November 5, 2017

Mariano: The President’s New Clothes

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Flickr/Gage Skidmore

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake

“Mr. President, I rise today to say: Enough”

— Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, Oct. 24, 2017

Ray Mariano

As I listened to Sen. Jeff Flake speak on the floor of the U.S. Senate and announce that he would not be seeking re-election, I could not help but think of a popular children’s story.

Written by Hans Christian Andersen and published in 1837, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” is a short tale about a narcissistic emperor who loved to show off. You remember the story. A vain, self-centered emperor would prance around in the finest clothes as a way to show his superiority.

Two weavers came to town and promised to make the emperor the finest clothes ever created. In fact, these clothes were so incredible, the weavers said, that they would be “invisible to anyone who was incompetent or stupid.”

Weavers worked feverishly to create this new, spectacular clothing. Of course, it was all a big swindle – there were no clothes on the weaving loom and there were no clothes on the emperor.

Nevertheless, for fear that they would be seen as “unfit for their position, stupid or incompetent,” the emperor’s ministers and local townspeople marveled at the emperor’s new outfit until a small child cries out, “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!” At that point, everyone in the town realizes the emperor really “doesn’t have anything on.”

Undaunted by the truth, the emperor carried himself “even more proudly, and the chamberlains walked along behind carrying the train that wasn’t there.”

The similarities between this beloved tale and our current president and his team are striking.

First, our president, much like the emperor, is a narcissist. Even many of President Trump’s supporters have to admit that the man has never seen a mirror he does not like. And he loves lording even imaginary advantages over anyone and everyone. He brags about his wealth, his IQ, his grades in college, even the size of his hands, pointing out how much better and bigger he is than someone else.

Second, our president, much like the swindling weavers, is willing to say whatever it takes to get what he wants – even when he knows it to be a total fraud. Trump’s campaign promise to “drain the swamp” was a masterstroke of political marketing. His mantra struck a chord with many Americans who were sick and tired of what they saw as corruption and self-serving in Washington, D.C.

The only problem with this campaign promise was that, right from the start, it was a lie. Like the weavers who promised the emperor something he dearly wanted, candidate Trump had no real intention of ever fulfilling his promise to the American people. Once elected, President Trump started adding some of the worst swamp rats to his administration – people already in bed with the very industries they would now be charged with regulating.

And his loyal subjects have cheered him on while he walks unclothed along Pennsylvania Avenue.

Since long before the election, Democrats have been telling anyone who would listen that candidate and now-President Donald Trump was totally unfit to serve in the highest office in the land. But, at least to most Republicans, anything that a Democrat might say would just prove that they were “incompetent or stupid,” just like in the children’s story.

During the campaign many Republicans also warned about the dangers of electing someone like Trump. Those warnings fell on deaf ears. Candidate Trump promised to be “presidential” and voters, eager for change, bought into Trump’s fairy tale.

Now, however, the Trump fairly tale may finally be exposed for the dark, twisted fantasy that it is.

Recently, lifelong Republicans — men who have opposed the Democrats, President Obama and Hillary Clinton at every turn — have begun to speak up about the real dangers posed by President Trump: that he “doesn’t have anything on.”

Flickr / Evan Guest

President Trump

One of the first to speak forcefully against the emperor was Sen. John McCain. His primary concern was with the damage that President Trump has caused to America’s place and reputation in the world. In a speech he gave accepting the Liberty Medal, McCain warned the United States against turning toward “half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems.”

McCain has publicly called the president “poorly informed” and “impulsive.”

Then came a speech by former president George W. Bush. Without mentioning President Trump by name, President Bush, speaking at a George W. Bush Institute event in New York, offered harsh criticism of our country’s leader.

In a clear and unmistakable reference to our current president, Bush said, “Bullying and prejudice in our public life … provides permission for cruelty and bigotry.” He also said, “We’ve seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. … Argument turns too easily into animosity.”

More recently, Sen. Bob Corker, once a strong Trump supporter, has unleashed a barrage of criticisms at the president. Corker called Trump “an utterly untruthful president,” and said that Trump would be most remembered for the “debasement of our nation.”

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Corker ominously said that President Trump was pushing the United States on a path toward “World War III.”

Then there was the powerful speech recently delivered by Sen. Jeff Flake. The junior senator from Arizona, widely considered to be among the more conservative members of Congress, stood boldly against the president of the United States. He knew his criticism of the president made his re-election unlikely. Nevertheless, citing the “coarsening of our leadership,” the “compromise of our moral authority” and the “dangerous state of affairs,” he was willing to forego his career in favor of his principles.

To make his case, Flake quoted another Republican president, Theodore Roosevelt.

“To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”

Like the child in the story, McCain, Bush, Corker and Flake are all pointing and telling the American people that our president is unclothed.

The issues raised by these Republican leaders are not about tax reform, health care or building a wall along our country’s southern border. To varying degrees, these men support some or all of the president’s legislative proposals to date.

Instead, the concerns and fears raised by these leaders are about what President Trump is doing to our nation, our people and the United States’ place in the world. They see a president who is dividing the American people, fostering hatred and bigotry, and damaging our reputation abroad.

In 1973, it was another courageous Republican senator, Ed Brooke from Massachusetts, who was the first Senate Republican to call for Richard Nixon’s removal from office. That call was followed by an avalanche of criticism from his fellow Republicans. But his courage also gave strength to other Republicans to point out that it was in our country’s best interest for President Nixon to leave.

