Politics

Trump fangirl Liz Truss channels Maga menace at US conservative thinktank | Liz Truss

Trump fangirl Liz Truss channels Maga menace at US conservative thinktank | Liz Truss

Was that Donald Truss? Or Liz Trump? A former British prime minister turned up in Washington on Monday channeling the Maga menace who once lorded it in the Oval Office and now spends his days in a dingy courtroom.

Liz Truss was at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative thinktank in Washington, within sight of the US Capitol dome, to promote her grandly titled book Ten Years to Save the West. Why does she keep coming back to America? It was not hard to figure out.

Far from the London literary critics sharpening their knives, Heritage offers Truss a happy place, full of gushing sycophancy with an audience hanging on her every word. In this regard the 48-year-old has gone all Trumpy: the ex-president loves to surround himself with oleaginous flatterers who dare not cross him.

How divine that the politicians who whine about “groupthink” and “safe spaces” are the ones who cling to groupthink and safe spaces.

To illustrate the point, Truss’s war on “the global left” establishment evidently includes the Guardian. Last Friday, this reporter received an email from Heritage about the Truss event that said: “Due to space limitations, we unfortunately must rescind your in-person invite.”

Curiously, come Monday morning, Truss posted a tweet encouraging members of the public to register the event and enclosing a link. So much for space limitations. But those who did attend were informed they couldn’t get a signed copy of the book due to “supply chain issues”.

Others were still able to watch a live stream on YouTube where, three hours after it ended, the event had just over 700 views. (Heritage’s biggest hit on the site is a Tucker Carlson speech that attracted a million views.)

Heritage is the thinktank behind Project 2025, a sprawling plan for a second Trump presidency. Wearing a dark blue jacket and trousers, white blouse and shiny black shoes, Truss noted that when she was first invited to Heritage as environment secretary in 2015, she was warned against not to go by then British ambassador Kim Darroch.

“He says to me, ‘You’ve got to be wary of this organisation. They’ve spoken out against President Obama. They’ve even been critical of Prime Minister Cameron. Are you really sure, minister, that you want to go and see them?’” Truss recalled, speaking from a wooden lectern against a backdrop of the Stars and Stripes and a blue wall dotted with Heritage Foundation logos.

“And I said, yes, I’m sure because I’m a conservative and they’re a conservative thinktank in the United States of America, our closest ally. So eventually, I prevail because I am a determined person but the car from the embassy dropped me off two blocks away from the Heritage Foundation so that the British flag wouldn’t be sitting outside the building.

Making a lot of sub-Trump hand gestures with open palms, Truss proceeded to deliver her standard speech railing against left-dominated institutions, an anti-growth coalition, the IMF and Conservatives in name only. Naturally there was a swipe at wokery as “another bad neo-Marxist idea developed from Foucault and all those crazy postmodernists in the 1960s, the idea that biological sex is not a reality”.

She blamed these forces for making her the shortest serving British prime minister in history (49 days that sparked mayhem on the financial markets). She reeled off a list of foes, foreign and domestic, who joined the “pile on”. Among them was Joe Biden, who had the temerity to criticise her radical mini-budget’s tax plans “from an ice cream parlour in Oregon”. There was some laughter in the auditorium. So vanilla!

The Trump fangirl had some advice to impart: “I come today with a warning to the United States of America. I fear the same forces will be coming for President Donald Trump if he wins the election this November.”

Truss repeated her plea from the recent Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland for the right to grab a “a bigger bazooka” to combat the activist left with their money and “friends in high places”. She called for a “bonfire of the quangos” and, echoing Trump ally Steve Bannon, declared: “We need to dismantle the administrative state.”

In her book, Truss writes that she was an early fan of the reality TV show The Apprentice and “enjoyed the Donald’s catchphrases and sassy business advice”. She also pays little heed to the convention that senior British politicians stay out of US elections.

She told the audience on Monday: “I worked in cabinet whilst Donald Trump was president and while President Biden was president and I can assure you the world felt safer when Donald Trump was in office… Getting a conservative back in the White House is critical to taking on the global left.”

Praise for Truss was laid on think by Nile Gardiner, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom and a former foreign policy researcher for Thatcher herself. He has been named one of the 50 most influential Britons in the US by the Daily Telegraph.

In God we Truss; no lettuce jokes here. The baby-faced, bespectacled Gardiner proclaimed her book “an absolutely tremendous read”, “very robust”, “very gutsy”, “very courageous”, “a wonderful read”, “very powerful”, “a thrilling read”, “a tremendous book” and “a wonderful message”. He speculated that the current prime minister, Rishi Sunak, might be writing memoirs in the near future but “yours are far more conservative and interesting”.

Truss and Gardiner sat on plush white armchairs with glasses of water on a table between them. Truss warned that another Biden term would mean “the promotion of leftwing ideology”, girls unable to use bathrooms in privacy and no policy to deal with immigration and the southern border. “Four more years of this would be a disaster for the US internally. I think Bidenomics has been a failure.”

Gardiner wondered what a second Trump term would mean for Britain. Truss said free the world needs conservative leadership. “It’s only Britain that has a conservative government. We’ve got Biden in the US, we have Trudeau in Canada, we have Macron in France, we have Scholz in Germany and it’s not working. The west is not winning.

Trump has said he would encourage Russia to do “whatever the hell they want” to any Nato country that doesn’t meet spending guidelines on defence. But Truss echoed Trump’s call for Europe to spend more. “There are too many countries free riding at the moment who are in serious threat. If Putin succeeds in Ukraine, he won’t stop there… Donald Trump is right to say to Europe: you need to pay up.”

Elise Stefanik? Kristi Noem? Marjorie Taylor Greene? Forget it. Trump-Truss 2024 would have been unstoppable. If only she had been born in Kansas.


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