Someone once admonished me not to call Trump names because it does no good, and it detracts from meaningful discussions between differing viewpoints. With that in mind, I will refrain from calling him a scum-sucking pig or big tub of guts.
But is it proper to call him a liar? A bully? Petty? Homophobic? Transphobic? Misogynistic? Autocratic? Thin-skinned? Egotistical and without any concrete political philosophy? Oh, and how about pointing out he has a rabid hatred of the media, enough so that he frequently espouses a desire for restrictions on the press, restrictions that would fly in the face of the First Amendment?
I think the answer is yes. To every one of those questions.
First, EVERY characterization mentioned above has been proven as fact, over and over again, no matter how hard Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee Sanders try to whitewash things. Read Trump’s tweets; they will tell you who he really is.
Second, these aren’t occasional lapses in character or judgment. These are his DOMINANT TRAITS! You may want to, but you simply cannot ignore or deny that fact, either.
Read his tweets, that’s who he is.
Here’s just one of many examples I could offer to prove my point: Trump’s tweet regarding transgender individuals in the military.
“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow…Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.
“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming…victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you”
Let us pause for a moment to consider. This is not some game show host; this is the president of the United States, the supposed leader of the free world, someone in whom we are supposed to place our trust for our very well-being.
And now, consider this reality: 1. He DID NOT consult the generals or military experts. 2. There are no tremendous costs associated with transgender servicemembers. And 3. THERE IS NO DISRUPTION.
Don’t believe me? Just Google it. Do the research. It is the absolute truth, and no amount of dancing around that fact will change it.
Also, while you may not like transgender people, and you may believe they should not be in the military, there is no factually-based justification from excluding them. Surely you acknowledge that this issue should be decided by the rule of law, by the rule of reason, with facts and not on the capricious whim of some individual intent on attacking transgender servicemembers to repay evangelicals for voting for him.
But even more important is the inescapable fact that Trump was so readily willing to sacrifice the well-being and livelihood of those who volunteered to serve our country in exchange for his own political gain. His actions demonstrate how little he really cares about his fellow human beings, especially those who are marginalized, and how little he really cares about this country.
That’s the real Trump.
What all this means is we need to act and react to the person Trump actually is and not who we expect him to be or wish he were. This is the hand we’ve been dealt. He is who he is, so we need to face him as he is and act accordingly.
Our opposition to his mean-spirited actions (sending 60,000 Haitian refugees back to Haiti is but one of many, many examples) may require us to find new ways of resisting, of fighting back. Remember Ronald Reagan and the AIDS crisis in the 1980s? Remember how our community reacted then. Let’s take a page from those days.
We have to be even more inventive and aggressive than ever before, because Trump really is who we say he is and worse. And because our cause is just.
Jon Nelson is an attorney and activist and cofounder of Fairness Fort Worth.