Donald Trump has continued his criticism of unnamed US Democratic Congresswomen assumed by everyone (including the Congresswomen themselves) to be Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley. The war of words whilst certainly emphatic is not one sided. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley, who shall be subsequently referred to as the gang of four, are as famous for dishing it out as is Donald Trump. Long before Trump launched his attack against the gang of four, I had likened Ocasio-Cortez to a liberal version of Donald Trump in terms of her ‘in-your face’ and often crude rhetoric as well as her ability to unapologetically court online attention on a 24/7 basis. Although Ocasio-Cortez is often seen as the ringleader of the gang of four, Omar, Tlaib and Pressley have also become infamous for their outspoken rhetoric which is more often than not directed against Trump.
In this sense, a rhetorical battle between the gang of four and Donald Trump is something of an Ali vs. Frazier fight whilst the same cannot be said about what is happening in Britain in respect of Jeremy Corbyn. Whilst Trump and the gang of four are famous for anything but passivity as their use of colourful and often profane rhetoric continues to challenges the mores of the past, Britain’s opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn appears as though the biggest crisis in his life is that he has run out of cheeks to turn.
As someone who cannot relate to many of Corbyn’s policies (although to be fair I admire some of them), I was nevertheless shocked that Corbyn has been slandered as an antisemite just as I was shocked that the all-American Trump was accused of being more “Kremelin Fried Chicken” than Kentucky Fried Chicken. To be clear, there are plenty of legitimate criticisms to be levelled against people like Corbyn and Trump who in their own unique ways are both anti-establishment figures.
But whilst it is now typical to assume (however wrongly) that Trump has some secret relationship with Moscow and whilst in Britain it is now equally typical to assume (however wrongly) that Jeremy Corbyn has an inexplicable hatred for Jews, unlike Trump, Corbyn is clearly not a fighter. Corbyn may or may not prove to be a political survival but to call him a political fighter is simply absurd.
Donald Trump like his gang of four rivals is all too happy to answer even the most minor insult with a storm of vitriol that is usually voiced on Twitter. By contrast, Jeremy Corbyn has hardly put up a fight during over a year of accusations claiming that he is an antisemite. Corbyn has not called it a witch hunt the way that Trump spoke of the Russiagate scandal and he has not called for political retribution against those leading the charges against him – again quiet unlike Trump.
Ultimately, in the gang of four, Trump has found four young politicians who enjoy playing rough almost as much as he does. By contrast, Jeremy Corbyn appears more and more as a man removed from his own reality due to his total lack of enthusiasm for fighting the increasingly substantial allegations against him.
Thus, whilst some UK commentators have compared Trump’s attack on the gang of four as something similar to the attacks in British politics against Jeremy Corbyn, the truth is that whilst there are some peripheral similarities, in the US, both sides are ready and willing to fight. In the UK, Corbyn has yet to even consider fighting back.