This is the ninth and last in my series of “Letters to a Trump Supporter,” from correspondence with a family friend who supports Mr. Trump.
Yesterday, I addressed Hillary Clinton’s character. Today, I will address Donald Trump’s.
It’s hard to know where to begin. I have received so many defenses of Mr. Trump’s character, and not one of them makes a bit of sense.
Below is a compilation of my responses.
Dear Mr. ——,
There are so many negative stories about Donald Trump that it’s mind-boggling how such a person could be allowed to reach a position of importance in our society. Here are just a few of these stories:
- “Ex-Trump Employee Speaks Out on His Treatment of Women“
- “Donald Trump Says He Treats His Employees ‘Really Good with Health Care’ — So We Asked Them If It Was True“
- “Ivanka Trump Claims Donald Trump Provides Paid Family Leave, Trump Employees Say, No He Doesn’t“
- “Hundreds Allege Donald Trump Doesn’t Pay His Bills“
- “Here Are 13 Examples of Donald Trump Being Racist“
- “Ex-Trump Workers Describe Egocentric Micromanager: ‘Donald Loves Donald’“
- “Hundreds of Donald Trump’s Employees Have Sued for Alleged Labor Infractions“
- “Donald Trump Says He Gives His Workers Child Care. His Workers Say That’s Baloney.“
- “Trump’s Employees Have Sued Over Sexual Harassment“
- “The Many Scandals of Donald Trump: A Cheat Sheet“
- “Trump Boasts of Rapport with Wall St., but the Feeling Is Not Quite Mutual“
- “What Does the Business World Really Think of Donald Trump?“
- “Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter Tells All“
- “Crossing the Line: How Donald Trump Behaved With Women in Private“
Importantly, we knew all of these horrible things long before over a dozen women accused him of sexual assault and rape.
And, contrary to what Trump supporters have told me, this isn’t just about his private morality. It’s about his public morality. He doesn’t just say vulgar things behind the scenes. He says them on the national stage, and he doesn’t regret it. He insults millions of Americans everyday. He’s not fit to be the leader of our people, and we’ve known it from the very beginning. Hillary Clinton would never, ever have implied that most Mexican immigrants were rapists and murderers. Donald Trump did it on day one of his campaign. That’s the difference.
Consider the following public utterances:
- He called one woman “a disgusting person inside and out” and a “slob” with a “fat, ugly face,” and he called her “a big, fat pig” and a “disgusting pig.”
- He called another woman “a dog.”
- He said another woman had the “face of a dog.”
- On national television, he told a woman it would be a “pretty picture” to see her on her knees.
- He called another woman “grotesque.”
- He said it was “disgusting” that a mother had to breastfeed her child.
- He said, referring to one specific woman, that he likes “girls that are 5-foot-1” because they “come up to you know where.”
- He said one woman’s breasts looked “like two lightbulbs coming out of her body.”
- He said it doesn’t matter “if a girl can play a violin like the greatest violinist in the world. You want to know what does she look like.”
- And of course, there was the moment when he implied, with absolutely zero evidence, that Ted Cruz’s wife was cheating on him.
Now, the thing I have trouble understanding is why Trump supporters are more appalled by anything Hillary Clinton has said than they are by these comments. More specifically, should you and I allow Donald Trump to talk to women that way? Should we support him calling our mothers and daughters and wives and girlfriends slobs and pigs and dogs and fat and disgusting?
What would you do if a man said that to your mother? What if he said it to your wife?
You wouldn’t want that man to be your friend. That’s for damn sure. And you wouldn’t want him to be president either.
But that doesn’t seem to matter. Because you think the country is falling apart, and he’s the only one who can save us. “It’s Trump, or it’s the end of America.“ That’s what you’ve told me.
Well, I’m not sure what America you’re living in. Because it doesn’t sound anything like the America I know.
The America I know has the highest economic output of any country in the world, 70 percent more than the next largest economy.
The America I know has over 40 percent of the world’s wealth, four times the next richest country.
The America I know has outpaced the rest of the developed world in economic growth and job growth since Barack Obama took office in the depths of the Great Recession.
The America I know has cut violent crime and murder rates in half since the early 1990s.
The America I know has the world’s largest military, equivalent to the next seven largest countries combined.
The America I know is widely viewed more positively overseas than it was eight years ago.
The America I know exists in a world where violence has been declining dramatically for centuries.
The America I know is doing so well that over half of its citizens approve of their current president’s job performance, higher than Ronald Reagan’s approval at the end of his presidency.
The bottom line is that we live in the safest, richest, most powerful country in the history of the world. It would be unfathomably irresponsible to overthrow a system that has worked so well for so many for so long.
What should concern you is the fact that Trump supporters are now saying that they’re going to intimidate voters the way white Americans used to intimidate black voters in the South during the Jim Crow era. They’re saying they’re going to start a violent revolution.
They’re calling for Hillary Clinton to be murdered.
This is literally what they’ve been saying at Trump rallies.
And that’s because they’ve been told, by Donald Trump, that minority voters are “rigging the election” (which is basically impossible, by the way).
This is dangerous.
This is anti-democratic.
This is un-American.
And it should scare us all that Mr. Trump is threatening our lives with this rhetoric.
Donald Trump is playing a word association game designed to make you scared and angry, and he’s hoping you won’t notice that he’s completely full of crap. He regularly changes his policy positions, even on the issues that seem to be most important to him. Here’s a list to give you a sense of how often he goes back on his word.
Even by the typical standards of American politics, this is extreme. I don’t know of any politician who changes their policy positions this often. It’s literally impossible to know what, if anything, Donald Trump actually believes.
But when you read all those stories about his character and his behavior, it makes complete sense that he doesn’t have any policy positions that he really believes in. After all, he doesn’t actually know much about public policy, and he doesn’t seem to care about anything but his own ego. He just says whatever gets him attention.
As someone who’s dedicated his career to public policy, I am continually astonished that voters are willing to elect people with little, if any, understanding of public policy. We wouldn’t want a brain surgeon operating on us if they don’t know anything about medicine, and we shouldn’t elect a policymaker who doesn’t know anything about public policy.
Our government is full of smart, kind, brave men and women who have dedicated their lives to making this country a better place, and I am tired of ignorant malcontents like Donald Trump treating them with such petty, unsubstantiated, arrogant disrespect.
We have real problems in this country, and Donald Trump hasn’t proposed a workable solution to any of them. Hillary Clinton has offered long, detailed, well-researched, carefully-considered plans to address the challenges we face, and Donald Trump has replied with mocking, belittling, rambling, and zero concrete, politically feasible ideas.
If you were an investor and you were considering their “business plans” side-by-side, there wouldn’t even be a contest. As a businessman, you know that you would never bet on someone with no experience and no plan. As a voter, I beg you to apply the same standard.
The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not reflect in any way those of the USC Bedrosian Center.