Trump is the “start of a fatal infection”, warns Cambridge lecturer

Khushali Dodhia 20 January 2017

A University guest lecturer has warned that Trump could prove “fatal” for liberal democracy.

Thomas Weber, Professor of History of International Affairs as well as the founding Director of the Centre of Global Security and Governance at the University of Aberdeen, was reported by Cambridge News as having said: “Trump is the start of an infection that could prove fatal. Over time your body just loses its defences and then it becomes sick and you die.

“Inadvertently he could destroy the political system of liberal democracy but I don’t think he understands he is in a position to destroy it.”

Professor Weber also warned that comparisons between Trump and Hitler reduce the threat of the President-Elect, because although “both are narcissists […] ultimately Donald Trump has no core political beliefs but Hitler obviously did.

“The only similarity to Hitler is his demagogue quality and campaigning method.”

Trump’s inauguration has been dogged by controversy and cancellations, with several performers refusing to take part, compared to Barack Obama’s 2009 and 2013 inaugurations, where Aretha Franklin and Beyonce sang.

Charlotte Church tweeted Trump, writing: “Your staff have asked me to sing at your inauguration, a simple Internet search would show I think you’re a tyrant. Bye.”

Elton John and R Kelly are also among artists who have distanced themselves from the inauguration.

But Trump has hit back, tweeting that “Inauguration Day is turning out to be even bigger than expected.”

He also wrote, “People are pouring into Washington in record numbers. Bikers for Trump are on their way. It will be a great Thursday, Friday and Saturday!”

Professor Weber added that this Twitter presence was also a sign of the dangers Trump poses: “It’s dangerous because he’s clearly an impulsive person who cares more about perception than policy.

“He likes the attention, he likes to see himself on the cover of magazines. He’s an insomniac so when he wakes up at 3am he tweets and then he sets the news agenda for the day.”

Trump’s inauguration will be marked by two protests in Cambridge. One, organised by Hope not Hate, will see the campaign group joining with trade unions, university staff, and human rights organisations by the Queens’ College Mathematical Bridge today.

The other will take place tomorrow (21 January) at midday in Market Square, held by Cambridge’s branch of Stand Up to Racism and will be attended by Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner.

Similar demonstrations against xenophobia and misogyny are taking place across the UK and US, as people fear that Trump’s presidency will lead to racist and sexist policymaking.

Professor Weber said, “Ultimately the worry is all the things he’s mentioned are not just rhetoric but we may only know once it’s too late.