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HomeThePrint ProfileDinesh D'Souza: A Mumbaikar who is now America's greatest conservative troll

Dinesh D’Souza: A Mumbaikar who is now America’s greatest conservative troll

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D’Souza justified slavery, colonialism and joked about the Florida school shootings. He also wants Obama’s Nobel to be given to Trump.

New Delhi: Dinesh D’Souza, the American of Mumbai origin who was pardoned by Donald Trump a few days ago, is getting ready to make a film on the US president that will liken him to Abraham Lincoln.

Death of a Nation is about the Civil War as well as modern-day university riots in America today. D’Souza told Hollywood Reporter that his film draws a provocative analogy between Lincoln and Trump. “Not since 1865 have Democrats so dramatically refused to accept the outcome of a presidential election,” he said.

A conservative filmmaker on the right of right-wing America, D’Souza was accused in 2012 of illegally channelling funds for Republican Senate candidate Wendy Long’s campaign, for which he was prosecuted, fined, interned in a half-way house for eight months and put on five years of probation.

Barack Obama was president at the time and D’Souza blames him for his plight. He firmly believes that his real crime was opposing Obama and his Democrat administration, including former New York federal prosecutor and fellow American of Indian origin, Preet Bharara.

And although D’Souza seems to have forgotten that he pleaded guilty to his crime in 2014, Bharara clearly hasn’t.

“The President has the right to pardon but the facts are these: D’Souza intentionally broke the law, voluntarily pled guilty, apologized for his conduct & the judge found no unfairness. The career prosecutors and agents did their job. Period,” wrote Bharara on Twitter.

In the clear light of today, D’Souza now tweets that the Nobel Prize should be taken back from Barack Obama and given to Trump after his successful summit with Kim Jong-un. The sycophancy may be forgiven, considering the full presidential pardon.

It’s not clear whether D’Souza’s intense dislike for Trump’s predecessor — he has made a hugely successful movie and written three books vehemently criticising Obama — is what put him on Trump’s radar. D’Souza says he was in his office one day recently, like any other day, when an operator came on the line and asked, “Is this Dinesh D’Souza?”

“When I said ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘Hold the line for the president of the United States.’ And there was Trump,” D’Souza told Fox News.

“Trump told me, ‘You’ve been a great voice for freedom. I’ve got to tell you man to man, you’ve been screwed.’ He goes, ‘I’ve been looking at the case. I knew from the beginning that it was fishy.’”

Trump told D’Souza that he was targeted for his conservative beliefs. The pardon came soon after, after which D’Souza tweeted: “The recent pardons of @realDonaldTrump don’t exactly support the left’s claim that he’s a racist & white supremacist.”

The wall-to-wall coverage in the US media simply refuses to stop. Unsurprisingly, D’Souza accuses the liberal press of hating him; in the past, he has tried to justify slavery, colonialism, the 9/11 attacks, and even slipped in a joke about the shootings in a school in Florida.

The Vox website has called him the “greatest conservative troll”.

Bone to pick with Obama

Certainly it seems as if D’Souza has a bone to pick with Obama. All three books and movie on the former president have been paroxysms of unmitigated fury. It’s not clear why D’Souza is so angry with US’s first African-American President, unless it’s to do with the oldest feeling in the world: uncompensated inferiority.

Whatever it is, in the 2010 book, The Roots of Obama’s Rage, D’Souza says that Obama had a single goal as a politician and president: to avenge the wrongs done by colonialism to his Kenyan father.

And pray, how was Obama carrying out his goal? By weakening America’s power and economy in the world, said D’Souza.

The book became an instant bestseller and D’Souza went on to make a political documentary on it called 2016: Obama’s America. Obama’s childhood featured in a major way in the movie, the director claiming that childhood influences strongly affected his decisions as president.

The documentary grossed $33.4 million in the US, and remains the second highest grossing documentary after Michael Moore’s acclaimed Fahrenheit 9/11.

He advertised it as “The movie the White House doesn’t want you to see”.

A string of controversies

But D’Souza’s penchant for attention predates his obsession with Obama. Certainly, he is no stranger to controversy. In his 2007 book, The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11, D’Souza blamed liberals and the Left for the tragedy of 9/11.

“The cultural left and its allies in Congress, the media, Hollywood, the non-profit sector and the universities are the primary cause of the volcano of anger toward America that is erupting from the Islamic world,” he wrote.

In 2012 a prominent evangelical magazine unearthed his affair with a mystery woman, while he was still married. The ensuing furore ensured his resignation as President of King’s College in New York. The conservative propagandist was getting a taste of his own medicine.

In 2015, Vanity Fair came closest to describing him as “the hopeful immigrant, determined to excel, and the attention-seeking pest.”

And earlier this year, in February, D’Souza was roundly criticised when in the aftermath of the Florida school shooting he criticised the decision by the state’s lawmakers to vote down the gun ban law. “It was the worst news since their parents told them to get a summer job,” D’Souza tweeted.

Mumbai to living the American Dream

The Mumbaikar’s America journey started off like thousands of aspiring Indians. After “crushing the S.A.T.’s,” he landed at Dartmouth in 1978. From college publications, to the managing editor of the right-wing Political Review, D’Souza’s conservative views made him the toast of town. He shot to fame with his book, Illiberal Education, where he criticised political correctness for bringing down academic standards across universities.

Soon he had landed the plum and influential job of senior policy analyst with the Reagan administration. D’Souza was living the American Dream. When he married the blonde Dixie Brubaker in 1992, he had said, “It was my mission to marry the all-American girl.”

Until he cheated on her in 2012, the same year he knowingly violated campaign finance laws by trying to help fund his Republican friend’s Senate campaign. As for his film on Trump likening him to Lincoln, D’Souza’s detractors believe it’s a pure case of quid pro quo.

For the time being, Dinesh D’Souza is enjoying and making full use of the limelight. He understands the maxim that all publicity, both positive and negative, is what at least turns America around.

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