Trump’s War on the Deep State

Donald Trump ended a recent statement with the words, “I will destroy the deep state and restore a government controlled by the people and for the people.” This ten-point statement is a declaration of war on the deep state. This state, whose existence cannot be denied, is behind the assassination of John Kennedy, and most likely behind the impeachment of Richard Nixon, not to mention the one planned for Donald Trump. To say such things is almost suicidal. What would happen if he disappeared from the political scene?

Listening to the former president’s words, two of John Kennedy’s speeches come to mind: his graduation speech at American University on June 10, 1963, and his address to the Media and Publishers Association on April 27, 1961.

In the first, eight months after the Cuban crisis, Kennedy advocated peace—by which he meant a lull in US-Soviet relations. On that day, he signed his own death warrant, even if there were other factors to consider in his assassination.

In the second speech, he bluntly described his loneliness in the face of what he calls “a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on secret practices to increase its sphere of influence.” Faced with this deep state that had to be destroyed, he asked for the media’s assistance: “I ask for your help in the face of this immense task in order to inform and alert the American people.” With the benefit of hindsight, we are tempted to think that this was an innocent, even naive step on his part.

Trump’s words are reminiscent of Kennedy’s. Like Kennedy, he seems to have taken a great risk. Underneath the apparent calm, tensions are extremely high in the United States. Some analysts do not hesitate to evoke the possibility of a new civil war. But what then? Fortunately, the worst is never certain.

Jean-Luc Basle is a former Vice President of the Citigroup New York (retired).