Donald Trump, ‘American carnage’ and ‘alternative facts’


Sir, – So, we have moved from fake news to alternative facts, and Donald Trump sees things that weren’t there.

Truly, those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – There are lies, damned lies, and for people who don’t understand statistics, alternative facts. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 6W.

Sir, – Government of the people by Donald Trump for Donald Trump. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – “American carnage”. The most memorable phrase from Mr Trump’s speech. And the title of his post-impeachment memoirs, no doubt. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.

Sir, – Fintan O’Toole states that Donald Trump would not have been elected if “a mere 77,000 more people in total voted for Clinton” in a small number of states (“President Donald Trump is an authoritarian and anarchist”, Opinion & Analysis, January 21st).

In this he is totally right, but is equally totally wrong in describing this as “a statistical quirk”. The plain fact is that the Republican vote in these and other swing states did not increase but held steady from 2012. Democrat supporters, on the other hand, did not turn out in the same numbers to vote for Hillary Clinton as they had done for Barack Obama. Put simply, Hillary Clinton lost the election, and the real question should be “Why?” – Yours, etc,


Mount Merrion,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – Fionn Herriott (January 21st) writes of his hopes of President Trump rebooting a stagnant US economy. While there certainly remain great inequality and poverty in America, the latest measures show the US economy growing at a healthy 3.5 per cent. Hardly stagnation. Mr Trump’s supporters won’t let things like facts and figures muddy their narrative. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 4.

Sir, – Donald Trump’s inaugural address was mainly a banal recitation of his standard campaign rhetoric. There was nothing about promoting a need for policies based on the hallmarks of modern American democracy.

Where was the spirit of Abraham Lincoln’s call for “malice toward none, with charity for all . . . let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds”?

Where was the spirit of Franklin Roosevelt’s call for freedom from fear, freedom from want, freedom of speech and freedom of worship?

Where was the spirit of John Kennedy’s call to “ask what you can do for your country”?

A beginning so shockingly lacking in any concept of renewal, tolerance and aiming to lift all segments of society offers little to no expectation that a Trump administration will be other than narrow- focused, intolerant of alternate views and adrift in policy drafts presented as Twitter transmissions. – Yours, etc,



Co Waterford.

Sir, – For those urging us to “give Trump a chance”, his behaviour in raising the “birther” issue and demeaning Barack Obama at every available opportunity, as well as his truly contemptible remarks about women, are enough for me to say that he has already had a chance at showing he is a decent human being but blew it a long time ago. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 3.

Sir, – President Trump has expressed concern about “carnage” in US towns and cities. I presume that gun control measures will be on his programme for the first 100 days. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.

Sir, – Can there be much surprise that the new White House press secretary Sean Spicer speaks of the “largest audience ever to witness an inauguration – period – both in person and around the globe”? Though flying in the face of clear and credible evidence to the contrary, It bears all the hallmarks of Mr Trump’s previous penchant for bending the truth to his benefit and embracing his own “fake news”. Beware of those who believe their own lies, particularly in positions of power! – Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.

Sir, – The new White House press secretary Sean Spicer, commenting on Mr Trump’s inauguration said, “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration – period”.

In post-truth terms, I can only say, “I believe him”. – Yours, etc,



Sir, – If the evidence of the first couple of days of the Trump presidency is anything to go by, it appears that the opening position of the new government in all cases will be “Mine is bigger than yours”. – Yours, etc,



Sir, – I have no brief for Donald Trump and could not believe it when he was elected. But why such a negative reactions to his plainspoken and down-to-earth inauguration speech?

What is mean-spirited about acknowledging the forgotten men and women of the United States? We all in every nation have our forgotten people. What is fearful about demanding that Americans buy and hire American?

I have been concerned for some time about Ireland’s reliance on foreign investment, and on imported goods and food, and our inability to make for ourselves the things we need.

I am horrified by some of Mr Trump’s attitudes, beliefs and prejudices, and by the energy with which he is determined to pursue them. But his expression of belief in, and hope for, America and ordinary American people in their everyday working lives is unimpeachable. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 14.

Sir, – Denis Staunton notes that Mr Trump’s inaugural speech “had no soaring language, no classical or historical references and just one, fleeting mention of the Bible” (“Trump to govern the way he campaigned”, Opinion & Analysis, January 21st).

We should not, of course, be surprised by the absence of rhetorical flourishes and erudite allusions in a speech by one who claims he has no time to read and who, during the campaign debates, appeared to add the offensive neologism “bigly” to the English language’s list of adverbs.

Indeed, we should not be surprised by anything that the new US president does or says in the coming years, so erratic has been his conduct and so inconsistent have been his puerile utterances since he announced his candidacy for office.

Should he prefer modern music to reading Plato’s Republic or the like, might I suggest that Mr Trump listen to a band named after the birthplace of his own mother, Stornoway, among whose lyrics he will find the edifying and apposite message “we’ve got to learn to love our neighbour/before our neighbour starts scaring the love out of us”. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 7.

Sir, – Just because people watch Mr Trump doesn’t imply support. Like a car wreck, it’s hard to take your eyes off him.

Like a wounded beast, it’s dangerous not to watch him carefully. – Yours, etc,




Sir, – “Fake news”, “posttruth”, “alternative facts”, etc.

When I was a chap, we used to call something that wasn’t the truth “lies”. Perhaps I’m too old fashioned. – Yours, etc,



Co Carlow.

Sir, – Judging by the number of protests that take place regularly in the great democracies, I am beginning to suspect that votes have very little to do with what people actually want – or get. – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.

Sir, – I note that Melania Trump proudly wore Ralph Lauren at some of the inauguration events. Did Donald approve? I looked at the range of Ralph Lauren garments in Arnotts today and not one was made in the US. They came from China, Philippines, Vietnam, Jordan, India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.