Presidents are often described as “bigger than life”. They seem to fill the room and eclipse everyone else. The way in which they carry themselves, the authority in their voice, their self- awareness, their self-confidence all combine to create an undeniable charisma. Even the most powerful business or political leaders are intimidated by the power of the presidency. Surrounded by the trappings of power; the Oval Office, the Secret Service, Air Force One, the military officer carrying the nuclear codes, it is hard not to be impressed. He is, after all, the most powerful man in the world and it cannot be denied that he wields enormous power. His words can send the stock markets plunging and nations cowering. Over the years the world has come to expect the president to use his power to promote peace and democracy. He is expected to be the voice that speaks against tyranny and in favor of freedom and justice. His hand should be raised in support of reason and moderation. The president is expected to reflect the highest level of morality and ethics. It is these expectations that have made the president the leader of our nation and of the free world. But what happens when the president does not meet these expectations? What happens when he equivocates on matters of freedom and justice? What happens when his voice is not raised for moderation and reason? What should we do when he doesn’t reflect the highest levels of ethics and morality? What shall the world expect when he does not speak loudly in support of peace and democracy? What happens when the president simply fails to meet these expectations.
These are the important questions that we are faced with today. Trump has failed to model what is best about America. He has failed to reflect the values, ethics and morals we have come to expect from our leader. He has failed to make clear the unflinching commitment to our allies that they have come to expect. He has been careless with his words and unclear regarding his loyalties. He has been ambiguous regarding his goals and inconsistent with his strategy. He has shown himself to be unworthy of our reverence but appropriately fearful of his irrational and blustery behavior.
Yet his behavior during this past weekend has reached a new low. His initial inability to cast blame on the White Supremacists, Nazis and Alt right groups for the tragedy of Charlottesville was shocking and appalling. His attempt to clean up his first statement on Monday was disheartening in its halfheartedness. But his remarks at a press conference on Tuesday, making it clear that he saw no distinction between the demonstrators and the counter-demonstartators was beyond dismaying. For a president of our country to draw equivalency between the two groups spoke volumes about his true beliefs. Those who have avoided calling him a racist and a xenophobe despite behavior and evidence to the contrary, can avoid it no longer. This is a president who is reflective of the worst of America.
Donald J. Trump has done more in just six months to denigrate the office of president than any in history. As a president he is neither feared nor revered. He has diminished the presidency in the eyes of both our allies and our adversaries. He has shown himself to be a man of little intellect, lacking in basic values and caring little for anything beyond himself and his family. In the past I have referred to him and his family as the Trump Family Grifters. He has never proven this fact more than through his words on Tuesday. Donald J. Trump is responsible for shrinking the presidency and doing great damage to our country. He is a disgrace and must be removed from office.