David Frum spoke at a GRC-sponsored event at the Vancouver Institute on June 11, 2018. The former George W. Bush speechwriter famous for coining the term “Axis of Evil,” is the author of Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic, a scathing critique of the Trump presidency.

He explained that his book did not intend to focus on Trump’s character, but on how a Trump-like person became president and why Trump isn’t being contained.

“I wanted to move our camera lens to widen it away from the personality of Donald Trump – dysfunctional and fascinating as it is – to the broader question of his power.”

The public discussion, moderated by GRC executive director Peter Klein, took place as President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un were meeting for the first time. Frum argued that Trump is giving North Koreans exactly what they want – pictures of the North Korean and U.S. flags together. “Just think of the propaganda value of that inside North Korea. And he’s giving it to them in exchange for really nothing at all.”

Topics also included Trump’s criticism of Canada’s trade practices, Russian interference in the election, the Iran nuclear deal, the U.S.’s involvement in Israel, and Trump’s suppression of the free press.

Frum argued that Russian meddling in the election was evident, but that the real question is whether or not the Trump campaign was involved in the meddling.

“The Trump presidency is a story of many secrets, very few mysteries.”

On the topic of Trump’s relationship with media and Trump’s use of the term fake news, Frum argues that, “He took this phrase that describes something that he was doing… and turned it around to being truthful reporting that Donald Trump finds inconvenient.”