There are so many reasons why the Greek-American community should be strongly and enthusiastically supporting Joe Biden in this election, yet many fellow Greek-Americans surprisingly support four more years of the chaos, corruption, and incompetence of the Trump presidency. One of these reasons is that Trump is so deeply aligned with President Erdogan that he has, by his silence, acquiesced in and given tacit approval to Turkey’s aggression in Greek territorial waters. He has proven that he sides with Turkey at the expense of Greek sovereignty and Greek interests. The other is that Trump represents the antithesis of the most basic Greek values: democracy, the rule of law, truth, honor, and community.
Let us look closely at Trump’s America. The nation mourns the COVID death of over 200,000 Americans this week. Most of these people died needlessly because the president lied, denied, and mismanaged the crisis since the beginning, and continues to do so today. We now know – because we heard it on tape in his own voice – that Trump knew in January that we were in the midst of a “deadly plague,” and yet he lied about it repeatedly. He continues to discourage his supporters from wearing masks at his rallies and to gaslight the nation with a false counter-narrative of imminent miracle cures.
Then there is the matter of his disastrous handling of the unrest spurred by the murder of George Floyd, who was asphyxiated by white police while incapacitated, and other Black Americans who have died needlessly at the hands of police officers. Such instances of police brutality are hardly new, but it bears noting that no other president has openly encouraged law enforcement to rough up citizens. No other president has condoned racism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism. And no other president has fomented white grievance with clear overtones of white supremacy. These are not Greek values.
Trump showed his contempt for democracy when he ordered the military to attack and tear gas peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square. He acted like the tyrant he aspires to be when he marched over to view the aftermath, waving an upside-down Bible in the air. He has sabotaged the upcoming election, challenged its legitimacy, incited his supporters to violence, and hinted he does not intend to leave office. In all of this, he is acting like his close ally and authoritarian role model in Ankara. There is reportedly no other foreign leader that Trump speaks to more often than Erdogan, and it is said that Erdogan can even disturb Trump when he is playing golf. Let us also not forget that the Trump Administration remained silent when Erdogan’s goons beat up American protesters on the streets of Washington. What other government would dare to do this with impunity? What other government would have the audacity to call the visit of a Greek president to the Greek island of Kastellorizo a “provocation”? Trump has never criticized Erdogan and he never will, and this has undoubtedly given Erdogan license to do what he is doing today in the eastern Mediterranean and elsewhere.
Joe Biden has been a strong supporter of Greece for decades. As Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he consistently supported Greece, and did so with equal commitment as Vice President. Biden embodies the strength of character, respect for democratic values, and fundamental decency that defines this nation. He has the temperament and experience necessary to bring this country together and lead us out of this great recession, and the stature to quickly restore our standing in the world. In contrast, a vote for Trump is a vote for the demise of our democracy and the further erosion of American values. It is a vote for continued chaos and further weakening of America and its standing in the world. And we must be clear: it is also a vote for Erdogan. Greek Americans should think hard about that before they cast their vote.
Peter Pappas is the president of Innovation Strategies. He served in the Obama-Biden Administration as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and previously served in the Clinton White House and State Department.