Arne O. Holm says From Florida to Finnmark, From the Courtroom to the White House

"Norway and the new NATO" is discussed among old warplanes at the Norwegian Aviation Museum in Bodø, Northern Norway, in connection with the preparedness exercise Øvelse nord 2024. (Photo: Arne O. Holm)

Commentary: In the daytime, he hangs around in American courtrooms. In his free time, he sells jewelry, shoes, and Bibles to finance fines and lawyers. In about six months, Donald Trump is let loose on the rest of the world.

Norwegian version.

If American voters want it that way.

Some commentators believe Trump's chances of winning the presidential election increase for every day he must spend in court.

In that case, he is closing in on a not-particularly forward-leaning Joe Biden.

In a country otherwise keen to promote the individual's freedom to choose, the options in the US have been reduced to two aging presidential candidates. A meat eater would have more options to choose from in a vegan restaurant.

Love & Gratitude

About the same time as Donald Trump took to the court to defend himself against allegations of having paid a porn actress to keep quiet about an alleged relationship with the former president, Trump's wife found it appropriate to start a jewelry sale. 

A meat eater in a vegan restaurant.

For 245 dollars, Melania Trump offers a necklace with the inscription "Love & Gratitude," a form of tribute to mothers.

Some might argue that the timing of the otherwise quite invisible Melania Trump was unfortunate. Still, in a family where money is one of the core values, any publicity equals a sales opportunity.

She has not revealed whether the revenue from the jewelry will be used to cover the husband's fines and lawyer bills. 

Trump selling bibles

Trump, on the other hand, recently started selling bibles. Not just any bible, of course. The name of this edition is "God Bless The USA," and it also includes the American Constitution. Under the slogan "Let's Make America Pray Again," the Bible is sold for 60 dollars.

The Bible launched shortly after the presidential candidate launched his own shoe brand, or "sneakers," as it is apparently called. The first 1000 pairs, which cost 399 dollars, were sold in just a few minutes. According to American media, the shoes are the same color as Trump's hair.

The Home Guard

I think about how this man can soon be president while listening to Norwegian and Swedish Home Guard Officers worried about the future. Who are preparing for a NATO which might make do without the help of the US. They are on stage in the Aviation Museum in Bodø, Northern Norway, surrounded by old warplanes. I must crouch underneath a Lockhead F-104 Starfighter to get a view of the stage, an aircraft that arrived in Norway in the mid-60s while the threat of war had its iron grip on the Nordic countries.

Let's Make America Pray Again.

Behind the aircraft, on stage, I see Major General Frode Ommundsen, Chief of the Norwegian Home Guard, and the Chief of the Swedish Västerbotten Regiment, Major Johan Hellström, among others. Like the rest of the total defense, the Home Guard has also experienced a major economic boost lately.

Hellström refers to the Swedish NATO membership in almost passionate terms. Not a crumb of Swedish neutrality has been left in the new Swedish defense strategy. Yet, in an interview with High North News, Hellström has a precise addition to the almost religious atmosphere currently characterizing the Nordic defense debate in an interview with High North News.

"Sweden must take responsibility for its own security. We cannot sit and wait for others to solve our security issues."

The comedy fades

Hellström has a background in the private business sector and demands a higher pace in the public sector as well.

And so, my thoughts return to the courtroom in New York, in which the shoe and bible salesman Donald Trump is fighting a prison sentence in favor of a seat in the presidential chair.

A religious atmosphere characterizes the defense debate.

There is something undeniably comical about a presidential candidate selling bibles to defend himself against accusations of having paid hush money to a porn actress who threatened to ruin the election campaign in 2016. This is the first time an American president has been accused in a criminal case.

Yet, the comedy fades as the Swedish major shows a photo from the Joint Force Command (JFCNF) in Norfolk, Virginia - the American command responsible for Norway.

A poster with the inscription "From Florida to Finnmark" can be seen on the wall.

After November 5th, Donald Trump can also adorn himself with the title of Commander-in-Chief for the JFCNF, while the rest of us have to brace ourselves for new times.

It is anything but comical.

Also read