As we mark one year since Donald Trump was elected, the nation is reeling from the loss of 26 people killed at a Texas church. These tragic deaths come almost exactly a week after a suspected terrorist attack in New York that killed eight and about a month after the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history in Las Vegas killed 58.
In the White House, the President is being investigated for possible Russian ties, two of his former campaign aides are under indictment and he seems more interested in using Twitter to distract voters with talk of “crooked Hillary” than clarifying the situation. Meanwhile, in Virginia a racially tinged gubernatorial race featured a Trump-backed Republican candidate running on a platform that includes preserving his state’s Confederate heritage.
And perhaps the worst part is, we knew this was going to happen.
Or at least, we should have known. As a native New Yorker, I have watched Donald Trump’s star rise and fall over the past 30 years. Over my long career as both an advocate and politician, I have spoken with, argued against, and counseled the last four U.S. presidents. I have, to varying degrees, marched, fought and celebrated with the Bush’s, Clintons and Obamas. And the conclusion I have come to is that Donald Trump’s temperament, intellect and emotional health make him wholly unqualified to serve as President of the United States of America.
This is not a new argument, I realize. Many people before me have said similar things. But now we have something approaching definite proof that not only is nothing going to change, this is a man incapable of change.
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Whether vehemently disagreeing with President George W. Bush during the start of the Iraq war or pushing back against President Bill Clinton’s welfare reform policy, our arguments were based in subject matter, but never character. It was professional, not personal. In the Trump era, however, the opposite is true.
This distinction is important because while policy ideas may change and evolve, a man’s soul rarely does. America has, in all likelihood, three years (at least) left of this man. We need to realize, and quickly, that he is never going to “pivot.”
I should know — I have been there. I marched against Trump during the Central Park Five case in the 1990s, and I socialized with him when he surrounded himself with black artists and athletes in the 2000s.