To look the other way when it comes to President Trump’s moral deficiencies (“How Religious Leaders Dismiss Trump’s Misbehavior,” Editor’s column, April 6) is to misunderstand the role of an American president.
A president is both head of government and head of state — two jobs rolled into one. Some countries separate these responsibilities. In England, the prime minister is head of government; the monarch is head of state. In Israel, it’s the prime minister and the president. But in the U.S., one person holds both positions. As head of state, the president is our foremost public representative. To the world, the president is the face of America; to the American people, the president is the embodiment of the nation’s spirit and values. Trump flunks on both accounts.
On being the face of America to the world, Trump has muscled out the leader of a foreign nation for a front-row position in a photo op; has dismissed a continent of countries as ****holes; has made a false claim to the prime minister of Canada, later crowing that he just made it up; and has made himself a pariah in Great Britain. Rather than being the shining face of America to the world, Trump is an international embarrassment.
And as for Trump’s being the embodiment of America’s spirit and values, no previous president has had a speech disavowed by the Boy Scouts of America. His mockery of a disabled reporter; his failure to denounce the neo-Nazis of Charlottesville; his juvenile name-calling, his firing of people in a humiliating way; his cavalier attitude toward speaking truth, all show him to be a moral nullity. Or, as one Evangelical woman who voted for him was quoted as saying, he is everything we teach our children not to be.