Today, having now heard from other Republicans that their emperor “doesn’t have anything on,” and that his behavior is damaging the country we all love, the only question is whether the rest of the Republicans in Congress will continue to act like the chamberlains in the fairy tale walking behind the emperor, as if the train of clothes were really there – or they will have the courage to say, “Enough!”

Editor’s note: We hope you’ve enjoyed this free preview of Ray’s unique perspective and unmistakable candor. Be sure to check back in coming weeks to find out how you can keep on reading Worcester’s best commentary without becoming a Sun member when the preview ends. Ray can be reached via email at

Raymond V. Mariano is a Worcester Sun columnist. He comments on his hometown and global issues that impact it every Sunday in Worcester Sun.

13 thoughts on “Mariano: The President’s New Clothes

  1. You know it is people like you who insult the President that make our country teeter!!
    He is OUR President, and like it or not……you called to honor him and pray for him! Not tear him down every chance possible! I wasn’t so happy with the other choices for Presidents either, but like it or not, their deserved the same respect.
    So stop complaining and looking for bad qualities and start talking good about him and our country and God will hear our prayers!!
    And speaking of comparing……your little children’s story and how you tell it reminds me of the Pharisees!

  2. As I read my friend Ray Mariano’s article targeting President Trump, again, I could not help but think of the 1958 book, “The Naked Communist” by W. Cleon Skousen, an ex FBI agent and political theorist. In 1963, 45 Communist Goals excerpted from Skousen’s book were read into the Congressional Record.
    Mr. Mariano, a multitude of politicians- Emperors, and yes Empresses, “Movers and Shakers” in all arenas past and present were/are “without clothes” and were complicit in regards to fulfilling 90% of the Communist Goals.
    How are we doing?
    1. “Break down cultural standard of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity….”
    2 “Discredit the American Constitution….discredit the American Founding Fathers.”
    3. “Use student riots to forment public protests….”
    4. “Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.”
    5. “Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion.”
    6. “Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies.”
    7. “Discredit the family as an institution.”
    8. “Infiltrate the press.”
    9. ” Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition.”
    Yes indeed, Enough is enough!

  3. As much as I respect Ray, I truly wonder if he understands just how wide & deep the Washington DC swamp is?
    Hopefully, it will all come out in public and the sooner the better.

    • I think the swamp in DC is vast, almost immeasurable. I wrote a column a couple of weeks ago with recommended changes for Congress: tougher ethics rules, a lifetime ban on lobbying, taking money out of elections and other proposals. Unfortunately, Trump is only adding to the swamp. His cabinet members have personal finances and industry ties to the very entities they now regulate.

      • Perhaps he has made some unscrupulous choices as a non-politician. But, I don’t remember the complaints with Obama’s industry ties to the FDA, FCC, GE or energy. I thank my stars every day the Hillary is not in the office. Can you imagine? Just listen to Donna Brazile- one of their own (hope she has good security)…the Podesta brothers…the Dossier…the Uranium deal (and Obama’s knowledge of it). All we have to do is follow the money…the corruption is deep. Thank God we dodged that bullet.

        • Yes, thankful we “dodged that bullet.” The alleged corruption, collusion, covering up and pay to play had been spreading like wildfire by political pyromaniacs and shamefully emboldened by the certainty that Ms. Clinton would be elected President. Ironically, when all is revealed: Hillary Rodman Clinton may be perceived as ethically unfit to be our Commander- in- Chief.

  4. quite a while ago, I told my husband and sons that our President is just like the emperor and his new clothes. Low and behold, I read Ray’s article saying the same thing. I continue to be at a loss as to how so many people can still support Trump.

    to those criticizing this article, please read it in its’ entirety and re-read it.

    Good article, Ray.

  5. Great article – you made a great text to trump connection!! We can only hope that the republicans have had and seen enough of this guy’s not so presidential behavior – time for impeachment! ! We may never gain back the respect we have lost globally because of this nut – but getting him out is a start!!

  6. I’m disappointed you didn’t choose to denounce Worcester Democrat’s calculated, filthy political trick they played on voters- right after signing a hypocritical ‘civility pledge’. But, I digress.
    Funny- I thought ‘the emperor’ paralleled Obama so perfectly that I even wrote a piece about it in 2016. I’m sure I will be accused of ‘whataboutism’ but, if we are going to discuss our divided country, we cannot ignore when it started. Was it dropping the Black Panther intimidation case? The Cambridge police accusation? Pushing the ‘Hands up, don’t shoot’ narrative that never happened? Obama rekindled a racial divide that had been steadily disappearing.
    Obama, ‘Divider-in-chief’, pitted men against women, so-called rich against poor, blacks and Hispanics against whites, feminists against Catholics, all Americans against cops, and secularists against people of faith. Middle America watched it for 8 years. 60% of Americans believe that Obama has made race relations worse (Rasmusson poll, July 19, 2016).
    So much hate and violence since Trump’s election. It is so glaringly obvious who is perpetuating it. Simply visit any elite college campus where conservative voices are shut down with protests and violence…Berkeley created a ‘war zone’. The left assumes bigotry in anyone who disagrees with them, which poisons any attempt at dialogue.The more the left pushes these insane stereotypes- including political leaders, educators, and the liberal media- the more divided we will remain. Hate does have a home…and we are all seeing where it lives.

  7. Reading this it occurs to me that Joe Petty’name could easily be inserted in place of Trump’s.

    My Dad always said, people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones and that honesty goes a long way with voters, but nowadays the Democrats, even in Worcester, have proven they can’t be trusted.

    Fact is, Democrats have only themselves to blame for Trump’s election.

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