Trump must temper words as president
Words have meaning. And consequences. Donald Trump — and in fact the nation — is learning that the hard way.
Trump’s caustic, scorched Earth campaign clearly targeted a huge swath of disaffected voters that were tired of being shunted aside by the media, the elite and the institutions that they once looked to for “inclusion.”
But those same words that so endeared Trump to those disaffected had an other people as well. Let’s just say it was not a positive, uplifting experience.
Since Election Day, some of those other Americans have made their thoughts plain as they contemplate a Trump presidency.
They are scared, and rightly so based on the rhetoric Trump routinely delivered on the campaign trail.
And they are angry, probably just as angry as the downtrodden who lifted Trump to the Oval Office. They have reason to be. Yes, words have meaning. And consequences.
The hate that Donald Trump spewed as he blazed a trail to the White House ignited similar feelings in some Americans.
It is the idea that hate can be emboldened. And legitimized. And wielded by those who believe their twisted reality has now been given the imprimatur of acceptance.
Now, in the wake of his stunning victory, we’re beginning to see the ugly side of some of that inflammatory Trump rhetoric.
Schools across the country are dealing with a spike in racial harassment.
Immigrants are being targeted. Notes are being tucked into their bags urging them to leave the country.
At a Bucks County high school, racial messages were scrawled on a bathroom wall.
At the University of Pennsylvania, black members of the freshman class allegedly were targeted with a racist message that suggested lynching African-Americans. Ugly stuff. At Villanova, a black female student claims she was accosted and knocked down by a group of white males chanting “Trump.” All this is part of the fallout of the ugliest political campaign in American history.
To be fair, the anti-Trump mobs that have sprung up across many American cities have attacked innocent people and done considerable property damage while promoting violence against Trump supporters. This has to stop.
Trump vowed to “make America great again.” But he also laid the groundwork to make America hate again.
Donald Trump is no longer a candidate. His words did what they were intended to do. He rode a tidal wave of anger in rural areas and middle-class America to the most stunning upset in American political history.
But he can’t put the genie back in the bottle. Instead, he needs to offer more than an olive branch; he needs to offer an explanation of all those insults he so casually hurled at every target who got in his way.
He is no longer candidate Trump. He is President-elect Trump
He needs to own his past rhetoric. And set a new path going forward.
He appeared ready to start that process in his interview with “60 Minutes” Sunday night, saying he was saddened by some of the actions of those who supported him.
He stared into the camera, and issued a simple recommendation to those who would take part in such conduct: Stop it.
But he has to do more. (And it wouldn’t hurt if President Obama and Hillary Clinton also urged their supporters to stop acting like hooligans.)
People are scared. They heard the words he uttered during the campaign.
And they see the actions of some of his emboldened supporters in the wake of Tuesday’s vote. Words have meaning. Donald Trump is just starting to walk back some of the words he hurled during the campaign.
He no longer has a convenient enemy to target from his bully pulpit, aside perhaps from the media. Hillary Clinton is no longer the enemy.
His problem is he no longer has enemies; he has constituents.
He is now the presidentelect.
He needs to act — and speak — like it.