Half of me never wants to write or speak the name Trump again. Half of me wants to finish the work I started nearly four years ago: to use my 750 words in this newspaper to speak to the issue of our time, the ongoing incompetence of the Trump administration. Apparently my second half is Trumping my first half, at least this week.
I tried over and over again to stand in others’ shoes, to imagine how readers who clearly are informed and patriotic could support a leader who freely lies and then lies about lying, who cheats and who is willing to abuse the majesty of the presidency for his personal gain. I understand when a reader praises his peace initiative between Israel and the UAE, or the Warp Speed vaccination program. Well done, Mr. President. But none of this comes close to compensating for all we’ve lost here at home, and across the world.
Responding to a column about Trump’s bad behavior, some readers digress to Cuomo and Clinton, with references to their lapses. But they aren’t in the White House. Does the fact that Hillary Clinton either did or did not use a personal e-mail account have anything to do with Donald Trump’s misogyny and racism? Were Cuomo’s people speaking to Russian operatives before his election?
Perhaps you have loved ones and friends who have died of Covid-19. We have, and we are living the same masked and socially distanced life that so many of you are. This is our war, and we pull together to protect one another.
Do we just let go the fact that Trump, back in January, was in the singular position to organize a cohesive national response to what he knew was a surging global pandemic? Do we forgive and forget 270,000 dead Americans? Do we let go of the tragedy that thousands died because the president decided to keep the pertinent information about the deadly virus a secret? How can we forgive the delay in ramping up manufacturing of masks and gloves and ventilators?
Even if we accept that which we cannot change, how do we accept his present shenanigans — the comments and behavior of the outgoing president in the face of his clear defeat to Joe Biden? The man is still raving, hurling false accusations and conjuring imaginary frauds perpetrated against his campaign. Dozens of frivolous lawsuits have fizzled to nothing. The courts are upholding the integrity of the election, and yet the sitting president says he won’t concede, and may or may not agree to attend the inauguration or welcome the new president to the White House.
We have a leader who fiddles while the pandemic burns across the land. Every single day we are paying the price for electing him to office.
This will all go away after the inauguration, I suppose, as Biden takes office. But what to do with the Donald? Reports abound that he is the subject of investigations in D.C. and New York.
Trump has been pardoning himself since he stepped into the presidency, so more pardoning will not be a surprise. The question is, how aggressive will authorities be in prosecuting him for his alleged misdeeds? Biden should not be asked this question, and certainly he should not answer it. Unlike his predecessor, he knows that executive power stops at the doors to the Justice Department.
We teach our children that actions have consequences, and that bad actions may lead to punishment or sanctions. It must be the same for the president. I don’t think it serves our country to be in forgive-and-forget mode. We cannot let Trump slide into his next incarnation with impunity. We cannot give him a pass if he has actually broken laws that he swore to uphold.
He may be unsavory and duplicitous and, frankly, incapable of being president, but none of that is illegal. Let the investigations run their course. If we are a country of laws, then so be it, for everyone. If the legal eagles find no cause to pursue prosecution, then so be it. Should charges be brought, let Trump have his day in court. This is not to humble the man, but to heal the country.
Copyright 2020 Randi Kreiss. Randi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.