Why Trump is unfit to be president

The election of Donald Trump was an anti-democratic act of supreme treason. I am a sternly moralist who, when my soldiers were killed for their national allegiance, would myself confess my deep regret. But I could never excuse such an act, and I will not.

If Donald Trump is to be so, he is a candidate unworthy of the presidency. His political demagoguery and flamboyant offensive rhetoric frequently belong in opposition, not in the chief executive’s office.

Is he a leopard that can’t change his spots? To be sure, his campaign differs substantially from those of John McCain, George W. Bush, Bob Dole, and Mitt Romney, who ran for president. Trump has come far in political peroxide.

He has embraced an unprincipled ethno-nationalism. He has consistently promoted bigotry, arguing that a liberal immigration policy is actually an impediment to survival for white Christians. He has emboldened demagogues.

But Donald Trump’s continued acts of anti-democratic thuggery signal that his vision of governance extends beyond inflammatory rhetoric. After all, he has reveled in the violation of democratic standards and should be forthright in admitting that he violates them.

In June, when multiple studies revealed that he had been wrong about the size of his inauguration crowd, he took to Twitter to rail against “professional protesters.” Perhaps he did not mean the peaceful marchers for electoral reform in Philadelphia, but it’s hard to believe he didn’t. For years, Trump has leaked intelligence community information that is neither confidential nor in keeping with the norms of democratic conduct.

He repeatedly undermined the integrity of the judiciary, not for the sake of protecting national security, but as an expression of the sort of retrograde thinking that views constitutional or legal standing as an inducement to obedience. A president who undermines the vitality of the judicial branch is a candidate unworthy of this office.

Trump has demanded loyalty from individuals who once served under him. He even forced national security adviser Michael Flynn, whose self-described ignorance about Russians offered all the warning signs that the Russians might be in the Kremlin’s pocket, to resign. If he thought Flynn was not fit to be the national security adviser, he should have never appointed him.

To his base, Trump is a single-minded warrior against enemies — “the enemy within” as he prefers to call it. To me, America’s enemies aren’t imaginary, and they are real. The threats to America are right in front of us: Putin’s Russia, terrorists with nuclear ambitions, and the existential threats posed by climate change and the destruction of life on earth.

It makes no sense to speak of fighting Russian “propaganda” because Trump’s own propagandistic media have demonstrably used the same tactics and content to promote conflict. To do so legitimizes their tactics and feeds the hate they inspire. Trump is falsely claiming to be a defender of the First Amendment when he is doing his best to undermine that very right and political system on which so much depends.

During the presidential campaign, Trump had a habit of advancing himself as a founding father of a political party. When he became president, he renounced party affiliation for his own personal use. He wrote countless Twitter messages that clearly suggested he has never accepted party affiliation. His ideas have been soundly rejected by Republican voters. What is he doing to convince them that he’s anyone but a self-promoter? He has been head-butting the Republican establishment in Congress, seeking at every turn to push the party to the right. For his own perverse reasons, he has been supportive of congressional Republicans’ congressional health care bill, which would make the GOP’s pledge to repeal Obamacare meaningless. He has even backed the party on accepting illegal immigrants even as he rips into them for doing so.

The truth is that Donald Trump is already a candidate who serves no purpose but his own. No opposition party can be sustainable as long as that person occupies the White House. When a president appears simply to serve his own interests, and just as clearly to violate the ideals of our constitutional government, democratic norms of bipartisanship, and basic democratic decency, those standards have no place in a real democracy.

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George Washington

President and political leader of the United States of America.