Tuesday, July 16, 2019 | 2 a.m.
Before he ran for president, Donald Trump spent decades being a loudmouthed critic of America and many of its citizens. It worked so well for him that in 2016, he turned his trash talk of the nation into the central theme of his campaign.
So if this raging hypocrite followed his own standards, he’d be on his way out of the country now that he’s condemning citizens who speak out about the country’s shortcomings.
This is a man who even as president has rarely gone a day without savaging Americans, their leaders, their cities or their institutions. Citizens who don’t agree with him are labeled losers, enemies of the nation, crooks and so forth. He describes the nation’s largest cities — and not coincidentally some of its brownest — as hell holes of crime and homelessness. He attacks people in his own Cabinet, who, by the way, he hand-selected.
Outside of his inner circle, hardly anyone escapes his ranting. Not veterans, not families of fallen soldiers, not the U.S. intelligence community, not the justice system and certainly not those he clearly considers inferior, including women, migrants and minorities.
That’s important to remember given his tweets and remarks over the past couple of days about several prominent women of color in the U.S. House of Representatives.
His behavior not only revealed a double standard, but once again showed the racism that festers at Trump’s core.
Trump’s father, who was arrested at a pro-KKK rally in New York, would no doubt be beaming with pride. The klansman’s son in the Oval Office is doing dad proud in trying to push minorities out of the country.
Then there’s Trump’s inexplicable anti-Semitism, not just for him but among his Jewish supporters who clearly can’t see or hear the bigot in their midst. Yet Trump’s anti-Jewish bias was on display for all the world to see when he supported the white nationalist thugs in Charlottesville, Va., who carried torches through the streets while chanting “Jews will not replace us.” Now comes his ugliness toward the lawmakers. It started with a tweetstorm Sunday in which Trump said they should return to “the places from which they came” — not only a shockingly un-American statement but an idiotic one as well, given that three of them were born here and the fourth came here as a young child. In an appearance Monday at the White House, Trump doubled down by claiming the congresswomen passionately “hate our country.”
Not only did that comment significantly misrepresent the lawmakers’ stated views, it was nonsense coming from a president who is institutionalizing hate in America. It would not be an understatement to say that hate has no bigger cheerleader than Trump.
Let’s be clear: When it comes to the congresswomen targeted by Trump, many Americans disagree with some or all of their views. But we don’t react with racism and tell them they should get out. That’s not how Americans treat their fellow citizens — we may argue, but we respect each other’s rights to hold viewpoints different than ours.
Now, however, we’re facing yet another insidious moment in a presidency full of them, with Trump trying desperately to tear Americans apart along racial and political lines.
If Trump understood or cared about the Constitution he is sworn to protect, he would know that criticizing and trying to make the nation better is the soul of being an American. Generations of our forebears have fought and died for our right to call out our nation’s flaws and demand that they be fixed.
Conversely, blindly obeying Trump or any other elected leader is the least American thing one can do. The notion of acquiescing to a Dear Leader wannabe like Trump runs completely contrary to our nation’s values.
As President Theodore Roosevelt once wrote in a newspaper column after he left office: “To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
Roosevelt wrote those words 101 years ago, but they ring as true as ever today as Americans deal with a divisive, racist president.