Noam Chomsky on Donald Trump

Noam Chomsky has been consistently critical of Donald Trump from the beginning of his campaign to whenever you may be reading this. Let’s start with one of his most recent appearances (a zoom session with Shippensburg University professor Lawrence Eppard), Noam talked about the Coronavirus and Trump’s response in particular to how he handled the crises. First taking time to praise New Zealand who, as Chomsky described, “went into lockdown for a month and seemed to have virtually eliminated (the disease)” to Europe, who Chomsky describes as having “waited too much” to take action. However the brunt of his criticism is, as one might expect, reserved for the United States. Starting at 3:49 for those who want to see him say it:

“at the bottom of the barrel is the United States it is so dysfunctional that it is the only major country that cannot even provide data on the number of cases. Maybe they were right about the number of deaths, we don’t know. If you look at the lists published internationally about countries the U.S. is listed with an asterisk, saying they are estimated because we can’t even give them data. The Trump administration’s reaction was beyond scandalous.”

Noam gets even more aggressive (and specific) with the perceived ineptitude of Trump’s handling of the crises:

“US intelligence right away, just as others did who were paying attention,  they were bombarding the White House through January and February with trying to get somebody to listen. Trump was either playing golf or looking at his TV ratings…some of what happened is just beyond description.”

And he’s still not done as he gets even more specific:

“On February 10th when the pandemic was already raging Trump submitted his budget proposals for the next year. And they’re really worth reading. I mean it’s I just can’t find words to describe it. I will say what it is forever throughout his entire term Trump had been defunding all of the health related components of the government in fact in October he killed completely a US  aid project which was identifying viruses in many countries, including China, that was killed but others were simply defunded.”

Finally we get some claims we can fact check, though they’ll require some reading and interpretation. First the date and general theme of the budget proposal was correct, the proposals released on 2/10/2020 detailed significant cuts to the social safety net but were noticeably thin on new healthcare proposals to amend the existing healthcare system. We’re still working (ScholarFactCheck) on determining whether the budget really did kill a U.S. aid project that would have reasonably detected the virus. We’ll update when we have a determination from a policy specialist.

Moving to his highly cited Democracy Now appearance (published on 4/10/2020), Chomsky directly stated what it would mean if Trump were to be re-elected:

“If Trump is re-elected, it’s an indescribable disaster. It means the policies of the last four years, which have been extremely destructive to the population and the world, will be continued and probably accelerated. What this is going to mean for health is bad enough…what this means for the environment or the threat of nuclear war, which no one is talking about but is extremely serious, is indescribable.”

Meanwhile on the Origins Podcast with Lawrence Krauss the two got into the issue right away with Chomsky stating emphatically that “Trump knows what he’s doing when he builds up fear of the rapists and murderers and Islamic terrorists.” As an example, he gives an example by way of a story where Steve Bannon (who was at the time White House Chief Strategist) traveled to Tucson Arizona to give a speech about building the wall.

The private speech and subsequent Q&A by Bannon, who Chomsky called Trump’s ‘Rasputin type figure’, was very revealing as to the effectiveness of the fear inducing campaign by Trump. Wealthy Tucson republicans stated during and afterwards that they were legitimately fearful of their lives concerning immigrants from Mexico.

Here, Chomsky seems to be taking more of the Scott Adams interpretation of the Trump presidency compared to say, Ben Shapiro. The difference between the two is the question of whether the oddities of the Trump presidency are well calculated, strokes of genius to manipulate and seduce the American public (as Scott Adams contends). Or, as Ben Shapiro would have you believe, Trump is merely inept and was miraculously able to get the campaign over the goal line mostly due to the weakness of Clinton as a candidate.

However this article is about Noam’s opinion on Trump so let’s get back to the Chomster to wrap things up. As Chomsky has contended since the beginning of the Trump presidency that will serve as the well intended sting to the ‘common man’ that has become to be associated with Trump: “However his primary constituency corporate power, the wealthy, he’s serving them with real dedication.” 

As always, we will continue to accept errors and, if we can confirm that any errors have been made or we discover we have missed relevant details, we will update this page and update our errors page that documents all additions or corrections to pages after they are published. Finally it is important to note, especially for this article, that we try to emphasize the most recent opinions rather than older opinions as more recent opinions will be closer to their actual opinions. Should we become aware of position changes by anyone on the Scholar Fact Check, we will make the change and note it on the relevant page. 

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