Henryk Broder on Trump: Don’t worry about America. I say we should worry about ourselves.

Henryk Broder is a German publicist, author, and co-operator of the blog Die Achse des Guten. Long-time readers will have seen any number of his essays in the past.

Below is an interview with Mr. Broder from German television. The discussion centers around the election of Donald Trump, and the relentless hostility towards the new president in Germany.

Many thanks to Egri Nök for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:


00:00   Joining me in the studio is Henryk M. Broder; he is columnist at
00:04   Die Welt. Nice to have you here. —Good morning! — Mr. Broder,
00:07   you are a fan of Donald Trump’s, one might indeed say. What do you get out of his politics?
00:11   I’m not sure I would call myself a “fan” of his, but I think when a president is elected,
00:15   first, you can’t just go ahead and challenge the voters’ decision, or decry it as crazy,
00:19   and you have to give him a chance. But criticism of Donald Trump
00:22   began five minutes after his election;
00:26   he hadn’t even been nominated, and my German colleagues had already issued their verdict on him.
00:30   Uh-huh. Meanwhile he has signed his first executive orders.
00:33   What do you say now, after his first days in office?
00:37   It depends on the time of day for me! One time I find it scary, another time admirable.
00:42   He follows through. At last, an honest politician. He does
00:46   what he promised. He fulfills his electoral promises.
00:49   I am curious how long he will be able to persevere.
00:53   What worries me a bit is the non-presidential pose.
00:57   There could be no greater contrast with Obama:
01:00   here, the cultivated gentleman, here, the churl, the ruffian.
01:04   But I think that is the natural reaction to Obama.
01:07   Obama has — if you will, created the Trump monster.
01:11   Aha? There even are people who observe in Donald Trump a personality — a narcissistic
01:16   personality order. How do you see that?
01:19   Well. First, these are remote diagnoses, which I find that very dubious. Secondly,
01:23   you could ascribe the same attribute to every second German politician, especially Martin Schulz.
01:29   Oh, OK. You find Martin Schulz has a narcissistic personality disorder? —Totally.
01:32   Why? —His world revolves around Martin Schulz. I have no idea why he became famous.
01:37   Besides being a marvellous networker and knowing many people. —Do you associate any
01:42   political content with Martin Schulz? —He hasn’t put any political content on the table yet.
01:46   Exactly. It is just talk. —Uh-huh, he talked a lot about himself, you are right.
01:49   And the question about what a narcissistic disorder is — it can be defined arbitrarily.
01:52   Quite possible that Trump has got one, I think so. But I believe a
01:55   narcissistic disorder could be the prerequisite for a successful political career.
02:00   You said a moment ago that Obama created him. —Yes. —How did you mean that, exactly?
02:05   Well, Obama reduced America to a regional power.
02:09   And I found the slogan under which Trump ran, Make America Great Again, really good.
02:15   I have been to America quite often, for a while
02:19   I nearly lived there, because my daughter was studying in Washington.
02:22   And I always found it fascinating how little my friends and colleagues
02:26   knew about America. They were all Washington intellectuals, journalists,
02:30   networkers, members of charities and foundations —
02:34   they met every other day and told each other what they already knew.
02:38   While I was driving through the provinces, the states, hung out with ordinary people,
02:43   and my leftist, educated, intellectual, enlightened, liberal friends
02:47   were amazed at what I told them about America.
02:51   They had no clue about what was going on outside of Washington. —And?
02:54   What was going on? —What was going on? People thought differently than the elites in Washington.
02:59   They were fed up with this elegant circus, fed up that they were not kept in mind.
03:04   And that is also why Trump was elected? —I suspect so. But that is not a new insight.
03:08   Is that why he gets by ruling virtually without the Congress,
03:11   and still, his approval ratings are quite good in the USA?
03:14   Well, sometimes they rise, sometimes they fall, my trust — But now they are rising again.
03:17   And the day before that, they were falling. My trust in pollsters since Brexit
03:21   has been shaken. I don’t give any credence to them. No, but he doesn’t rule without the Congress.
03:25   And I think what we see — He tries to, at least. —Well, he tries and
03:30   is being blocked by judges. What we are seeing is
03:33   quite an exciting and fascinating spectacle of American democracy.
03:37   We are seeing how checks and balances work out.
03:40   When a judge says, even the president is not above the constitution,
03:44   and he overrules him, I find it very impressive.
03:47   But isn’t this indeed dangerous, as many here fear, too?
03:51   Especially with regards to international politics?
03:55   Alas, you know, what people here worry about, I’ve come to see as completely irrelevant.
03:59   Those you refer to — our politicians — have gotten things in a complete mess.
04:04   The Federal Republic is on its way to being a failed state.
04:07   The state cannot guarantee internal security, it cannot protect the borders;
04:11   it cannot even keep a ridiculous football match free of violence.
04:15   So what the fears are here regarding America,
04:19   first they are projections, and secondly, pretensions. It is not our job
04:23   to worry about America. I say, we should worry about ourselves.
04:29   Says Henryk M. Broder. A beautiful closing word. Thank you. —I thank you.

8 thoughts on “Henryk Broder on Trump: Don’t worry about America. I say we should worry about ourselves.

  1. …”the cultivated gentleman”…no, sorry…a slick conman who used his race to get ahead…

  2. What shocks me is how few blacks in America over the last 8 years have spoken up calling out Obama for his repeated betrayals, lies, and diminution of the country he was elected to lead, not subvert, apologize for, castigate, and recklessly contravene the Constitution time after time. Really, so few blacks. It’s like a majority were willing to see the country burn, not in reaction to racism, but to their own tangible failure, individual and the black community. Black families and communities have been utterly destroyed, black Democrat cities have been destroyed, and the only answer is to blame whitey. It won’t work. Not any more. BLM racebaiting and crybully BS is going to meet a thin white line of resistance unlike anything seen in generations, sooner or later. Variations on this are happening all across the Western world.

  3. Well, that’s nice that he is daring to say a few good words about Trump like he seems to be keeping his election promises. But at the same time, one notices he is bashing him just the same. He labels him a monster, a coarse ruffian and a narcissist. So, that’s cute but it is just attention getting, being a little different from his German journalist colleagues but not altogether different as he does have to continue living with them. I think his interview was just a lot of blah, blah. What I would be more interested in knowing is how he as a Jew feels living in Germany now and if many of his friends and colleagues in the German-Jewish community are scared and/or planning to leave for good. I want to know the nitty-gritty. What a terrible shame that the Jewish community has been able to slowly and hesitantly build itself up again in Germany and Austria after WWII and now again will need to move or start to become victims of harassment and persecution. How dare Germany and Austria bring in all these muslims (I will not capitalize that word)- the biggest enemy of the Jews to appease themselves for being racists in WWII? What an incredibly bad, mean joke to pull!

    • I have no information on the German Jewish community, but if they are like the US Jewish community, they have put heavy political pressure on the side of bringing in more immigrants, including Muslims. So, while it is tragic that Germany, like France and Sweden, is becoming unhospitable for Jews, the position of the main US Jewish organizations is that immigration, Muslim and otherwise, to the US should be unimpeded.

        • Henryk M Broder though is not a member, and not even too fond of that organization, if I recall correctly.

          • Absolutely right. He is also no friend of Merkel and her policies. A few years ago, he did a powerful column on a Japanese enclave in, I think, Duesseldorf, comparing the civilized, although self-contained community and its relation to its neighbors with the barbarians entering from North Africa. Point being, there are immigrants who know how to honor their own culture and their neighbors’ as well.

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