Toby Manhire is a Wellington-bred, Auckland-based journalist.

Toby Manhire: Dear America, can we do a deal on Trump?

For the love of the human race, please don’t put this vindictive xenophobe in the White House.
It was all fun and games until Donald Trump became the actual Republican presidential nominee. Picture / AP
It was all fun and games until Donald Trump became the actual Republican presidential nominee. Picture / AP

Dear land of the free and home of the brave,

Gidday from New Zealand, a small country in the depths of the Pacific. All Blacks, Hobbits, Lorde, all that. Steven Adams? I'm like a shorter, fatter, less good at basketball version of him.

I'm writing on behalf of everyone in New Zealand, and everyone in our vassal state Australia, and actually pretty much everyone outside the United States. That might seem a bold claim - and don't be misled by any comments underneath the online version of this column disputing the fact that I'm speaking for everybody; I had them arranged in the cause of verisimilitude - but boldness has a lot to recommend it. As business mogul Donald Trump explained in his 1987 bestseller The Art of the Deal, "a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole."

As it happens, my cause for writing on behalf of everyone is the very same Donald Trump.

It was all good fun for a while, him mouthing off like a deranged, carrot-stained car salesman, a 4-year-old on a sugary bender: jaw-dropping, sure, but inescapably destined to fall out of favour as the Republican primaries wore on. And yet, there he is: the actual GOP candidate. It isn't funny any more, and so as great admirers of America and Americans, we beseech you: don't do it. Don't.

It gives me no pleasure to write this. Open letters make me squirm - such a mawkish device; to be avoided at all costs, unless the future of the world is at stake. There's genuine risk, what is more, in outsiders wading over democratic borders. When Britain's Guardian newspaper in 2004 encouraged readers, with half a tongue in its cheek, to write to voters in Clark County and encourage them to support John Kerry over George Bush, not everyone loved it. Among the advice from residents of the knife-edge swing county: "weenie-spined limeys" from a "crappy little island full of yellow teeth" should understand that "real Americans aren't interested in your pansy-ass, tea-sipping opinions". In the end, there was a swing. To the Republicans.

Nevertheless, it falls to me to convey the mood of pretty much all the world. Our concern has compounded in recent days as Trump pounced on the massacre of 49 people in Orlando and exploited it for base political gain, beginning with a tweet that read, "Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism" and continuing into a double-down on the promise to ban Muslim immigration, adding migrants from all countries who have any terrorist history to the prohibition, despite the fact that the Orlando murderer was born in New York.

We get it, he's a consummate attention-seeker, a loudmouth, a blowhard. As four-time bankrupt reality TV personality Donald Trump explained in his 1987 bestseller The Art of the Deal, "One thing I've learned about the press is that they're always hungry for a good story, and the more sensational the better ... If you do things that are bold or controversial, the press is going to write about you." But what might have been entertainingly outrageous when it sprung from the rubbery orifice of some ephemeral campaign novelty becomes downright terrifying when there's a real chance this guy could become the most powerful person in the world.

At his worst, America, this human Cheezel of yours makes Robert Mugabe seem palatable. Pro-torture, pro-gun, anti-free-speech. He calls Mexicans "criminals" and "rapists", says a US-born judge of Mexican ethnicity is biased against him, boasts about his penis size in debates, encourages violence against people protesting at his rallies, believes Barack Obama was born in Kenya, claims to have seen huge crowds celebrating 9/11 in New Jersey that literally no one else did, thinks Belgium is a city. On it goes. The guy is a rejected, absurdly overblown villain from a sloppily inked cartoon strip, made flesh.

This week he banned one of the world's finest newspapers, the Washington Post, from attending his events, the latest on a growing blacklist. He might know how to get media coverage, but when he doesn't like it, he has a solution: he's "going to open up the libel laws so that ... when they write hit pieces, we can sue them, and they can lose money."

But what's most worrying, America, is the nukes. On this I agree with Donald Trump, who said: "The biggest problem we have is nuclear, having some maniac, having some madman go out and get a nuclear weapon." Speaking for the world, we're worried about that, too, which is why we don't want him to have the opportunity to single-handedly order the world's biggest nuclear arsenal. And that's not hyperbole: in a long feature this week for Politico (another blacklisted publication) detailing the process by which a nuclear attack is launched, nuclear security expert Bruce G Blair writes that a President Trump "would be free to launch a civilisation-ending nuclear war on his own any time he chose".

You may say: come on, he'd obviously go to his advisers, seek guidance from experts - right? But as hot-tempered xenophobe and deeply vindictive person who could actually become president Donald Trump explained in his 1987 bestseller The Art of the Deal: "Committees are what insecure people create to put off making hard decisions." His overarching decision-making philosophy: "Listen to your gut."

Forgive me, forgive us all, for interfering in an election that is yours, but we don't want to have the future of the world at the mercy of Donald Trump's gut. Please.

The latest polls suggest, America, that you're cooling on the idea of a President Trump. As you-know-who explained in his 1987 bestseller The Art of the Deal, "You can't con people, at least not for long. You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion, you can get all kinds of press ... but if you don't deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on." You're no suckers.

But your old friends out here in the world thought we'd write all the same, because the polls have been volatile, and god only knows what kind of email-related catastrophe could yet derail the Hillary Clinton campaign. We're not all convinced about Clinton's suitability, but we are united in agreeing her most compelling and unanswerable asset is Not Being Donald Trump. We'll take anyone but Trump. We'd prefer a lamb casserole were president. Do we have a deal?

- NZ Herald

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Toby Manhire is a Wellington-bred, Auckland-based journalist.

Toby Manhire is a Wellington bred, Auckland based journalist. He writes a weekly column for the NZ Herald, the NZ Listener's Internaut column, blogs for, and contributes to the Guardian. From 2000 to 2010 he worked at the Guardian in London, and edited the 2012 book The Arab Spring: Rebellion, Revolution and a New World Order.

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