Donald Trump used the solemnity and propriety of Thanksgiving Day to send out a tweet publicly calling out reporter Greg Sargent, who had the audacity to call the president a racist, Slate is reporting.
There are several things that Donald Trump just doesn’t seem to get, but the top two are probably these: propriety and dignity. Throughout his campaign and presidency, he’s made it clear that he is not above saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. And of course, it’s no secret that he always enjoys using his office not from a place of dignity and professionalism, but as a bully pulpit to target his enemies. Even if — especially if — those enemies are regular people and not political enemies.
He’s shown it time and time before: publicly belittling a Gold Star family, the Khans, who dared question his proposed Muslim ban; calling NFL players “sons of b***hes” for failing to give the national anthem he thinks it deserves; and last week, publicly belittling the father of a college athlete, who apparently didn’t give Trump enough credit for getting his (the father’s) son out of a jam.
And so it was that on Thanksgiving Day, rather than treat the day, and his job, with the dignity and solemnity it deserves, the president instead chose to publicly make a mockery of a reporter who called him racist.
A day earlier, on Wednesday, Washington Post reporter Greg Sargent had basically called the president racist, and for good reason.
“President Trump regularly goes out of his way to attack prominent African Americans not just to ‘stoke the culture wars,’ as this euphemism often has it—but, more precisely, to stoke the sense among many of his supporters that the system is unfairly rigged on behalf of minorities, and that he’s here to put things right.”
What could the president have done in such a situation? Perhaps ignored Sargent, considering that Sargent is a civilian, not a politician, and really, the idea of the president publicly addressing civilians when he feels threatened is undignified in the extreme. Or perhaps he could have given a reasoned and insightful response to Sargent’s claim.
Instead, he did this.
MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 23, 2017
It’s almost as if Trump is suggesting that his outright racism is a key portion of his plan to make America great again. That, or he just feels that it’s appropriate to use his position to berate others with his campaign slogan.
Even before Thursday’s tweet, Trump’s penchant for bullying hadn’t gone unnoticed by the media. Back in October, CNN editor Chris Cillizza noted that Trump’s attitude makes him anything but presidential.
“Trump’s almost-obsessive need to always respond any time he feels as though he has been attacked or his character has been questioned makes for a terrible legislative strategy.”
He also notes that, whether he likes it or not, the president is a role model. And by acting like a bully, Trump teaches others that it’s OK to themselves be bullies. And if you need proof that Trump’s bullying ways have had an impact, look no further than the rise in hate crimes that has been observed since Trump took office.
The President of the United States should have better things to do than to use social media to attack other people — especially civilians.
[Featured Image by Alex Brandon/AP Images]