A friend asked me a difficult question. A question I initially answered badly. The question was, “What can Trump do to change your mind about him?” I immediately answered “nothing!” It was, I think, a bad way to answer the question. Trump, as a person, can do nothing to change my mind about him. I believe him to be an incorrigible narcissist with very serious mental stability issues bordering on psychosis. That impression won’t change. That being said, there are things Trump can do to mitigate my misgivings about his ability to govern.
It should be obvious that being president and governance doesn’t involve just “one thing.” Being the leader of our country and indeed, the leader of the entire free world requires that person to have a grasp of American and global social and economic issues, a firm understanding of America’s place in the world, a reasonable familiarity with foreign and global political issues and an ability to adapt to a rapidly changing global landscape. In addition to all of that, our leader has to bring to the job with him or her viable solutions to the problems we face here at home and issues we must confront abroad. Finally, as president, our leader must understand that he or she is the president of the entire country which includes those who did not vote for them. In turn that means that their solutions, proposals and orders must be for the good of and benefit of their supporters, yes, but even his or her political adversaries.
So, what can Trump do to change my mind and ease my fears about his reckless behavior? As a matter of fact, I do have a list. Before I address this list, I must say that I am beyond skeptical of his ability or willingness to address even one of the several requirements I have. That being said, however, I will have no trouble publically reversing my resistance to his presidency if by some miracle he should satisfy all of the requirements on my list. I use the word “requirements” because they represent significant changes in behavior and policy and most (not all) are non-negotiable.
- The president should Stop Lying! His latest lie was that his inauguration was attended by record setting crowds. (“record setting” equaling “yuge” crowds) If he hadn’t brought up the subject only his most petty and bitter contrarian opponents would have even mentioned it. Instead, he sends his press secretary to “set the record straight!” Obama isn’t the “founder” of ISIS, Ted Cruz’s father didn’t conspire to kill Kennedy and the crowds at his inauguration weren’t “record setting!” Stop Lying!
- The president should understand that Twitter ISN’T a tool of statecraft. He should stop “tweeting” every time some congressperson or senator says or does something that displeases him. Twitter is a social media device not a United Nations platform or political sounding board. It is not possible to convey a message of ANY complexity in 140 characters.
- The president must release his taxes. Until he does release his taxes, his political opponents, who include me, will always believe that he has something to hide.
- The president MUST put ALL of his assets and business holdings into a true blind trust. This will also require the president to relinquish his position as executive producer of “The Apprentice.” This just isn’t debatable. Until the president does this, I and millions of others will be calling for his impeachment.
- The president must withdraw or replace the nominations of the following cabinet members:
Rex Tillerson Secretary of State
Andrew Puzder Secretary of Labor
Scott Pruitt Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
Ben Carson Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Steven Mnuchin Treasury Secretary
Tom Price Health and Human Services Secretary
Betsy DeVos Education Secretary
Jeff Sessions Attorney General
Michael Flynn National Security Adviser
Steve Bannon Senior Counselor to the President
The nomination of Goldman Sachs executives, Exxon executives, congressional leaders with questionable ethics, a variety of high dollar campaign contributors and public figures who have formerly lobbied and fought against the very offices they’re nominated to and the millionaires and billionaires so far nominated calls into question whether or not the president has any regard for the average American citizen. These people don’t represent the American people; they are the very definition of “elitests.”
- The president should end his war with main stream media. The free press is one of the reasons he became president in the first place. In such a dispute and by trying to muzzle and isolate the press there can be no good outcome.
- If the president has nothing to hide regarding his relationship with Russia and specifically Vladimir Putin, he must insist on a completely independent investigation. The stain of possible interference and influence by a foreign power only serves to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the person holding the highest office in our land.
So there it is. If Trump stops lying, stops tweeting, releases his taxes, puts his business holdings in a blind trust, withdraws a few (10 actually) nominations, stops fighting with the press and allows an investigation into the Russian connection I will cease to be member of the resistance movement and I will publicly recant my criticisms of him on those seven issues. Now, what do you suppose are the chances that will happen?
Have I forgotten that our president is surely a racist and misogynist? No. I didn’t say I would support him. That will never happen. I just won’t be so publicly critical. I’ll go on with my life and build something nice in my woodshop and when the next election cycles in I’ll do everything in my power to elect a real American public servant, not an American tyrant.