Brexit leader teaches us all we need to know about Donald Trump
© Getty Images

It is unlikely, that Donald TrumpDonald TrumpCIA chief threatened to resign over push to install Trump loyalist as deputy: report Azar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments Justice Dept. argues Trump should get immunity from rape accuser's lawsuit MORE’s recent Jackson, Mississippi campaign stop will earn mention in even some obscure academic paper, let alone in the annals of American political history.

But from a media perspective, it was one of the strangest moves of this unique campaign. It did not grab the headlines, like picking a religious fight with the Pope, or the news-hogging rhetoric of building a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border or banning all Muslims from America. But it was one of the most head-scratching media news events of the summer.

It was not just that Trump tried to appeal to the black electorate in front of a largely white crowd, strange enough. It was his star attraction: Nigel Farage, the disgraced former head of U.K. Independence Party, the fringe British political party, hat has a faint whiff of racism about it.

Farage’s big claim to fame: he was one of the key proponents of Brexit, the British vote to leave the European Union.

If you strain you could see that this anti-establishment political figure helped lead a country to a political earthquake which upended politics as his countrymen and women knew it. Seems like a good synonym for what Trump stands.

But don’t strain too much. It’s not worth it.

First Farage is not really anti-establishment. Instead he tried seven times to get elected to the British Parliament and failed every time, so instead got elected to a much derided political body, the European Union Parliament. Happily ensconced with a comfortable lifestyle and nice salary, he then devoted his career to getting the U.K. to leave the very body that was paying him and giving him a political pedestal. In the height of hypocrisy, after the Brexit vote he returned to collect his European Union paycheck.

According to Farage, it was Trump’s spur of the moment idea over dinner to have him speak at the rally, and then elevate him to be the key speaker.

I hope it is not casting aspersions on Mississippi voters to ask for them – what does this person with a strange accent have to do with us? I wonder how many of those in the Jackson audience even knew what Brexit was, let alone cared.

Moreover, apparently Trump’s team were blissfully unaware the Farage has become a derided political figures in the U.K.

Right after the election he was asked in a live television interview about the campaign promises made by the Brexit promoters. Farage admitted it was likely none of them would come to pass, and went on to blame others for making the promises that swayed the election. And like other Brexit promoters, as soon as the vote was done, he just walked away. In Farage’s case he declared victory and stepped down from the Independence Party, as if to say, “My work is done, you lot can clean up the mess now!”

Farage stands for political deception, broken promises, lying, shirking responsibility, and ultimately the purest kind of political selfishness. And Trump said he hoped Americans learned and followed the example of Brexit.

Not that Trump is much of a Brexit expert. Remember he visited one of his golf courses in Scotland right after Brexit and said the Scots did well to vote out of Europe. Only Scotland had voted to stay in and then suggested it might declare independence from the U.K. to make sure they remained part of Europe.

But without knowing the details, Trump might want to rethink American’s learning the lessons of Brexit too well. Most Britons immediately regretted the vote to leave, and the British economy that was still recovering from the ’08 bust has suffered immediate negative impact.

A warning, perhaps, that vague, but glorious, promises of greatness on the other side can bring a rather nasty hangover. Makes you feel good until you wake up.

Interesting strategic messaging for a campaign whose most recent slogan is “what do you have to lose?”

Gelb is the director of the Washington Media Institute. Follow him on Twitter @WashMediaInst


 

The views expressed by Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.