Booknotes: In Trump We Trust, Resistance Is Futile, Godless (Ann Coulter)

(Note: These reviews were written a while back. For Ann Coulter’s latest views on Trump, see here.)

A. Ann Coulter. In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome! Sentinel, 2016.

Ann Coulter wrote this book during the 2016 Presidential election. In it, she essentially endorses Donald Trump for President. Trump, she argues, has succeeded as a candidate because he is speaking candidly and forcefully about a problem that troubles a lot of voters: illegal immigration. Republican candidates prior to him and during the 2016 primaries generally gave lip service to securing the border yet failed to go so far as Trump did when he asserted that illegal immigrants were bringing problems to the U.S. and proclaimed his intent to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Trump, according to Coulter, was the perfect candidate to proclaim this message because he did not back down against elitist, politically-correct pressure, so the usual methods of discrediting Republicans and forcing them to apologize did not work on him. He was also less choreographed than typical politicians.

This book has a number of assets. As she usually does in her books and columns, Coulter brings facts into the discussion to bolster her case. She places Trump’s controversial criticism of Arizona Senator John McCain in context, namely, McCain’s mockery of Arizonans who were concerned about illegal immigration. She also provides context for Trump’s alleged mockery of a reporter’s disability. She argues that Trump did no such thing, but she also documents that reporters and police shortly after 9/11 reported that there were Muslims in America who were cheering the attack, as Trump said; those who asserted otherwise did so under pressure from higher-ups.

Also interesting is Coulter’s criticism of mainstream conservatives. Coulter is critical of the conservative establishment—-the Heritage Foundation, Fox News, the American Enterprise Institute—-for being pedantic and for focusing on issues that are of little concern to voters. She also mocks the Republican gaffes of 2012, as when Todd Akin questioned whether rapes in abortion cases were legitimate rapes. Why say that?, Coulter wonders.

Coulter seems to diverge from conservative Republican orthodoxy in this book. Rather than supporting a constitutional amendment to ban abortion, even in cases of rape, incest, and life of the mother, she wants each state to set its own abortion policy. She praises candidate Trump for supporting certain tax increases on the wealthy, a position that, after becoming President, Trump abandoned. Coulter even lauds some of Trump’s more unconventional positions, such as his view that the U.S. should leave NATO after the Cold War.

A criticism I have of this book is that Coulter, at least sometimes, fails to account for the agenda of Trump’s opposition. On illegal immigration, she does so well: the left wants more immigration because that means more votes for Democrats, plus the left does not think America should be allowed to have its own distinct culture. Meanwhile, the right wants more illegal immigrants because then company owners can pay workers less. On why the mainstream media and the establishment were so quick to defend Islam after 9/11, however, Coulter does not explain the reason for their agenda.

B. Ann Coulter. Resistance Is Futile: How the Trump-Hating Left Lost Its Collective Mind. Sentinel, 2018.

Ann Coulter acknowledges that Trump is a crass, unrefined individual, but she disdains his left-wing critics more.

Some items:

—-I agree with Coulter that many of Trump’s controversial statements, which his critics blow way out of proportion, are hyperbole he uses to make a point.

—-Coulter’s discussion of Charlottesville was a mixed bag. She does well to note that Trump did condemn white supremacists and to argue that the Antifa is far from pure. When she tried to argue that the torches that pro-statue people were holding at night were not inspired by Nazism, since other movements in America did that sort of thing, she was not particularly convincing. A mass of people holding torches at night does, in my mind, imply that the event at least was coordinated. It was not just people who were concerned about the removal of American heritage, and Nazis and white supremacists then happened to show up.

—-Coulter differentiates between the move to impeach Clinton and the move to impeach Trump. This was before the whole Ukrainian controversy, so her focus was on whether or not there was Russian collusion. According to Coulter, Clinton committed actual felonies and misdemeanors. Nothing, however, could actually be proven about Trump. Trump was accused of obstruction of justice, but how could he obstruct justice, when FBI director James Comey denied that Trump was even under investigation? I doubt that Trump is pure, but, of course, the question is what can be proven. (I write this in December 2019, so I do not know what evidence will come out by the time this post appears.)

—-I actually thought more highly of Barack Obama after reading this book. The things that Trump gets criticized for—-seeking better relations with Russia, pursuing a non-interventionist stance towards Syria—-were things that Barack Obama himself did (in spots). There were aspects of Obama’s administration that I did not care for, such as his disregard for religious freedom. But he did some things that I liked.

C. Ann Coulter. Godless: The Church of Liberalism. Crown Forum, 2007.

Ann Coulter’s books are praiseworthy because of the range of topics that she covers and because she provides arguments for her positions. Among the topics that she engages in this book are crime (the Warren Court, Giuliani’s New York City, and criminals the left treats as political prisoners), Sacco and Vanzetti, the Valerie Plame scandal, Jamie Gorelick and the 9/11 Commission, teacher pay, stem cell research, and evolution. Much of her book is a screed against leftist tendencies, such as the 9/11 widows who thought their status made their stance against the Iraq War sacrosanct. Of course, there is another side to what Ann Coulter presents. If I were to look up some of the personalities Coulter discusses on wikipedia, I would get more aspects of the story. Plus, conservatives, too, pull some of the emotional 9/11 shaming that Ann Coulter criticizes in liberals: “You are against the Iraq War? Did you not feel anything after 9/11?” Still, this book is worthwhile to read. On evolution, Coulter doubts macroevolution. What she believes in its place is a good question. She does not appear to be a young-earth creationist, who believes that all animals were created six thousand years ago. Rather, she contends that various species have appeared over the course of millennia, and there is no evidence that one evolved from another. Would this be a progressivist creationist view: God continually creates new species? Another point Coulter makes is that Christianity values the vulnerable, whereas evolutionary theory has encouraged people to devalue the vulnerable in favor of the fittest. How would this jibe with her stance on illegal immigration? Would not a Christian stance be that America should embrace and help those who come to America in need of help?

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.