Filipinos know the betrayal of a president.


That’s even though he deserves to be much lower case.

With all the latest news of payoff tapes, and missunravelling is apace, and I’m sure the Trumpiest amongst us are holding firm, loyal to the president, whose combover has been less than firm.

And why? The betrayals since the campaign have been incremental. But IT WAS LOUD AND CLEAR IN Helsinki.


I could sense in Chicago, where I was attending the Filipino American National Historical.

From what I saw from news reports, Trump did nothing more than solidify his bully status.

Of course, I should have figured. We’ve seen the pattern.

You see, bullies don’t punch back. Bullies are weak. Bullies are cowards.

Bullies, when they’re president, betray the American people.

The way you beat a bully is merely to stand up to him. Even when you’re shorter with less hair like Putin. The Russian president never had to take off his shirt. He never flinched. He knew exactly how to play a trump hand.

Putin stood his ground at that monstrous event we might as well call the birthing of some new two-headed world monster. Because there they were–the two leaders, one supposedly of the free world and the other of the less free.

And there they were both speaking as one.


How could that be? Putin–the man behind the taking of Crimea, the unrest in the Ukraine, innumerable human rights violations, the suppressor of free speech and a free press–he and the president of the free world were one?

At this presser, they were.

Especially on the subject of Russian interference in our 2016 elections.

Putin boldly said (in translation) that Russia “never interfered” in the U.S. election. He referred to it all as the “so-called interference,” conveniently dismissing the indictments issued by the Mueller probe against 12 Russian military hackers.

Instead of a forceful rebuke, or a well-timed diplomatic tongue lash in return, the U.S. president responded meekly. Trump didn’t hold Russia accountable for anything. In a typical Trump move, he went Charlottesville, where he didn’t have the heart to blame white supremacists despite compelling visual evidence.  Remember the many “fine people of both sides” line?

In this case, Trump would only say that “we have both made mistakes,” and how both countries were to blame for the current state of U.S./Russia relations.

That’s despite being armed with all the intel by U.S. officials that have resulted in indictment after indictment in the Mueller/Russia probe.

Trump was merely doing a typical bully move. He had a chance to take a swing. Even sucker punch Putin.

But you don’t throw a sucker punch when you’re the sucker.

Besides, bullies don’t punch. When the moment comes, and it’s swing or be swung upon, they speak softer. Blame both sides and try to be friends with their enemy.


It may work in business when a CEO sells out his workers to save his butt in a failing negotiation. But in a democracy, your allegiance is to the American people.

We’re left betrayed by a leader who doesn’t stand up and defend our interests or democratic values as forcefully and unequivocally as possible.

Mark it historically.

It was there for all to see: Trump’s public betrayal of America.


Asian Americans know how it feels when a president betrays them.

Filipino veterans of World War II went to fight for the U.S. in the Philippines during WWII. They were promised citizenship and full pay and benefits for their efforts if they answered President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s order. And they signed up in droves. Filipinos were the bulk of the prisoners of war in the Bataan Death March.

For their efforts they got the Rescission Act of 1946, signed by President Truman, which essentially negated the promise of Roosevelt.

Many of these veterans ultimately became American citizens in other ways. So these Filipinos weren’t just denied all the rights they were promised. Thousands of them continued to fight for their back pay and benefits as Americans.

It took more than 55 years for them to be made whole.

Roosevelt made the promise, but Truman was the bad guy who rescinded the promise in 1946.

Roosevelt is mostly remembered for his classic betrayal of another group of Asian Americans with Executive Order 9066, which led to the incarceration of thousands of Japanese Americans.

We know how it feels to be let down by a president. It cost Asian Americans a lot more than people will ever realize when your leader abandons you.

And now everyone else knows how it feels too.


That day I heard from a  friend, a Trump supporter.

He’s definitely in the “give Trump a chance” camp.

The morning after the summit, my Trumpy friend greeted me this way:  “It looks like he’s unifying the country—against him.”

My friend is results-oriented. He believes if you give Trump enough rope he’ll hang himself, and voters will oust him if he doesn’t deliver. My friend is a smart, successful, well-educated  Mexican American immigrant who runs a thriving small business with his immigrant wife from Russia. They’re not pro-Putin. They chose America and are USA all the way.

Sound like most Post-80’s Filipino immigrants? Disconnected from the civil rights era, many think hard work alone will conquer racism and discrimination.

Like my friend who wants to give Trump a break and see if he can live up to campaign promises about improving the economy. He believes all Trump did at the summit was “insult” the U.S. intelligence community that works for the president.

The spies should buck up.

But Trump did much more than insult the intelligence community.

He threw the whole country under the bus.

And Putin is driving.

And then the pathetic double negative excuse of misspeaking “would” or “wouldn’t”? Pure nonsense. The man is a caps on/caps off guy. He knows what he’s doing.

You catch your spouse in a law and they start making up stories. You’ve seen it before. We’re seeing it now.

And now Trump wants another meeting in Washington, D.C. And probably not so that the intelligence community he insulted can bug any secret meetings.

The summit proves Trumputin shouldn’t be anyone’s idea of some new world order.

But we do find ourselves  in a new phase in the Trump era of U.S. democracy. The patterns are clear. Truth is suffering Time for all good patriots on all sides to speak up and defend America–from its president.

Emil Guillermo is a veteran journalist and commentator. See him perform his “Amok Monologues,”  7:30 pm,  August 17 at the Manilatown Cultural Center/I-Hotel. Twitter @emilamok

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