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An open letter to President Trump

By Alon Ben-Meir - posted Thursday, 31 August 2017


I find it extremely hard to call you "President Trump" because sadly for America, you neither act like a president nor speak like one. You neither have the moral authority that a president needs to project, nor the courage of one. You have neither the vision of an enlightened president, nor the diplomatic savvy of one. You have neither the capacity to lead the nation as president, nor the competence of one. You have neither the credibility that the president must enjoy, nor the ability to get things done. You have neither the stability that the president must demonstrate, nor the consistency of one. You do not have the country's interest at heart like a president, nor the grasp of what America's role in world is all about. Here is why.

Your statement about the events in Charlottesville was appalling. There is no moral equivalency between white supremacists, Nazis, and the KKK, and law-abiding citizens who want to preserve America's moral values, freedom, decency, and tolerance. You callously stated that there were "some very fine people on both sides", which outraged Democrats and Republicans alike. Mr. Trump, there is only one side: the one of bigots and racists.

You have made a mockery of the judiciary, rebuking judges for doing what is constitutionally required of them; you doubt the judgment and competence of judges because of their ethnic backgrounds, and you questioned the courts' legal decisions because they did not suit your desired outcome. To be sure, you want and believe you have the right to operate above the law, and find it strange that the judiciary is independent and not even the president can bend the law. Your most recent egregious contempt for our judiciary was pardoning an open racist such as former Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was found guilty of criminal contempt for violating the constitution by using racial profiling to jail Latinos.

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You have made lying an art form. Between January 21st and July 19th of this year, you have lied 113 times, believing that if you repeat these lies time and again, they will eventually sink in as the truth in the public's mind. Your credibility, however, is shot, and only a fool can trust a word you say.

You constantly label any news which is not to your liking as "fake news," but you thrive on press coverage to satisfy your insatiable lust for self-aggrandizement. Your relentless charges against the media, accusing them of spreading fake news, opens the door for violence against reporters while you try to obscure your own false public statements.

You are a dictator in soul and spirit. No wonder you embrace despots like Russia's Putin, Turkey's Erdogan, and the Philippines' Duterte. You envy them for they can purge and rampage their country with impunity, and you can't. When things do not go your way, you become enraged, vindictive, and mean.

Your efforts to limit immigration to the US defies the aspirations of millions who want to realize the American dream. This is the land of immigrants, the melting pot that makes America unique. It is the riches of the newcomers, their cultural diversity, scientific achievements, experiences, and collective ingenuity that made America second to none. America is already great, and you have nothing to offer that can make it greater.

You systematically undermine the intelligence community that has performed admirably over the years, only because they concluded that Russia meddled in the 2016 election on your behalf. You have and continue to demoralize the most loyal men and women who dedicate their lives to serve the nation, and on whom our national security depends.

Whereas you praise American soldiers fighting to protect our country and preserve our freedom and democracy, you arbitrarily ban transgender soldiers who have sacrificed no less than any other solider-possibly even more so due to the difficulties they face.

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Contrary to your promises to aid the poor, the sick, and the despondent, you shamefully proposed a budget that would cut over the next decade more than $800 billion from Medicaid, $192 billion from nutritional assistance (including Meals on Wheels), and $272 billion overall from welfare programs, not to speak of your reprehensible proposal to cut more than $72 billion from the disability benefit upon which millions of Americans rely-yet you demand billions to build a useless wall along the Mexican border.

You are narcissistic, self-absorbed, and selfish, constantly seeking glamor and adulation; you will go to any length to show off your riches but are afraid to release your tax returns, fearful of what they may reveal about your shady business deals. You do not want the nation to discover the little or no taxes you have paid, how illegitimate many of your business transactions were, and what is in fact your true wealth.

After eight months in office you have failed to pass any significant legislation, blaming everyone but yourself for your inability to realize any of your campaign promises, including an infrastructure bill, tax reform, and even repealing and replacing Obama's healthcare program, which you made a top priority.

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About the Author

Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies.

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