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Friday, November 18, 2022

OPINION:

Dear President Trump,

This week you announced your intention to run for President yet again in 2024. Your track record is one of surprises, combative proclamations, bucking the system and in all fairness, some impressive accomplishments. 


Please allow me to begin by thanking you and complimenting some of the high points of your one term in office. Thank you for crafting an economic policy that brought stability and prosperity to the American public, and in turn, to much of the world. The fiscally prudent choices you and your administration made resulted in a flourishing economy. Much appreciated. 

Please accept my compliments on your work on the border, stemming the flow of illegal immigrants that were (and are once again) streaming into the United States. While your wall didn’t turn out quite as promised and most certainly wasn’t paid for by Mexico, the “Remain in Mexico” policy could be used as the definition of common sense for any sovereign nation. 

The Abraham Accords may have been the most underrated foreign policy maneuver any US President has achieved in my lifetime. Bringing the Arabs and Jews together is no small task. Finding common ground and setting common goals was classic diplomacy. If President Obama or President Biden had achieved the exact same accomplishment, they would have celebrated with the recognition of a Nobel Prize. 

Perhaps more than anything else you did during your four years in office, thank you for the federal judges and justices you appointed. The pure Constitutionalists are still having a positive impact on our society today and will for decades to come. The importance of keeping the intentions of our founding fathers in line in the courtroom cannot be overstated. Thank you so much for playing a key role in making that happen. 

All of that said, however, you made some considerable blunders. Among the most glaring would be the embarrassingly bad mishandling of the George Floyd situation. George Floyd died on a Monday. By Tuesday the video of the police manhandling Floyd had gone viral. Millions of Americans were shocked, stunned and disappointed. In an extraordinarily rare moment, virtually all Americans were united. They saw a bad cop showing utter disregard for another human being.

A true leader would have used this moment to bring people together for justice. Wednesday of that week you could have invited six African American pastors and six police chiefs to the White House, all joining you in proclaiming the Floyd incident as wrong. All could have proclaimed that the police involved were not representative of most hard-working men and women of law enforcement from coast to coast. The shock and disgust could have been harnessed to bring people together. 

You chose not to and the result was chaos. By the weekend, entire neighborhoods were being burned to the ground. Riots were occurring all across America. People died. Hatred built. Anger at all police became the norm in many metropolitan areas. All of that could have been avoided if not for the shameful void of leadership from the White House, specifically from you. 

Your constant need to fight, argue, be belligerent and be rude set the standard for Americans of all political stripes. The right and the left grew to hate one another. Not merely disagree, but hate each other. 

During the 2020 election, you failed to unify America, all but assuring your own defeat. Joe Biden couldn’t draw more than 50 people to a rally. He wasn’t popular. He wasn’t inspiring. Heck, some people would say he wasn’t really coherent. His party hid him in his Delaware basement throughout most of the campaign and yet he beat you. The reason? He had one specific qualification. His name wasn’t Donald Trump. 

Elmer Fudd could have beaten you in 2020. There is a segment of our society that worships you and your loud, brash manner. Most Americans however, had tired of the rude, boorish behavior. Most registered independent voters had simply had enough and would have voted for any alternative. Thus you failed in 2020. Despite your continued insistence that you were beaten by fraud, you’ve not provided a shred of evidence that the outcome was altered by such. 

Despite the loss, you continued to hold court with leaders of the GOP for the next two years. You bullied and cajoled them into coming running to you at the snap of your fingers. You promised them to raise money, recruit candidates and dominate the 2022 election cycle. Again you failed. 

Reports indicate you and your affiliated political organizations raised north of $100 million for the election cycle. It appears, however, that you spent nearly none of it. I’m sure you believe your self-aggrandizing rallies were worth their weight in gold, but why no meaningful expenditures on your party’s candidates? What was the money for then? Will it be rolled into your 2024 Presidential effort? Who knows, but that would be keeping with the Donald J Trump first approach that has been your hallmark since day one. 

Most of your hand-picked high-profile candidates lost, including Mehmet Oz and Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania, and Don Bolduc in New Hampshire. Blake Masters lost handily in Arizona and Adam Laxalt fell short in Nevada. The Herschel Walker race has yet to be decided via run-off, but in a state where the Republican Governor (and ironically someone you tried to tear down) won by 8 points, Walker underperformed badly. Some believe it was because of his affiliation with you. Now before Walker can attempt to pick up a win in his runoff, you’ve already announced your plans for an election two years away. Your ridiculously early announcement damages his chance and doubles his opponent’s fundraising ability. 

