Greek Americans are not Blindly Supporting Trump
The chairman of a group called “Greek Voices for Trump” recently wrote a column here suggesting that only one candidate for president in the Unite State has earned the support of Greek-Americans and that is Donald Trump.
In times like these, it’s good to remember that most immigrant communities don’t speak with a single voice, they may share a common heritage and homeland but represent disparate interests and viewpoints. And in the case of evaluating Donald Trump, it is just as easy to argue that he has been hostile to Greeks’ interests and represents a clear and present danger to democracy in the region.
People have a right to their opinion. They do not have a right to their own invented reality. Donald Trump’s first national security advisor, Michael Flynn, is facing criminal charges for lying about conversations he had with top Russia officials before taking office. He is also known to done lobbying work for the Turkish government during the 2016 election and failed to register as a foreign agent, as he was required to do. These are conflicts of interest that essentially threatened America’s national security, as he had divided loyalties that left him exposed to intimidation or blackmail by the Putin and Erdogan regimes.
That is a stone cold fact, one that Greek-Americans cannot ignore. Nor can we fail to face the reality that President Trump has a clear affinity for the Erdogan regime and has sought to act as a chaos agent in Europe, constantly seeking to undermine the NATO security alliance while disrupting relationships with America’s European allies, all while expressing a desire to improve relations with Russia.
Armenian groups are outraged by Trump’s silence in the face of Edrogan moving to reignite conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. There has been not a word from the American President about Erdogan deploying F-16s in the region in support of the Azerbaijani forces.
“Joe Biden represents a much-needed return to basic competency and reliability in American foreign policy. We need to re-establish America’s role as a steady and trustworthy ally, a government that stands up for democracy and speaks out against authoritarian regimes seeking to exploit divisions.”
This should have a profound resonance for Greek-Americans, who have seen similar silence and weakness from the Trump White House in regard to the Erdogan regime’s provocative actions in the Aegean. The Turkish government is out of control having violated a United Nations arms embargo in Libya, deploying its troops and Syrian militias to the region and, most recently, engaging in escalating actions in the Eastern Mediterranean that undermine U.S. security interests and directly threaten Greece and our NATO allies.
These are the actions of a rogue regime and the Trump administration’s silence is a sign that they are content to enable chaos rather than stand up for America’s traditional allies. One particular step would be to seek support for imposing sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). Imposing CAATSA sanctions is essential to supporting our relationships with Greece, Cyprus and Israel. It is necessary to stop the provocative and reckless actions of President Erdogan, who clearly feels emboldened by the tepid American response to date.
Finally, in terms of the claim that Trump “puts Freedom and God first” there are southern border detention facilities where families have been separated and children are being held in squalid conditions that give lie to that comment. And it’s hard to take seriously attempts to paint a man who was having an affair with a porn star shortly after his third wife gave birth to their first child as some sort of morally virtuous defender of the faith. There is no faith in Trump administration beyond loyalty to Trump. Pretending otherwise is an affront to Greek-Americans and other God-fearing people who live lives of faith and decency.
Joe Biden represents a much-needed return to basic competency and reliability in American foreign policy. We need to re-establish America’s role as a steady and trustworthy ally, a government that stands up for democracy and speaks out against authoritarian regimes seeking to exploit divisions.
On the domestic front, Biden promises a similar restoration of calm and the ability to actually do the job—whether it be effectively confronting the COVID-19 pandemic (instead of walking away from developing a national strategy to confront it) or getting a deeply damaged economy back on track. The Trump administration has clearly demonstrated its priorities in the last month, seeking to push through a controversial Supreme Court appointment and holding a super spreader event in the Rose Garden to promote the Amy Coney Barrett nomination that infected dozens of White House officials and staffers, while refusing to take action to put through a desperately needed second round of stimulus funding in the face of rising COVID-related job losses and business collapses.
Greek-Americans understand the difference between bluster and results. They understand that nearly 230,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the United States to date—with a death rate unparalleled elsewhere in the developed world—is a national failure. And they understand that Joe Biden helped the Obama administration restore the economic wreckage of the 2008 financial meltdown, giving the Trump administration a strongly growing economy that they managed to destroy.
It’s time for a change, to say “no” to the chaos, corruption and sheer incompetence of the Trump administration and I hope Greek-American voters will lead the way in making that happen.
Leonidas Raptakis is a Democratic State Senator from Rhode Island