Trump is not a strong leader
Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, March 2, 2016
This past Friday morning, I turned on CNN and watched New Jersey Governor Chris Christie endorse Donald Trump for President of the United States. The reason for this endorsement, according to Governor Christie, was Trump’s strength. “There is no one,” he claimed, “who is better prepared to provide America with the strong leadership that it needs, both at home and around the world, than Donald Trump.”
As a Republican, and as someone who has always had a deep respect for Governor Christie, I was shocked, disappointed and embarrassed. More than anything, however, I was confused. I couldn’t help but ask myself: When did this idea that Donald Trump is the “strong” candidate take hold? At which moment did Governor Christie decide that Donald Trump is “tough”?
Was it back in 2006, when Donald Trump took an elderly woman to court (and lost) after she refused to let him use eminent domain to destroy her home and build a casino parking garage on top of it?
Was it on July 16 of last year, when Donald Trump referred to Mexican immigrants to the United States — men and women who risk everything in search of a better life for their families — as “criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc.”?
Was it two days later, when Donald Trump said that John McCain — a United States senator and American Naval pilot who spent nearly six years being tortured as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam — is “not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured”?
Was it when Donald Trump mocked a reporter’s disability, when he made disgusting, sexist remarks about Fox News Anchor Megyn Kelly or when he proposed banning all Muslims from entering the United States?
The truth is, I’m not exactly sure when Governor Christie decided that Donald Trump was the “strong” candidate, but I have a feeling it was after January 27, 2016. On that day, less than one month ago, Governor Christie sent an e-mail to his supporters commenting on Donald Trump’s refusal to participate in the upcoming Fox News Republican Debate due to his dislike of moderator Megyn Kelly. “We cannot afford a president who will run away when things get tough or just because they don’t like the hand they were dealt,” Christie wrote, referring to Trump. “Let’s end this ridiculousness now and nominate a strong, mature leader who is ready to take on the tough challenges of the presidency.”
Governor Christie’s hypocritical endorsement of Donald Trump underscores a frightening development in our national consciousness. Somewhere amidst the absurdity of Trump-mania, we seem to have forgotten what true strength really is. True strength is not unbridled hostility. It’s not gloating over the latest poll or insulting your way through a two-hour long debate. True strength is humble confidence. It’s an unyielding respect for every person in our country and a firm desire to lead them through service, not bluster.
Despite all that was wrong about Governor Christie’s endorsement, however, he was right about one thing: This is the time for strength. Our country faces serious problems: A failing education system, a growing racial divide and a Medicare program that risks insolvency within the next 15 years, just to name a few. This is the time for an executive who will lead with innovative ideas, not malicious rhetoric. This is the time for a president who can unite the country, not one who is determined to divide it. This is the time for a truly strong leader, not a vitriolic demagogue. In the words of America’s greatest fictional President and Notre Dame graduate, Josiah Bartlet: “This is the time for American heroes, and we reach for the stars.” I will not be reaching for Donald Trump. Not in the primary election. Not in the general election. I refuse to cast my vote for the weakest candidate in the field.
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.