More than two years ago, I published an anonymous article in the New York Times in which I gave my opinion about Donald Trump’s dangerous presidency while he was in office. He responded with a short but convincing tweet: TRIASON?
Trump thinks personal criticism is subversive.
Fault! The file name is not specified.
I disagree. As Theodore Roosevelt wrote, the announcement that we should not criticize or support the president is not only unpatriotic and submissive, but also a moral change for the American public. All you have to do is tell the truth about him or someone else. But it’s even more important to tell the truth about him, whether it’s nice or unpleasant, than about anyone else.
We don’t have to silence the president. We owe him and the American people the truth.
Make no mistake: I’m a Republican, and I wanted this president to succeed. All too often, in a crisis, Donald Trump has proven to be a man without character, and his personal mistakes have led to leadership mistakes so essential that they can be measured by the American lives lost. I witnessed Trump’s inability to do his job for two and a half years in administration. Everyone saw it, although most hesitated for fear of reprisals.
So when I left the administration, I wrote a warning, a personality survey of the current commander-in-chief, and a warning to the voters that it wasn’t as bad as what we saw in the Trump administration – it was even worse. Although I claim to be the sole author of this book, the feelings it expresses are widely shared by civil servants at the highest level of the federal government. In other words, Trump’s own lieutenants were worried about his instability.
The fact that these works were published anonymously contributed greatly to this. It was not an easy decision for me, I fought against it and I understand why some people find it dubious to anonymously make such serious accusations against the registrant. But my reasoning was simple, and I support it. By publishing my criticism without faith, I forced the president to respond directly or not at all, instead of distracting attention with petty insults and nicknames. I wanted to draw attention to the arguments themselves. I asked him what he’d do if nobody attacked, just an idea. We have an answer. He’s gone crazy. And the ideas were on their feet.
However, I have made it clear that I am not afraid to criticise the President in my own name. Actually, I promised. That’s why I spoke at the general election. I have tried, based on my own experience, to convey as much as possible how Donald Trump has made America less safe, less self-assured in its identity and destiny, and less united. He reacted in a predictable way with personal attacks aimed at hiding the basic idea that he was not fit for work.
But Trump couldn’t bury the truth.
What for? Because since the publication of this article, an unprecedented number of former colleagues have joined me to take on the man they once served. The nature and background of Donald Trump has repeatedly been questioned by his former Chief of Staff, the National Security Advisor, the Director of Communications, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defence, the Director of National Intelligence, the Deputy Chairman of the Military Staff and others appointed by him personally.
History will also record the names of souls who have lost everything but resurrected, including Fiona Hill, Michael McKinley, John Mitnick, Elizabeth Neumann, Bob Shanks, Olivia Troy, Josh Venabla, Alexander Windman and many others. I applaud their courage. These aren’t fried states conspiring to arrest their bosses. Many of them were trumpeters and all of them were patriots who took a great personal risk by speaking openly about a man they considered to be an act of revenge and even an incitement to violence against their opponents. (I have also heard of the costs of the President’s sentencing, which has caused considerable damage to my work, my daily life, my marriage, my finances and my personal safety.)
These officials were not intimidated. And neither should you. As descendants of revolutionaries, honest disagreement is part of our American character, and we must reject the culture of political intimidation that this president fosters. That’s why I’m writing this note – to encourage you to make your voice heard when it’s not. I hope a few other swindlers will soon find their conscience, but for the time being, your words are more important than theirs. It is time to speak out and shed light on the divisions that have plagued our public discourse. Your voice is the loudest you can speak and convince others with your voice. Don’t be afraid of an open debate. As I said before, there’s no better test for the truth than seeing it in a hearing next to a delusion.
This election is a referendum in two parts: first on the nature of the individual and then on the nature of our nation. That is why I also appeal to the Republicans to put the country above the party, even if this means supporting Trump’s Democratic opponent. Although former Vice President Joe Biden is likely to introduce progressive reforms rejected by the Conservatives (and to be challenged by the loyal opposition), his political agenda cannot be compared to the damage the current President has done to the fabric of our Republic. I believe Joe Biden’s integrity will take us back to where Donald Trump’s dishonesty drove us apart.
The trump card was exactly what we conservatives have always said the government should NOT be: expansive, profligate, arbitrary, unpredictable and prone to abuse of power. Worse, as I said before, he went after the whole spirit and recorded the emotions and impulses in the government office instead. The consequences have been disastrous and if he is given four more years, he will push the limits of his power even further than the high crimes for which he has already been charged.
Just trust me. Just trust me. We have spent years trying to mitigate Trump’s (often unsuccessful) mistakes, many of which will return in a second term with a desire for revenge. Remember, this is the man who told us that when someone is president of the United States, there is total power. I believe more than ever that this unchained good will mean an unchained nation – a continual downward slide toward social bitterness as the United States withdraws from the world stage it once dominated, not to mention the damage done to our democratic institutions.
However, I made a mistake in an important statement in my original article. The country cannot rely on well-meaning, unelected bureaucrats around the president to force him to do the right thing. He’s eliminated most of them anyway. They can’t count on Congress to rid us of Trump’s rebellious whims. The people themselves are the last test of the head of state. It is up to us to decide whether his behavior is worthy of staying in office, and we are facing a fateful decision, because our decision about Mr. Trump’s future will affect our future for many years to come. In that context, he doesn’t deserve a second term, and we don’t deserve to survive it.
Unfortunately, removing the trump will not be the end of our difficulties. When I went on a business trip to the United States last month, I realized how far apart the Americans had grown. We have perpetuated the seemingly endless hostility of this divisive president. So if we really want to restore the vitality of our civilian lives, the change has to start with all of us and not just the Oval Office residents. Fortunately, the past generations have enlightened the path of national reconciliation in even more difficult times.
On the brink of the civil war that literally divided our people in two, Abraham Lincoln urged the people not to lose sight of each other, he said in his inaugural address:
We’re not enemies, we’re friends. We can’t be enemies. Even if the passion has made an effort, it shouldn’t break our love bonds. The mystical chords of remembrance, from the battlefield itself and the grave of the patriot to every heart and every house in this vast land, will continue to blow up the chorus of the Union when they are touched again, just like undoubtedly the best angels of our nature.
Listen to what Lincoln has to say. We need to get back to our basics. We must rediscover our best angels. And we must reconcile and restore the bonds of love that make us Americans.