A roomful of journalists and other luminaries gathered in Washington last night while the president of the United States — who usually attends this event — was up the coast a bit in Harrisburg, Pa.
The White House Correspondent Dinner was spiced with lots of criticism of the president. For his part, Donald Trump decided to unload on the media, his political foes and virtually every American who voted for someone else during the 2016 presidential election.
Who bears the greater responsibility to set aside the bitterness? I believe it ought to be the president. He’s the one who represents the entire country.
The president’s Harrisburg speech could have been lifted directly from one of his campaign speeches. He is talking directly to his base. He is speaking to those who continue to support him despite all the questions, controversy and potential scandal that threaten to swallow the presidency.
Trump vowed to unify the country. The speech last night suggested he is doing precisely the opposite. He wants to keep fomenting the anger that propelled him to power.
We all understand that the 2016 campaign will go down as among the most rancorous in U.S. political history. Do the wounds need to continue festering? I don’t think so.
When the president calls the media “the enemy of the American people” and when he continues to hold campaign-style rallies — while exhorting security personnel to “get them out!” when protesters show up — that does nothing to bring Americans together.
The divisions run deep. The wounds still hurt. The president of the United States holds the key to bridge the divide and heal the wounds. When will he step up?