My name is Khan and I am no Trump

Recently, a popular American talk show host compared Imran Khan and the PTI's victory, with Donald Trump, and his rise to the US presidency. While some similarities do exist, the differences are significant and innumerable

Trevor Noah made many people laugh by highlighting the similarities between Imran Khan and Donald Trump. However, while his assessment was funny and he did point out some clear similarities between the two characters, in other regards the two men could not be more different. All influential and relatively successful people have certain commonalities, and similarities could be drawn between any such individuals. By the same logic, you could compare Imran with Steve Jobs, as they both are said to have unique ideas, both challenged the status quo in their respective fields and both made people think that the impossible is possible.

Trump had always been a businessman. Khan never was. Trump even wanted to run for President because he wanted to lose the election and use the fame that comes with it to start a TV channel. Khan popularised the concept of ‘conflict of interest’ in Pakistan, and even promised in his first address to the nation as Prime Minister that he would never do business for as long as he would be in office. Trump has made a mockery of the concept, and even tweeted against Nordstrom, when the retail store decided not to sell Ivanka Trump’s clothing line because of declining sales. Khan eats healthy and has a strict exercise routine. Trump eats cheeseburgers in the evening watching TV. While much of the similarities that Trevor Noah displayed are right, without knowing the background, it can lead to wrong conclusions. Khan has shown respect and support for the minorities of Pakistan, while Trump has insulted the minorities of America.

In the interest of honesty, both Khan and Trump have enjoyed trysts with beautiful women. Trump himself admitted to paying hush money to the pornstar Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal for their silence over their affair with him. After being elected, both Khan and Trump had to move out to public houses, which were inferior to their personal houses. Michael Wolff, in his book Fire and Fury, described Trump being upset about the White House not matching the luxury of his own residence at the Trump Tower. One morning, he woke up angry because the White House air conditioning wasn’t cool enough. Khan in his first address to the nation as Prime Minister, touched upon his wish to stay in Bani Gala, but relented due to threats to his life.

Trump likes to claim America First. Khan likes to think Pakistan First. For Trump, it’s a sales pitch, for Khan it is deeply rooted in his psyche, and much of his lifestyle and service to this nation are a testament to this belief

There are some similarities, which, as hinted above, lead to different conclusions. Trump likes to claim America First. Khan likes to think Pakistan First. For Trump, it’s a sales pitch, for Khan it is deeply rooted in his psyche, and much of his lifestyle and service to this nation are testament to this belief. Based on Trump’s actions and tweets that we have seen since he assumed the presidency, America First could potentially go down as the phoniest claim in the history of the United States. America First is delusional and rooted in lies and misunderstanding. If America first stood for fulfilling the desires of the American people, then we would have seen a reduction of taxes for low income households, and an increment for corporations and the elites. We know the reverse has happened under Trump. While Khan is the first Pakistani leader to have talked about climate change in his first address to the nation as Prime Minister, Trump proudly labels climate change as a hoax.

America First is delusional and rooted in lies and misunderstanding. If America first stood for fulfilling the desires of the American people, then we would have seen a reduction of taxes for low income households, and an increment for corporations and the elites. We know the reverse has happened under Trump

Both men advocate for better ties with their arch-enemies. Trump’s desire for better ties with Russia as many believe and highlighted in detail in the book Fire and Fury, may be driven by accusations that the Russians are blackmailing him with evidence of certain inappropriate acts perpetrated by Trump. Khan also hinted at his commitment to improve ties with India. And while Khan allegedly had girlfriends in the Indian movie industry, his advocacy is not driven by compromising videos.

The interaction between the two is hard to predict. Both are known to have a tendency to behave unpredictably. If the two run into each other on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York in September, it is hard to predict the outcome. Both men are full of themselves. Both have been the centre of attention almost all their adult lives. Khan is a bigger celebrity than Trump in their respective countries, but Trump is the most powerful man on earth at the moment, and this further complicated by the fractured relationship between the two nations. Both men will deliver a speech vehemently defending their respective nations. Trump will most probably have impeachment and the midterm elections on his mind, while Khan would be focused on the challenges of his nascent administration and his country’s place in the world.

The writer is a political analyst. He can be reached at imran.jan@gmail.com. Twitter @Imran_Jan

Published in Daily Times, September 11th 2018.