The Trump Chronicles Volume 91: Abraham Lincoln Is Weeping

Talk to a Republican and within a few minutes he or she will eagerly tell you that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican.

Entire libraries have been written about President Lincoln and many of us have read Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It’s an excellent book and I recommend it, but if you want to fully understand President Lincoln’s views on slavery I suggest The Fiery Trial by Eric Foner. This book traces Lincoln’s views on slavery. At first he was ambivalent but eventually he recognized that slavery is wrong because while free people can prosper from intelligence and hard work, slaves could not. No matter how hard they worked and no matter what they invented they (and their descendants) would always be slaves.

His view of people of color was more complicated. He didn’t envision the possibility of a fully integrated society (and there is evidence that he supported freed slaves returning to Africa) but he felt that everyone who lived in the United States could point to the Declaration of Independence‘s promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We all have access to that.

He was our 16th President. What do you think he would say about his fellow Republican Donald Trump our 45th President? I think he would weep.

President Lincoln spoke about “the better angels of our nature” and “with malice toward none, with charity for all.”

On the other hand we have President Trump. On Thursday he was meeting in the White House with a bipartisan group of lawmakers and they were discussing immigration reform. Specifically they were talking about people who come here fleeing some sort of catastrophe (e.g. the 2010 Haitian earthquake). Learning that most of these people came from Africa, Haiti, and El Salvador he asked why we were accepting so many people from shithole countries.

Oh yes, there’s this: President Trump is now denying he ever used that language.

The Trump Chronicles, Volume 90: Here’s Why We’re Concerned

Dear President Trump:

It’s been a busy few days, and I have to tell you that I’m writing out of concern for you. Ever since you came onto the national scene we’re recognized that you have a thin skin and often overreact to perceived slights. Just so you know, a google search of “trump’s response to slights” lands 138,000 hits, but let me give you an example of my point from PBS.

I understand that you’re not the first President with quirks, but last week your judgement took a troubling turn. The publication of the book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff does not speak well of your Presidency and it frankly documents what many of us have thought all along. The book portrays you as a child in constant need of approval, prone to tantrums, and unwilling to pay attention to anything inconvenient, or frankly, complex.

The book claims that many of the people who work shoulder to shoulder with you fear your temperament makes you unfit for office. At a time when our nation, and our world, face grave problems from North Korea to climate change, you appear obsessed with making sure nobody touches your toothbrush lest you be poisoned.

Some have even spoken about the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. It was passed in 1967, three years after the assignation of President Kennedy. Article 4 of that amendment gives the Vice President and the Cabinet (through majority vote) the power to remove the President and install the Vice President. From my reading it appears this was intended for a limited time and that the President would later be able to resume office but it’s not clear.

Mr. President, I doubt this will happen. You hand picked both the Vice President and the Cabinet and it’s hard to imagine a scenario where they would take this vote; you need not worry about this happening. But your reaction to Fire and Fury has shown us there may be something to this. Several news outlets reported that members of Congress met with Yale Psychiatrist Dr. Bandy Lee to seek her expertise on your mental state and she felt there is reason for concern.

Earlier in the week you (once again) needlessly provoked North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. I spoke in an earlier post about how the the two of you are behaving like little boys with loaded guns and how previous Presidents have recognized that when dealing with North Korea somebody has to be the adult in the room. Kim Jong Un proclaimed last week that he has a nuclear button on this desk at all times.

No one is claiming we should cower from such a statement but there’s also no point in needlessly provoking him and ratcheting up the rhetoric. All you needed to do was ignore this, but instead you felt the need to respond by telling him and the rest of the world that your button is bigger. Aside from the clear phallic reference it does nothing to make the world safer. As commander in chief you have the authority to launch nuclear weapons and we all wish you had more respect for that power.

I’m just saying that we’d like you to act with more prudence.

When you were elected you were clearly the only person who didn’t know the Presidency was a tough job, calling for a high level of maturity and self awareness. And to be honest there are days when I can’t tell if you’re unwilling or unable to grow up. Had you ignored Kim Jong Un and Michael Wolff you could have spent last week planning out your agenda for 2018 instead of yet another round of needless bickering.

I hope it’s not too late.