It is a meeting of minds and souls. The much-reviled Donald Trump has made a new transatlantic buddy in the much-reviled British reality star turned trolling-dependent newspaper columnist Katie Hopkins.
As British TV presenter Alex Brooker noted, it felt like that bit in Ghostbusters when Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis come together, transformed into the Gatekeeper and Keymaster, to wreak apocalyptic havoc on New York.
Oh OK, just for you.
Although politicians and public figures have heaped derision on Donald Trump’s suggestions that Muslims be banned from entering the US and that British policemen are too frightened to patrol in Muslim areas, Hopkins has rushed to his defense.
In her Daily Mail column, Hopkins—who became first famous as a bitchy contestant in the 2007 season of the UK Apprentice, removing herself dramatically from the contest near its end—said the U.S. craved leadership. “They didn’t get from dreary Obama. He makes me want to wrap a suicide vest around my head and text BOOM to my brain.”
Lovely image, right? Hopkins is an, ermm, exploding landmine of them. She is most notorious for a column in the Sun, published in April, demanding gunships be deployed to prevent migrants—who she compared to cockroaches—in boats reaching safety.
She began the column, published in the same week 400 people were feared drowned in the Mediterranean after their boat capsized, by saying she couldn’t care less if migrants died: “No, I don’t care. Show me pictures of coffins, show me bodies floating in water, play violins and show me skinny people looking sad. I still don’t care.”
Her thesis developed thus: “What we need are gunships sending these boats back to their own country. You want to make a better life for yourself? Then you had better get creative in Northern Africa…
“Make no mistake, these migrants are like cockroaches. They might look a bit “Bob Geldof’s Ethiopia circa 1984”, but they are built to survive a nuclear bomb. They are survivors.
“Once gunships have driven them back to their shores, boats need to be confiscated and burned on a huge bonfire.”
For Hopkins, around the issues surrounding radical Islam, “Trump IS providing leadership. He knows some of his grand-standing is hot air. But he is articulating a sentiment held by millions and reinforcing himself as a protector of the American people…
“I hear cries that he is a blithering idiot. I have often been called a deranged fool. But if this were true you could ignore me, ignore us, imaging the two of us shouting naked at the rain.
“It’s because we articulate sentiments repressed by the politically correct consensus that we have a voice.”
The petition to ban Trump from the UK has so far garnered 460,960 signatures, and—having passed the 100,000 mark—will now be considered for parliamentary debate. It is the most popular ever campaign on the Government’s website.
Of course, like her new pal, Hopkins is a petition subject veteran—over 300,000 signed one to get her removed from being a columnist on the Sun, after her column on migrants.
A follow-up petition in September to swap Hopkins—who, the petition proposed, be sent to Syria—for 50,000 migrants attracted over 60,000 signatures.
Like Trump, Hopkins does now bow to pressure or criticism. Instead, like him, opprobrium and condemnation is her preferred fertilizer; the mass derision that follows her pronouncements is mere catnip.
Like Trump, Hopkins is steadfast in her belief that she speaks for a supposed silent, muffled majority, and so onward she must trumpet, saying the unsayable.
On Thursday morning, Hopkins also appeared on Fox and Friends, claiming a quarter of British people were behind Trump, and 60 per cent of right-wing political party UKIP supported his views, although UKIP leader Nigel Farage called Trump’s Muslim ban idea “a political mistake too far.”
Hopkins told Fox and Friends, implausibly, that Britain was being “ripped apart,” thanks to a “message saying ‘Multicultural, we love it…there is no Islamophobia here.’”
“The truth,” she stated, was very different: there were streets she was afraid to walk down (she didn’t say if this was because of race, or because her inflammatory screeds attract such regular condemnation); there were areas that were “completely Muslim,” patrolled by groups saying “Keep out.”
Hopkins recommended Americans look at Germany, under Angela Merkel’s leadership, where there were, she said, one million migrants, “200,000 probably not accounted for,” while in Britain police officers were too afraid to wear even half-uniforms in certain areas.
Trump repaid Hopkins’s support fulsomely, calling her a ‘respected columnist’—which set off another round of national snorting in the UK. Hopkins is a shrill fountain of virulent, reactionary prejudice. Many see her, as many see Trump in the U.S., as an alarming circus act.
But Trump wasn’t done. He took Hopkins’s endorsement as a sign that many in the UK agreed with him.
Trump and Hopkins are both not known for backing down from their extreme views, and sure enough his response to the petition to prevent him entry to the UK merely offered him an opportunity to say how wrong Britain was on the issue.
Hopkins too has remained on Twitter, flagging up support for herself and Trump. She, like him, is a proud controversialist, and never happier when causing a ruckus near a camera and lights.
As well as appearing on Celebrity Big Brother—where she had a succession of blow-ups with gossip maven Perez Hilton—Hopkins also relishes insulting people on daytime television, most notoriously in one discussion about why she thought children named ‘Tyler,’ ‘Charmaine,’ and ‘Chardonnay’ were lower class, who she wouldn’t want her own children to play with.
This encounter did, however, offer the memorable moment of Hopkins decrying those who named their children after geographical areas—Brooklyn, London—before being reminded by the presenter that her own daughter was called India.
There are also people Hopkins deems too fat to work. Observing the person alongside her who claimed there was ‘fat-ism,’ Hopkins said, “Would I want to put someone in front of a client like this?” Fat people, for Hopkins, could not be “dynamic, disciplined and highly efficient.”
Fat people set terrible examples to children too, Hopkins said, in another garrulous sortie—“enough of support,” she sneered of the notion of supporting fat people, “time to get disciplined, and time to realize fat is not best.”
Weight appears to be a bit of an obsession for her. Another time, Hopkins gained four stone to show that putting weight on, and losing it, was up to the individual—and that fat people were simply “lazy.” This exercise was mocked when she appeared on TV show, Celebrity Juice.
“Do you not lose loads and loads of weight because most of your shit comes out the front?” asked panelist Chris Ramsey.
Heaven help anyone with tattoos, too. “If you have a tattoo you really have to wonder what future you have ahead of you,” Hopkins said. “Who wants to see graffiti?” For Hopkins, tattoos signal someone looking for attention who had not found it “in a conventional way,” and was “just shouting.” (Unlike her very literal shouting, obviously.)
Still, Hopkins can get served herself on occasion—as when another columnist questioned her contention that other women were jealous of her. Perhaps their beef with Hopkins was that she was “reprehensible,” Sonia Poulton ventured.
But perhaps the most effective, and devastating repudiation Hopkins has faced was the antithesis of all the bluster she brings into the world.
Last month, footage emerged of a large group of Brunel University students first turning their backs on Hopkins, then silently leaving the room after she had opined about Britons’ lack of neighborliness, and her lack of belief in a free-at-point-of-access NHS, and welfare provision for pensioners.
As the exodus unfolded, Hopkins was uncharacteristically silent.