Donald J. Trump is a fool. He is dangerous to America and to the world due to his incompetence, his paranoid reactivity, and his l’état, c’est moi personalization of important issues. Let me be clear: I acknowledge the legitimacy of his election, despite his threat not to do so had his opponent lost. But in return we and the world are owed steadiness and trustworthiness in his conduct of the most powerful position on earth.
Winning has not magically made him more fit for office, his indecency more decent, his promises more believable, or his “facts” more factual. He began months ago—and as of this week continues—chipping away at mechanisms important to give Americans some level of assurance about leaders’ honesty and financial involvements. Now he wants his family involved in his companies and simultaneously in the White House with security clearances (pretending that to be a blind trust). Perhaps he considers himself above question, but our claim to be a nation of laws is not to be rendered worthless.
Might I be wrong? Might President-elect Trump turn out to be unlike the pre-presidency Trump? Might all the evidences of his unfitness disappear January 20? Could happen. But these stakes are higher than in casinos. We cannot be willing to take the risk of a Mussolini-like shedding of one safeguard after the next, nor should any responsible leader expect us to. Mr. Trump’s intentions may be pure as snow—I do not contend otherwise—but his actions and statements are too reminiscent of incipient dictators to risk. For ourselves and the world, America needs to be a strong country; we need no Strong Man.
Mr. President-elect, we have granted you the executive leadership of our country. We need the behaviors, words, and unmistakable signals that your administration will leave us freer, more secure, and more democratic than when you begin. Please do not, by mixed messages, withhold that assurance from Americans and the world.