Wissot: Pity Trump, but pity the country more
I thought I had reached exasperation exhaustion, that point where there was nothing the president could do to push my buttons and yank my chain. Then I read two stories about comments he recently made and realized my presumptions were premature.
The first concerned a part of his reason for firing former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. As Trump told his favorite “Fox and Friends” hosts, “This ambassador who everybody says was so wonderful, she refused to hang my picture in the embassy. “ He went on to say, “The standard is you put the president of the United States’ picture in the embassy. This was not an angel, this woman, OK?”
The second involved his visit with CEO Tim Cook to an Apple plant in Austin, Texas. Trump claimed he opened the plant with Cook on the visit. But the truth is the plant opened in 2012.
I tried to look at both incidents through the lens of how we might feel if a relative of ours acted in the same way as the president. Imagine for a moment if your Aunt Tessie threw a hissy fit at the Thanksgiving table because she didn’t like where she was seated. We might roll our eyes and button our lips in the interest of family harmony. But privately, we would probably see it as incredibly petty and childish coming from an adult who surely should be expected to show more maturity.
Or consider what your reaction might be if at a family Christmas gathering your Uncle Larry said he graduated with high honors from college when everyone there knew he never finished high school. We might write off his claim as just another one of his silly fibs without giving it any more thought. Easy to do that when your uncle isn’t the president of the United States.
Why should the doubts and misgivings we might have toward close family member’s behavior not apply to the fitness for office of the person who holds the highest elected position in the land?
I don’t know if the president is mentally ill, certifiably crazy, suffering from a personality disorder, or worthy of any other clinical diagnosis. His emotional stability is questionable but I don’t see the 25th Amendment being used to get rid of him. He definitely deserved to be impeached. He earned that ignominy. But I don’t want the Senate to vote for his removal. I think the electorate should make that decision in 2020.
I just want his fitness for office to be a front and center consideration when we all decide his fate next year. If we find behavior similar to his disturbing when we see it in family members, we certainly should take it into account when we decide whether he warrants re-election.
I’ve never hidden my dislike for this president on the pages of this paper. But I’ve always distinguished between how Trump’s decisions have effected me versus how they have impacted others. I have been lucky all my life. Lucky to have enjoyed good health. Lucky to have come of age in good economic times. Beginning my career during the prosperous 1960s and investing in a roaring 1990s stock market had as much to do with my current financial well-being as my talents, ambitions, and efforts.
My investment advisors and tax accountant love this president. My stock portfolio has skyrocketed and my tax liability has been reduced under his watch. Contributing to his re-election campaign would get a thumbs up from them.
But I could never do that. What’s good for me that is not good for those less fortunate than me is not OK. This president caters to people like me and I didn’t vote for him. The people who did vote for him are still waiting for him to revive the steel industry, stop the closing of auto plants, bring back jobs from overseas, lower prescription drug prices, replace Obamacare. He has benefitted those who didn’t need his help and failed those who did.
If we impeached a president for lying under oath about his sexual dalliances, then surely we should consider the wisdom of returning to power a man who according to reputable fact-checkers has told “15,413 false or misleading claims” since he took office less than three years ago.
What makes this both tragic and comical is that a man who is obviously a pathological liar accuses the free press of being the “fake news” and promotes the conspiracy claptrap found on Fox News as the truth. Irony is lost on him.
We can survive the Aunt Tessies and Uncle Larrys in our families. If worst comes to worst we can always make excuses to avoid them. There is no avoiding this president.
His delusional and deceitful behavior is so alarming that if he eliminated poverty, brought about world peace, and cured cancer in the coming year he still wouldn’t deserve to be re-elected.
Jay Wissot is a resident of Denver and Vail. Email him at email@example.com.