Donald Trump’s faults are legion. But which ones are truly awful?
A crass womanizer who brags about his penis. But wait a minute. Lyndon B. Johnson was vulgar and crude and crass and a womanizer – and LBJ was easily eclipsed as a womanizer by John F. Kennedy.
A bigot who attacks Mexican immigrants and Muslims among other “undesirables.” But wait a minute. Richard Nixon railed against the Blacks and the Jews, among other “enemies” of Nixon’s righteous “silent majority” of Americans.
An ignoramus who knows little of foreign policy. But wait a minute. Many presidential candidates have lacked foreign policy experience (Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama, to cite two recent examples).
A posturing tough-guy who supports torture for America’s enemies and the murder of terrorists’ families. But wait a minute. The Bush/Cheney administration freely used torture (they just called it “enhanced interrogation techniques”), and the Obama administration freely uses drones to “take out” terrorists and whoever may be with them (including innocent family members).
A serial liar who can’t be taken at his word. But wait a minute. Name any president, other than Jimmy Carter, who prioritized truth-telling.
A bully who bludgeons his opponents into submission. But wait a minute. Just think of LBJ, Nixon, and Dick Cheney (yes, he was a Vice President, but still). These men were all bullies.
A shameless showman who exploits the media while professing to hate it. But wait a minute. Nixon despised the media; the media colluded with Kennedy to hide his negative qualities; and Obama has cozied up to the corporate media even as he’s actively prosecuted whistleblowers.
Focusing on Trump’s many “awfuls” is not the best way to defeat him, since America’s presidents have hardly been choir boys. Put simply, Trump’s prejudicial attitudes toward women, minorities, and other groups or peoples he doesn’t like don’t mark him as exceptional, nor does his record of flip-flops on issues, as the American people have come to expect that politicians are basically liars.
Where Trump is vulnerable, I believe, is his tyrannical qualities. Trump’s past behavior suggests he sees himself as above the law. Put differently, he sees himself as a law unto himself. And if he wins the presidency I simply don’t believe he’ll honor his oath of office to the U.S. Constitution.
Remember during the Frost Interviews when Nixon said, If the president does it, that means it’s legal? That’s Trump in a nutshell. Recall during the Republican presidential debates when Trump said the U.S. military would obey his orders regardless of their legality under the U.S. Constitution. Yes, he later recanted that dictatorial position, but his initial answer revealed his essential nature: I’m in charge, I’ll do what I want, everyone else has to obey me.
Here “Star Trek” fans may recall an episode from the original series called “Space Seed,” featuring Ricardo Montalban as Khan. A tyrant from Earth’s past, Khan speaks of unifying humanity under a strong leader. Spock’s reply is telling: “Unify, sir? Like a team of animals under one whip?”
Khan then waxes about the wonders of one-man rule, eventually blurting out, “We offered the world order!” The Donald, today’s version of Khan, offers to make America great again.
Trump has the makings of a tyrant. His approach to the presidency is fundamentally undemocratic. His statements and behavior suggest if he becomes president he’ll do what he wants and expect others to fall into line, even the U.S. military, which swears its oath to the U.S. Constitution and not to any one leader. At a time when Congress has abdicated its responsibility to declare war or to check executive warmaking prerogatives, a tyrant like Trump is an especially dangerous prospect as president.
Because of this, Trump is truly an awful choice for president.
21 thoughts on “What Is So Awful about Donald Trump?”
great historical review…the electorate is so fed up with the condition of this republic that they want a bull in a china closet
What is truly frightening is that the alternative, if it turns out to be Billary, will be no better. We’ll be in for a cold day in Hades unless we embrace the Bern.
He’s above the law? But wait a minute. Barack Obama is above the law every time he dispatches another drone to take out another man in Afghanistan or Yemen.
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Trump’s great fault: saying he will do what others have done, are doing, or will do. Anymore, what POTUS follows the Constitution? It is so out of date.
Anyway, this election is about jobs and the hanging sword of $21T in national debt. In this regard, I’ll take the only one in the bunch who has signed the front of a paycheck.
I understand your reasoning, Walt. But the president is supposed to be a public servant. That’s not Trump. He thinks everyone should serve him.
This may be the first election that I write-in a candidate; Trump and Hillary hold no appeal for me.
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Herd Trump, on a call-in to O’Reilly, stating he would ask Congress for a declaration of war. Wow, we can’t have that observance of law, our military wouldn’t know what to do.
Walt: What happens if Congress turns him down? I’m guessing Trump goes ahead regardless. I don’t see him as a great respecter of rules and laws.
Sorry. Make that heard.
I agree that Trump’s tyrannical nature makes him a truly awful Presidential candidate. I consider him to be Nixon on steroids. (Neither Obama nor Hillary are in the same league.) You can also add that Trump would use all the forces at his command to destroy anyone who opposes him. (Think of how he might use the IRS or the FBI.) In addition, Trump seems to have little respect for anyone other than himself. (Perhaps he has some respect for Vladimir Putin.) In fact, Trump seems to disrespect almost everyone.
What makes Trump so truly awful is that he combines these bad characteristics with so many other poor characteristics. He appears to have very little knowledge of the rest of the world, and he doesn’t seem to care. Trump seems to have few if any core beliefs (other than the greatness of himself) and he seems willing to say whatever comes into his head at a given moment, regardless of what he has said in the past. I’ll stop here, but the list of his characteristics that would make him a poor President goes on and on.
Hi, William. Read your excellent piece on HuffPo and came here to drop a link to this paper which may interest you: https://medium.com/@Elamika/the-unbearable-lightness-of-being-a-narcissist-251ec901dae7#.c9siqnjt4
Oh, and thanks for the link. It’s the classic, “Enough about me — how about me?” Trump seems like a narcissist, especially in his hyper-sensitivity to criticism. His boasts are grandiose and even disconnected from reality. “Only Trump can fix it!” He loves to put his name on everything. He even created his own publicist (“John Miller”) to boast about himself. As Trump might say, “sad.”
But it’ll be more than sad for the USA if he gets elected.
Absolutely. And that’s the point of that piece: he shares a psychopathological personality profile , that of antisocial or psychopathic narcissism, with some of the worst, bloodiest tyrants known to humanity (see Burkle’s paper referenced within — he is an ex-military, among many other things).
I wrote the following in response to a reader’s query: I was trying in my short article to suggest why people shouldn’t vote for Trump: because he’s anti-democratic, because he’s not just “a strong leader,” as some of his followers say, but rather because he will be a tyrant as president.
And we can’t afford a tyrant. Why? Our democracy is already in decline, and ever since Reagan we’ve seen the rise of the Unitary Executive, especially when it comes to foreign policy. A gridlocked or feckless Congress will be road kill as Trump accelerates away from it.
Perhaps I’ll write another article on this, stressing Trump’s incivility — his dangerous authoritarianism — the way he threatens fundamental freedoms and rights.
I don’t think it gets much scarier than that. The question is: Are his followers so blinded by his celebrity and their own biases and grievances that they’ll support him regardless of this threat to our way of life?
LOL. You guys are gonna vote for Godzillary, the most despicable, corrupt, murderously power-hungry person to enter politics since Stalin, yet impugn Trump’s character? LOLOL.
Check out the site. Few (if any) of us are fans of Hillary — or Trump.
Oh, every comment is moderated. I won’t expect to see mine, then.
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