I fear I am entering a critical phase of my commentary on the president of the United States.
Some months ago, I declared in this blog that I couldn’t write the words “President” and “Trump” consecutively. It’s not that I disrespect the office; it’s because I disrespect the individual who occupies it.
I thought I might get over that resistance the farther along we progressed into the Trump administration. My concern now is different. It’s that the farther along we go into the president’s term, the more difficult it is going to be for me to use those two terms consecutively.
Let me stipulate once again that it has nothing at all to do with my vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. I have had no trouble referring to President Nixon, President Ford, President Reagan, President Bush (41) and President Bush (43) — despite never having voted for any of them.
They all conducted themselves appropriately while holding their exalted office. They all knew how to act and talk like the head of state and head of government. They all brought public service credentials to their job. Except for President Nixon, none of them disgraced the office the way the current president has done.
But you see, even though Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace after covering up the Watergate break-in, I still am able to refer to him by putting the word “President” directly in front of his name.
A critic of this blog has challenged me to refer to Donald Trump in that manner. I’ll have to respectfully decline that challenge.
My concern now is that I might never do what I concede is the correct thing to do.
Trump keeps saying inappropriate things in equally inappropriate settings. He keeps launching those Twitter tirades. He continues to hurl personal insults at his domestic political foes. Trump keeps up the drumbeat of disparaging nicknames he attaches on those who disagree with him.
He has yet to apologize for the many hideous statements he has made about: John McCain, the Gold Star family that criticized him this past summer, the disabled New York Times reporter, Barack Obama’s eligibility to serve as president, or the many lies he has told about any number of incidents he purported to have witnessed.
A man who cannot conduct himself like a president doesn’t deserve to be called one.
I’ve struggled with trying to decide whether to put the word “President” in front of Trump’s name. I wish I could report that I’m closer to taking that leap … but I can’t go there.