As we look ahead to 2024, the fact is that Joe Biden is one of the most unpopular Presidents in modern history. His approval ratings are terrible. The economy is terrible. The border crisis is terrible. Our relationships and perceived strength as world leaders are severely compromised. Biden is also 125 years old. Despite all that, he polls ahead of you in a one-on-one match-up. It appears from credible polls that you are the only Republican candidate who can’t beat Biden

Since election night, in several key states, you’ve actually been polling behind Ron DeSantis, who won reelection as Florida governor by roughly 20 percentage points. If we break down the early stops in the nomination process, you didn’t even make much of a showing in Iowa in 2016, the year you won the nomination. It’s hard to imagine you’ll improve upon that in 2024. In New Hampshire the Governor, Chris Sununu has already come out against you, calling you a “loser.”

In fact, it seems that all of your years of insulting everyone may be coming home to roost. 

Let’s run through a laundry list of people you embraced and then suddenly and aggressively turned on. 

Rex Tillerson was your hand-picked Secretary of State, whom you lauded for being brilliant and well-experienced on the world stage. Later you vilified him as dumb. I would venture to say untrue, but would also say that it was an early indicator that Donald J Trump is always pointing the finger at someone else. 

No one exemplified this better than your Vice President, Mike Pence. Pence stood by you even when you said and did some of the most offensive things possible. He was the textbook example of loyalty, right up until you wanted him to choose you over the Constitution of the United States. He did not and for that, you labeled him as disloyal. 

If I were to look up the term disloyal in Webster’s dictionary, it just might have a picture of you. Former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan tolerated your belligerent antics and tried to work with your White House, yet the day after he left office, you tossed insult after insult his way. Ryan said nothing at the time, but it is no wonder that the former Speaker, a man who rarely has a bad word to say about anyone, said just this past week “I think Trump’s kind of a drag on our ticket. I think Donald Trump gives us problems, politically. We lost the House, the Senate and the White House in two years when Trump was on the ballot, or in office.”

Ryan isn’t alone. Senator Mitch McConnell was the architect of making sure your judicial nominees passed at a record pace. Your administration successfully placed 234 federal judges, including three Supreme Court nominees. What thanks do you provide McConnell? You recruit and encourage Senator Rick Scott to oppose him in the leadership of the Senate GOP. Once again, your candidate lost. 

You couldn’t even celebrate your party’s biggest victory on an otherwise disappointing night. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis won by 20 points, a true landslide. Your response was to insult him, mock his name and generally pout that he had a tremendous night. 

The theme is clear here. You demand loyalty, yet you offer none. You want to take credit for successes, even someone else’s, yet take no responsibility for things that go sour. It’s for that reason that many of the high-profile Republicans are already saying it is time to move on from you. 

Mike Pence appeared on Fox News and had this to say, “As I have traveled around the country over the last two years, what I hear again and again… is that people want to see us return to the policies of the Trump-Pence administration, but I hear people saying that they would like us to move forward with leadership that will unite our country around our highest ideals, and reflect the kind of respect and civility that the American people demonstrate to each other every day.” Clearly, Pence doesn’t think that means you. 

Departing Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson had something similar to say, recognizing the wisdom of your policies, but being clear, you are no longer the one to deliver them. He said, “Trump is correct on Biden’s failures, but his self-indulging message promoting anger has not changed. It didn’t work in 2022 and won’t work in 2024. There are better choices.”

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson echoed that sentiment. He said of your candidacy, “Let’s see who runs. Personally, I don’t think it’s good for the party. … I think his policies were good. I just don’t need all the drama with it.” 

Texas GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw was asked if he would get involved in the GOP Presidential primary, considering a Trump candidacy. His answer? “Hell no.”

It appears conservative media is fed up with your antics as well. The New York Post mocked you and the Wall Street Journal gave you a serious spanking, referring to you as “the biggest loser.”

The bottom line is this. You appear to value nothing other than yourself. Not strong intelligent men who share much of your political philosophy, not the Constitution of the United States, not even candidates that you helped recruit. Donald J Trump always comes first in your mind. 

You seem to revel in shocking the world. There is one way you can indulge yourself in such revelry and possibly salvage your reputation. You could step aside. You could use your popularity in certain quarters to raise money for candidates, but otherwise, step aside. Let someone who shares your ideas for effective economic, international and judicial policy, but who can unite people, take center stage. The GOP can win in 2024, but not if you are the nominee. 

Swallow your pride. For once, do what is in the best interest of your party and ultimately, in the best interest of your country by gracefully bowing out. Your reputation will be considerably bolstered by the move to become a team player rather than the “me me me” candidate. You’ll shock the media and you will control your own destiny. 

Come on Mr. President, do the right thing. 

• Tim Constantine is a columnist with the Washington Times.


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