were the largest in the world in absolute terms…”.
https://www.climatechangenews.com/2020/10/06/us-emissions-four-years-president-trump/
–“Signed the country’s largest wilderness preservation legislation in a decade, providing widespread protections for Joshua Tree and Death Valley national parks.” Trump Signs Biggest Wilderness Protection Bill in Decade, Designates 375,000 New Acres of Protected Land
–Signed the Save Our Seas Act 2.0, which reauthorized $10 million in annual funding to NOAA to help reduce plastic waste in the oceans.
Statement: Save Our Seas Act 2.0 Dives Deeper into U.S. and Global Interventions to Fight Ocean Plastic Pollution – Ocean Conservancy
–Signed a bill making cruelty to animals a federal offense. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/animal-cruelty-felony-president-trump-signs-animal-cruelty-pact-act-bill-making-it-a-federal-felony-2019-11-25/
–Signed the Music Modernization Act into law to “help songwriters earn fairer compensation for performances of their work…”. The Music Modernization Act
–Signed three bills to benefit Native people. One gives compensation to the Spokane tribe for loss of their lands in the mid-1900s, one funds Native language programs, and the third gives federal recognition to the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Montana.
–Signed the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) bills, which give law enforcement and victims new tools to fight sex trafficking.
–With his Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team (ACTeam) initiative, Federal law enforcement more than doubled convictions of human traffickers and increased the number of defendants charged by 75% in ACTeam districts.
–In 2018, the Department of Justice (DOJ) dismantled an organization that was the internet’s leading source of prostitution-related advertisements resulting in sex trafficking.
–Signed an executive order that forced all healthcare providers to disclose the cost of their services so that Americans can comparison shop and know how much less providers charge insurance companies.
— Signed the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act, which provides funding for states to develop maternal mortality reviews to better understand maternal complications and identify solutions, and largely focuses on reducing the higher mortality rates for Black Americans.
–Committed the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to invest $891 million to modernize rural drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in 43 states.
With your “utterly full of shit,” Kat, you put the “a**l” in analysis. With writing like yours, this website’s on its way to becoming Unread.
You’re welcome!

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
15 days ago

There should always be a road to redemption for those who earn it.

John Riordan
John Riordan
15 days ago

I had absolutely no idea this clown was still trying to make this work. Surely he’s at this stage obviously delusional and needs to be in a mental hospital or something? And surely he went to prison for the attempted hoax?

geoffrey cox
geoffrey cox
15 days ago

Stopped reading at the point where this nonentity’s lies are compared to Trump’s ‘stolen election’ (in inverted commas) narrative, which is, apparently, ‘full of shit’. Where does UnHerd find these vagrants?

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
15 days ago

” …the fact they were fooled was surely proof of rampant racism in its own right.”
My God, how have we allowed such dunderheads to get control of everything?

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
14 days ago
Reply to  Daniel Lee

Their truth. Their lived experience.

Tom D.
Tom D.
15 days ago

Right on. Also reminds me of Amber Heard, although her downfall has a lot to do with how bad of an actress she demonstrated herself to be on the witness stand.

Jane Awdry
Jane Awdry
15 days ago

I’m reminded of Hugh Grant whose handling of the Divine Brown affair was carried off with disarming aplomb. By not hiding & admitting openly from the start that he’d done a ‘bad thing’, he was able to enjoy a skyrocketing post-scandal career & he never looked back.
(Although he lost Elizabeth Hurley which some might say was a very high price to pay
)

William Miller
William Miller
14 days ago

I think you wrote this so you could get your digs in on Trump.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
14 days ago

Nice, using Jussie as a club to beat Trump. Think anybody is buying this left-wing garbage?

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
14 days ago

In Europe we simply observe that is was a mistake to give up the colonies. America’s issue is involvement in the Transatlantic slave trade which their first civil war never fully resolved.

James Jenkin
James Jenkin
14 days ago

Kat Rodenfield is the best writer on Unherd

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
14 days ago

Smolett was a real life victim of racist hate.

COVID did not originate in a Wuhan lab. Numerous pre-eminent physicians told us publicly in the Lancet.

Hunter Biden’s.laptop, along with all the revelations of influence peddling contained in it, was a concoction of Russian intelligence. 50+ top American security experts told us in a publicly signed and published letter.

Donald Trump colluded with Putin to swing the 2016 election in his favour. We know this is true from the Steele dossier, bought and paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign, and the resulting impeachment. Everything in that dossier is true, including the p*e.

These are all truths that we must believe, because the media, the power elites, and and their experts all tell us they are true.

They do not lie because they are the good people defending democracy against the people.

Peter Shaw
Peter Shaw
14 days ago

Was the US election stolen? I dont know, simply because I have long ceased to rely on the media. I am 100% sure that if any major news outlet had evidence it was stolen, it would not see the light of day.

Richard Seymour
Richard Seymour
12 days ago

Nobody likes people playing the victim

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
15 days ago

Jussie Smollett? Who has thought about him in years?
America’s most embarrassing man is obviously the fat clown currently on trial in New York City. Its not even close, darlings!

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
15 days ago

The walls are closing in!

John Riordan
John Riordan
15 days ago

Trolling does require at least a vague plausibility to whatever you say. Otherwise it just comes across as childish crap. You really aren’t very good at this, are you?

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
15 days ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Have some compassion! The compulsion to spend so much time insulting people online from behind a shield of anonymity betokens not just one but a whole slew of personality disorders. I suspect this guy is in a pretty fragile state with a failed personal life and few if any friends. Cut him some slack.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
14 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Definitely living in his/hers mum’s basement.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
15 days ago
Reply to  John Riordan

It appears that John doesn’t know what the word ‘plausibility’ means!