What do the Slovenes think of Donald Trump

Slovenia's Prime Minister Janša breaks the wall for Trump

Right-wing Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša let his enthusiasm for Donald Trump run wild on Twitter and practically declared him the winner. "It's pretty clear that Americans voted Donald Trump and Mike Pence for another four years," he wrote. In addition, "the delays and the rejection of the facts by the mainstream media will only make Trump's victory worse in the end." Twitter then issued a warning to Janša's message: "Official sources have not yet announced the winner when this tweet was posted."

Janša, who, like Trump, has been attacking the media, especially the Slovenian radio, for years, has already supported the US president in the election campaign - as have Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. "We respect Joe Biden's difficult, tragic personal life and some of his political achievements years ago. But today, if elected, he would be one of the weakest presidents in history. At a time when a free world desperately needs a strong one USA needs like never before. Come on, win, Donald Trump! "Wrote Janša on October 23, also on Twitter.

Twitter war with Biden advisor

Michael Carpenter, Joseph Biden's foreign policy advisor, responded immediately. "Lol, Trump is accepting support from the Slovenian Prime Minister who was previously charged and convicted of corruption charges. But don't worry, Slovenian friends, in eleven days we will be sending a demagogic populism package," Carpenter tweeted, adding the Slovenian word for shame, "sramota" added. Janša then accused Carpenter of lying.

But the Prime Minister's tweet also caused irritation in Slovenia itself. Christian Democratic Defense Minister Matej Tonin made it clear that Ljubljana would respect any decision made by American voters. The Slovenian Social Democrats supported Joe Biden on their Twitter profile.

Against migration, for conspiracy theories

Janša's support for Trump is not only for ideological reasons - both are right-wing populists who primarily use anti-migrant sentiments. Janša apparently also identifies with Trump when he constantly emphasizes that he is being persecuted by some media and by leftists. Like Trump, he indirectly uses conspiracy theories when citing a threat posed by socialism or communism.

The Slovenian political scientist Marko Lovec believes that the fact that Trump's wife Melania Trump, née Knavs, comes from Slovenia has nothing to do with Janša's attitude. "She has not spoken Slovenian since she was the first lady. But she always emphasizes that she comes from a communist country, which in the US context is probably the reason why the Republicans accept a migrant," says Lovec.

Isolated in Europe

The Slovenian prime minister's motives are different: Janša is rather isolated in the European political context - he has to rely on nationalists like Orbán or the Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić. Even Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and the Slovak government are skeptical of Janša and view his policies as too radical and problematic. "He is trying to strengthen his position internationally by connecting with Trump," Lovec explains to STANDARD.

Janša is not the only one. The Italian right-wing populist Matteo Salvini or in Poland are doing something similar. Of course, it costs something if you want something from Trump. Janša signed that Slovenia would not buy Chinese 5G technology, and Trump in return enabled US Secretary of Defense Mike Pompeo to visit Slovenia recently.

Insults from journalists

Lovec also refers to political and tactical similarities between Janša and Trump - for example "the polarizing rhetoric that treats political opponents, media and civil society as enemies, or the use of Twitter and party media". For example, the Slovenian prime minister calls journalists "worn-out prostitutes for 30 or 35 euros", "liars" and "fake news".

Janša also recently picked up on Trump's rhetoric surrounding the coronavirus, including calls for the resignation of WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Lovec points out, however, that the two differ greatly in terms of content in the pandemic strategy. Janša supports much more state intervention in the economy and public programs. When the Trumps fell ill, the Slovenian prime minister wished the US president a speedy recovery: "All friends of the USA in Slovenia think of President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump and wish them a full and speedy recovery," he wrote. (Adelheid Wölfl, November 4, 2020)