I gave Donald Trump a chance. Honestly.
On November 9, the day after election day, I reminded myself that Trump was a Democrat for many years. I reminded myself that despite his erratic and revenge-fueled personality, he would be surrounded by a cabal of advisors to talk him out of his most ill-advised, insecurity-driven attempts to lash out with the full might of the Presidency. I reminded myself that despite initially appearing in favor of it, Trump was a staunch critic of the war in Iraq for many years. There’s even quotes like this from his history:
“I think it’s important for gay couples who are committed to each other to not be hassled when it comes to inheritance, insurance benefits, and other simple everyday rights.”
(He would later recant and state he’s against civil benefits for gay couples, because as we all know Trump is both for and against everything and nothing.)
After the election Trump gave a fairly gracious victory speech and said some nice things about Hillary Clinton and President Obama. For a fleeting moment I thought that maybe, just maybe, despite his dozens of disqualifying, horrifying statements on the campaign trail, Trump would govern with poise and wisdom.
I gave him a chance. And then the news started coming in.
November 10: President-Elect Trump personally whines about “unfair” protests.
November 11: President-Elect Trump fills his transition team with lobbyists.
November 13: President-Elect Trump says he ‘never said’ more countries should have nuclear weapons. He did. This is literally a lie, told boldly and openly, by the incoming President.
November 13: Trump and his aides were unaware that the entire White House staff has to be replaced.
November 14: President-Elect Trump names known bigot Steve Bannon Senior Strategist.
“That’s one of the unintended consequences of the women’s liberation movement––that, in fact, the women that would lead this country would be feminine, they would be pro-family, they would have husbands, they would love their children. They wouldn’t be a bunch of dykes that came from the 7 Sisters schools.” – White House Senior Strategist Steve Bannon.
November 15: President-Elect Trump nominates a climate change denier with no science degree and no climate science qualifications to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
November 16: Trump transition team is thrown into chaos by firings and in-fighting, leading to significant anxiety about whether they will be able to form a Government by January 20.
- Some national security transition team members have openly consulted for foreign governments and corporations.
- All of Trump’s children and his Son-in-Law are on the core transition team despite no qualifications, alongside congressmen and governors, raising concerns of (potentially illegal) nepotism.
- Heads of State including Israel’s Prime Minister and Egypt’s President and simply calling the Trump Tower switchboard itself to attempt to speak with President-Elect Trump.
November 16: The President-Elect denies well-sourced reporting on the chaotic, unprofessional transition, calling it ‘inaccurate’ with no evidence.
November 16: The State Department, National Security Council, and Pentagon report still having not received important communications from the Trump Transition team, raising more questions about their understanding of how to build a Government.
November 17: Trump personally took credit for stopping a Ford plant from moving to Mexico. The plant had no plans to move.
November 17: President-Elect Trump names Michael Flynn National Security Advisor. A Democrat, Flynn is widely known for literally and openly making up facts, and was fired from his job as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency
November 17: President-Elect Trump picks known racist Jeff Sessions for Attorney General.
- Called the A.C.L.U. “un-American”
- Joked that the KKK was “OK until I found out they smoked pot.”
November 18: President-Elect Trump is urging his 35-year-old Son-in-Law to take on a senior role at the White House, despite ethics lawyers in both parties noting that the move is flatly illegal, violating nepotism laws.
November 19: After vowing to ‘Never Settle’, President-Elect Trump agrees to $25 million settlement for his fraudulent Trump University. He takes to Twitter to get the last word.
November 19: President-Elect Trump calls the Hamilton cast’s exceedingly polite and respectful message to Mike Pence ‘harassment.’
November 19: President-Elect Trump openly meets with three Indian business partners in his Trump tower suite. The three told the press they intend to expand their partnership with the Trump Org now that he is President.
November 20: President-Elect Trump personally whines about SNL’s jokes about him, making the office of the President appear small and insecure.
This lists leaves off Trump’s unprofessional behavior like referring to his cabinet picks as “finalists,” lending to the circus-like “reality show” feeling of the transition (and further demeaning the office), as well as his daughter Ivanka sitting in on President-Elect Trump meeting with Japan’s Prime Minister.
I left these off because I’m trying hard to only include moments that genuinely count, in my view, as a lost opportunity to truly unify and govern with dignity, class, and wisdom. The ‘finalists’ comment is a Biden-level goof, and Ivanka’s access at a fairly informal meeting, while troubling, doesn’t strike me as particularly different than Michelle Obama sitting in on an initial meet and greet.
Lastly, I left off anything I didn’t like for political reasons. He wants to overturn Roe v. Wade. He wants to name a hard-line Republican as head of the CIA. These are things I find scary… in some instances much, much scarier than what’s above. But they don’t disqualify someone to be President. The winner of the election gets to change things.
The 17 examples above? They do disqualify you. They are all completely non-political. I don’t push back against Kushner because he’s inexperienced. I push back because his appointment is openly illegal. I don’t push back against Flynn because of his hard-line stance on Muslims. I push back because he openly spouts lies that are easily and often refuted.
Donald Trump deserves no more chances. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Note: I’m mostly linking to the New York Times because I like the New York Times. If you don’t, feel free to substitute these links for your outlet of choice. All of these stories are widely reported and well-sourced and are matters of fact, not opinion or speculation.
Anything I missed? Leave a comment or Tweet and let me know.