For many years, thoughtful voters in the United States have been perplexed, to put it mildly, about Donald Trump.
For example, who does this guy think he is?
Because of his refusal to face reality about any fact that stands in his way, Facebook banned him. Its independent oversight board says he’s still a really bad dude, but it also says that maybe the ban should be reconsidered:
This caused our Chief International Correspondent, associate solitary reporter Larry Theis — Professor Emeritus of French History at the University of Notre Dame — to reflect on French President Emmanuel Macron and the open wound he has stirred up in France’s long-standing culture wars over the heritage of Napoleon I, the brash young general who, in 1799, crushed the French Revolution in a coup and made himself the Emperor, only to be permanently exiled by the British in solitude on the Brits’ lonely island of St. Helena in the mid-Atlantic.
Napoleon lies in state in Les Invalides, a former military hospital in Paris. Right-wing French politicians, such as the incorrigibly infamous Marine LePen, view Napolen as the symbol of French glory, because, until 1815, France was the most powerful nation in Europe.
Napoleon I had his dark side, especially when he re-instituted slavery in French colonies in the Caribbean, provoking Toussaint Louverture (1743-1803) to spark a slave revolt against the French which resulted in Haitian independence from France.
Though we here at AP don’t like to admit it, Donald Trump used to have considerable power, and, in fact, he clearly craves to return to the White House.
But during the time when he did live in the White House, Trump visited France, and Macron invited him to visit Napoleon’s Tomb.
In an exquisite article in today’s Times, Roger Cohen describes how recent French presidents have shunned Napoleon, “always a contested figure, [who] has become a Rorschach test for the French at a moment of tense cultural confrontation” (France Battles Over Whether to Cancel or Celebrate Napoleon, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/05/world/europe/france-napoleon-macron.html?referringSource=articleShare).
As Cohen explains, “Mr. Macron took Trump to Napoleon’s crypt in 2017 — French presidents have tended to avoid accompanying foreign leaders there, because Hitler paid homage to Napoleon at Les Invalides in 2017.
As he gazed at the tomb, Trump said, "Napoleon finished a little bad."
Theis just texted us with a typically concise comment: “SR, it is very useful to compare Trump to Hitler.”