Prime Minister Erna Solberg and President Donald Trump
days before his infamous remarks.
Photo by CNBC
President Donald Trump has had a tumultuous tenure in his year in the Oval Office. Constantly dogged by Tweets, off-color comments, contradictions, he was recently blasted for making disparaging comments about Haitians, Nigerians and Africans in general. He recently said if Nigerians came to the U.S., they would not want to go “back to their huts” and that for Haitians, “they all have AIDS.” He characterized developing nations as “sh!*hole countries” and suggested that the U.S. give Norwegians more consideration for immigration. In fact, Trump had just met with Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg so he may not have chosen the country randomly.
Without realizing it Trump has invoked an interesting side note two years after the U.S. won the gold medal at the 2016 Chess Olympiad. Perhaps he doesn’t know that the World Champion is Norwegian, or that the country’s citizens already do quite well, but what if World Champion Magnus Carlsen were to join the U.S. Chess Federation? Since we’re living in a fantasy world, we can imagine the 2020 U.S. Olympiad team in Russia: Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So. Impressive, but perhaps for the wrong reasons.
World Champion Magnus Carlsen
Photo by Daaim Shabazz
While Trump has proven to have very objectionable views on nationality, gender and race, would getting a particular chess-playing Norwegian to join the U.S. be a good idea? Since we are building a fantasy wish-list, how about World Junior Champion Aryan Tari? Trump would probably encourage such a move until he discovered that Aryan’s parents hail from Iran. Of course, the entire episode is ridiculous and the U.S. should not build a policy based purely on religion or nationality.
In the final analysis, referring to other countries in such objectionable ways (while praising others) is certainly unbefitting for such a high office. Imagine if a FIDE President uttered such obscenities. Unfortunately, this talk is sometimes heard in the chess world during an election year when some imply that smaller federations (particularly from Africa) would be willing to accept money and favors for votes. Let’s hope we don’t hear such comments as we move toward selecting a new FIDE President. Let’s also hope no other President (of any organization) will stoop to historic levels of crude language.