Dr Mary Brown: Is Donald Trump as bad as he is painted?

Before all my friends cross me off their Christmas email list, I would like to make it clear that I believe Donald Trump is a narcissistic bully whose efforts at diplomacy resemble those of a bull in a china shop.
Donald Trump on a golf course. Picture: John DevlinDonald Trump on a golf course. Picture: John Devlin
Donald Trump on a golf course. Picture: John Devlin

A couple of years ago, I was asked to sign a petition asking for the removal of his honorary doctorate from Robert Gordon University – I refused because I had signed one not to award it in the first place, on the basis that services to golf ­courses did not, in my view, ­constitute academic excellence.

But – perhaps because I never like to accept everything crowds say – I wonder if Trump is quite the Beast of the Apocalypse he is portrayed as in the media.

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Sure, he’s a sexist who holds insulting views on women – but so did Kennedy and Clinton, the difference being that those two were both ­better-looking, so got away with their womanising for longer.

Sadly, men in positions of power sometimes abuse it in this way, and we need more powerful women to challenge them, but Trump is no worse than others in that respect. As a feminist I will always oppose Trump’s sexist views, but I would rather be stuck in a lift with him than an IS member.

Is Trump genuinely racist? His plan to build a wall to keep out the Mexicans will probably have the same success as Hadrian’s did here, but when we read about the ­horrors of a country apparently mainly ­controlled by drugs cartels, perhaps it’s hardly surprising many Americans think Trump’s plan is a good one.

To be sure, he should have ­given more notice of his ban on ­immigrants from certain failed states (not, as suggested, the whole Muslim world) – to spring it on ­individuals stuck at airports was clearly unfair and bad strategy.

But it has been pointed out that a significant number of Muslim ­countries ban ­visitors with Israeli passports, and it is surely understandable that many Americans are terrified by the rise of Islamofascist terrorism, regarding action of this sort as appropriate.

It is not irrational to fear what ­radical Islam has become. It was once described as a ‘fighting creed’, and it could be said our western tolerance – or appeasement – has failed to contain it. Maybe Trump’s chumminess with Putin might not be such a bad thing given that both oppose religious totalitarianism.

The other point that’s often ignored by Trump’s critics is that he was the choice of the American ­people and the intemperate rage and fury of liberals in other countries will not only alienate him but many of his fellow citizens.

When we challenge him, that challenge should be based on adult to adult conversation, and not sound like the scolding of an angry parent, which is likely to provoke him to retaliate as a rebellious teenager.

This is surely not the best way to conduct international relations.

Dr Mary Brown is a freelance ­education constulant. She lives in ­Banchory, Aberdeenshire.