Trump isn’t Haman; he’s Achashverosh. And that’s even worse.
With Donald Trump’s AIPAC speech just a few days away, the same week as Purim, I’ve heard some of his detractors make comparisons to the would be genocidal architect Haman (not to mention Hitler and Mussolini). I think those comparisons are base and risk masking the true threat of a Trump presidency. The book of Esther gives us the perfect model for that threat in King Achashverosh.
Trump and Achashverosh have a lot in common. They both live in palaces, and love to fill them with luxury and gilded items. Achashverosh objectified women by demanding Vashti display her beauty before his drunk friends, and Trump objectifies women with decades of sexist comments and insults. Achashverosh called for swift and harsh action when Vashti refused to come, and Trump has called for violence against protesters at his rallies. Achashverosh was easily swayed to change his opinion of Vashti and the Jewish people on a whim, and Trump seems to change his mind on a multitude of important policy issues within days of commenting on them.
There are more similarities to be drawn, especially if you want to venture into Trump’s personal life, but I’ve saved the most dangerous one for last: Achashverosh counted Haman as one of his most valued advisors, and Trump has done nothing to reject the white supremacists and other hate-mongers among his supporters, and even retweets many of them. He also refuses to name the people who make up his advisors on key issues like foreign policy.
I don’t believe Trump has designs for genocide, or that he embodies all of the hateful rhetoric he uses in public. He is a populist and an alarmist. He is a man who knows how to use fear to rally support. He is someone who is willing to make a deal with the devil to become president. The true danger of a Trump presidency is that he will empower a modern-day Haman with a role in his administration.
I urge all AIPAC attendees to send a message that regardless of what he might say about Israel, Trump does not embody what the Jewish people want in a president. Whether that means skipping his speech, walking out in the middle, or actively protesting, this is our chance to send a loud and clear message that we won’t sit idly by as an enabler of evil steamrolls to the White House.
Trump may not be Haman, but he is dangerous and we should do everything in our power to stop him.