Vietnam’s unlikely love affair with Donald Trump


My father, a 65-year-old retiree who lives in Danang, is a huge supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump.

At first, I was mildly amused by this since I never thought he would be that interested in U.S. politics. But as election day drew closer, however, he became increasingly passionate about every piece of Trump news, good or bad. Intrigued, I looked a bit deeper, and it turns out that my Dad’s political interest was not what it appeared to be.

I believe that Dad’s fervent support for President Trump was less about the president himself than a burning desire to engage in proper political discourse. Like millions of his compatriots, both supporters and detractors of the president, my father has never been able to openly discuss Vietnamese politics with anyone.

Politicians’ credentials, achievements, failures and legacies are whatever the local TV and newspapers say they are. The most exciting discussions are often whispered gossips about who does what to whom. A lifetime of emotions were thus suppressed, like a heavily compressed spring, waiting for the right trigger to be released. That moment was the 2020 U.S. presidential election.