Meeting President Trump

The Spectator Australia - 30 May 2024

Late last year, I joined a Parliamentary delegation to the United States to speak to US lawmakers and department heads to discuss the plight of Australian citizen Julian Assange.

I was joined by Dr Monique Ryan MP, Barnaby Joyce MP, Tony Zappia MP and Senators David Shoebridge and Peter Whish Wilson. It was a brief trip organised by the Free Assange group involving meetings in Washington DC. It’s unlikely that there was a single issue we would all agree on except bringing Julian Assange home.

We were there to call for Julian to be brought home from His Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh, a maximum-security prison in the United Kingdom, where he is awaiting an appeal in relation to extradition proceedings which are being pursued by the United States Department of Justice.

The trip was a vital opportunity to speak with both sides of US politics as well as representatives from the Department of State and Department of Justice. The meetings went as well as could be expected and garnered much media interest.

The trip was a fascinating insight into the machinations of power on Capitol Hill and, as someone who has observed US politics for many years, I seized on the opportunity to make a brief stopover on the way home at the mother of all political spectacles - a Trump rally.

Given the extraordinary hatchet job done on the former President by the mainstream media, both here and abroad, one can imagine a rally like this being populated by white supremacists and yahoos drinking whiskey while firing pistols in the air but nothing could have been further from the truth. As the crowd assembled in the carpark, it was clear that it was far from unruly or dangerous. I saw neatly dressed men and women with their families, assembling to hear from a man who they believe will push back against the Washington elites I had been surrounded by a day earlier. It looked more like carols by candlelight than a Klan meeting, in stark contrast to the impression that the out-of-touch legacy media has generated.

There were no cowboys, pointy hats, or fist fights but there were, a diverse group of friendly and polite people. Plenty of “pleases” and “thank yous,” plenty of smiles and jokes. Prior to the event, I witnessed a middle-aged man watch an attractive woman walk past him out of the corner of his eye, only to have his wife laugh, pretend to put him in a headlock and laugh about it. These were ordinary, good-natured people who simply appreciate someone in politics standing up for them and taking their concerns seriously.

The crowd was comprised of white, African, Asian, and Hispanic Americans (and presumably other ethnic groups). You would have been hard-pressed to find a more representative snapshot of modern America anywhere in the country.

While there I spoke with representatives of “Moms for Liberty” - a mother’s interest group dedicated to protecting their kids from leftist indoctrination in schools. They were wonderful ladies who have had enough of an education system which is no longer protecting the family unit, something that many Australian mothers I’ve spoken with can relate to.

I also spoke to people within the President’s inner circle about Julian’s plight, and they were sympathetic. With half an hour remaining before the show, I was fortunate enough to be ushered backstage to meet the former President. The meeting was in a tin shed adjacent to the carpark in which the rally was being held. Hardly regal.

As I walked in, I saw him standing in front of a large American flag. He extended his hand and asked me how I was today, noting that I was from Australia before asking me whether I was going to do some shopping while I was in the country. I replied that the only thing I wish I had bought that day was sun block. He laughed, shook my hand, and we took a picture. He slapped me on the back and wished me a safe trip home. The President then addressed the crowd with his trademark “politico-entertainment,” which had them in stitches. His off-the-cuff speech was laced with both sober reflections on the US’s political health and his trademark humour making the event enjoyable and light-hearted.

It’s hard to imagine a scene further from those painted by social media trolls and the hateful scribes on mainstream “news” programs. For those who are perpetually triggered about the “bad orange man,” I say cry harder, and perhaps open your eyes to the truth of why the MAGA movement is successful. The reason is simple: Trump cares about the American people, and the people who see through the media narratives are grateful for him.

Despite being relentlessly hunted by the DC powerbrokers at 77 years of age, Trump was full of his characteristic positive energy at the rally, as were his supporters. No wonder he is ten points ahead of the sitting President in the polls.

We are being misled by the media about these rallies. The people I saw there were just like you and I, save the stars and stripes on their shirts. Whether the establishment likes it or not, Trump has created the most significant political movement in recent American political history, because it’s a movement of ordinary men and women.

This week we learnt that President Trump is giving consideration to pardoning Julian should he be elected in November. I hope that I played a small part in that process. It is time for Julian to be reunited with his wife and two children.

As for President Trump, there is a long way to go before the US general election in November but, from what I saw on the ground, the mums and dads of the real United States are going to give the 45th President of the United States a great chance at being the 47th in six months’ time.