by Kevin Copp ’18
Presidential behavior is often controversial. There are questions and discussions about what is acceptable for the commander-in-chief to say and do. Such talking points can arise from issues as large as foreign policy to as small as what color suit the president wears. Yet despite how heated the conversation might become, it is almost always assumed that the president has the best interests of his country in mind. With the ascension of Donald Trump to the presidency and his continual use of divisive rhetoric, such an assumption is no longer valid. The world must firmly acknowledge Trump’s unwillingness to unite America and his determination to promote his own skewed personal agenda.
Trump ran his campaign on lofty promises without specifying the concrete measures he would take to reach his goals. There would be no more crime, no more debt, and no more crooked politicians making a living out of lying to Americans. Trump promised he would drain the swamp and always put America first.
Even after taking office, Trump continued to suggest that he would get rid of all the elements that were dragging America down—too many immigrants, too much healthcare, too much recognition of climate change—and save it from the wayward path it had been traversing.
Although there have been hundreds of clues and hints along the way, the sources of Trump’s motivation are now decidedly clear: his egotism and his desire to see himself celebrated.
Think of the numerous times Trump has attacked the media or a specific news outlet or journalist. It has always come after they have criticized him. And why does Trump continue to applaud Fox News and appear on their shows? Because they are the least critical of him, and Trump thinks this means that they are least likely to turn on him or embarrass him.
When Trump realized the media would not refrain from critiquing him just because of his position, he knew he would need a strategy that would allow him to continue to pump up his accomplishments and minimize his deficiencies. So he continued the technique that brought him into the White House—attacking anyone and everyone who did not conform to his worldview or dared to criticize him. From the mayor of London, after a terrorist attack, to Meryl Streep, and the mayor of San Juan, after a devastating hurricane, to Pope Francis, Trump has spared few from his Twitter rants.
His comments against NFL players who kneel for the national anthem have shown how far he will go to protect his own image. He has chosen to appeal to right wing conservatives by calling NFL players exercising their rights protected by the Constitution “SOBs”. A president who truly cared for the fate of the American people would not admonish and embarrass his citizens for speaking up for themselves. He would try to understand the issue and what these citizens want to change. He would try to be a constructive leader, someone who works to improve society. Trump has demonstrated that this is not his priority.
United we stand, divided we fall. Donald Trump has only accelerated our nation’s leaning, bringing us closer and closer to toppling.