It’s been a big day for former government officials speaking out against Donald Trump: Ex-presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush both used their eulogies for John McCain as an opportunity to draw an implicit contrast between the late senator and our current president, while McCain’s daughter Meghan, although not a former government official herself, explicitly invoked Trump’s loathsome campaign slogan. By doing so, they joined a grand tradition of former government officials speaking out against the depravity of Donald Trump, from Jimmy Carter, who called him “a disaster” to Abraham Lincoln, who aptly described him as a “highwayman” in his legendary Never-Trump Cooper Union Speech. But perhaps no current or former employees of the United States government have been as vociferously opposed to Donald Trump’s presidency as the staff of the U.S. Army Signal Corps in 1943, when they released their blistering anti-Trump film, “Don’t Be a Sucker.” A clip from the film went around Twitter in the immediate aftermath of the “Unite the Right” disaster, but here’s the full video, which spares Trump nothing:
It’s a sad day when people who have given their lives to public service, like the filmmakers behind “Don’t Be a Sucker,” feel the need to speak out against a sitting president. It’s even sadder when Felix Bressart, the Lubitsch stock player who plays the professor in “Don’t Be a Sucker” feels the need to look into the camera with gentle disapproval. There’s no shortage of sick burns aimed at Trump here, from the reference to his “oldest and most persistent enemy, the truth,” to the prediction that his “pure-blooded supermen [will be] defeated by the mongrel armies he despise[s].” But for all the swipes, the film ends on a positive note, speaking to the ideals we continually fall short of, but should continually aim at:
You have a right to be what you are and say what you think, because here we have personal freedom. We have liberty. And these are not just fancy words: this is a practical and priceless way of living. But we must work at it. We must guard everyone’s liberty, or we can lose our own. If we allow any minority to lose its freedom by persecution or by prejudice, we are threatening our own freedom. And this is not simply an idea, this is good, hard, common sense. You see, here in America, it is not a question of whether we tolerate minorities. America is minorities.
It’s the most powerful indictment of the president and his stooges since the actual Stooges spoke out against him. At press time, inquiries to the White House about how they would respond to this unprecedented attack from the staff of the U.S. Army Signal Corps circa 1943 went unanswered, as did requests about other anti-Trump films The Great Dictator, Inglourious Basterds, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and, of course, They Saved Hitler’s Brain