Since I wrote last week about the need to give Donald Trump a chance to act as president, I’ve read about more mass protests and more people lamenting the end of days for our republic. So I want to clarify and expand: giving Trump a chance to govern does not mean wiping the slate clean and forgetting everything we know about our new leader.
You don’t have to pretend that none of the last year and a half ever happened, or forget everything you’ve ever heard or read about Donald Trump the New York real estate tycoon and TV star, to give the man a chance to do the job to which he was elected. We can’t undo the election, and out of a sense of fair play if nothing else we owe him an open mind as he takes over. But that “taking over” is already underway, so it’s fair to start keeping score, with things such as recognizing the conflict of interest that will result from having his children, who he says will take over running his business interests rather than have them be put into a blind trust (the business interests, not the children), be part of the team that will choose the members of the new administration. To say nothing of the potential financial conflicts of interest we suspect Trump has with foreign banks, but can’t know about for sure since he never released his tax returns. (Wonder if starting in late January he can get the IRS to speed up the audit?)
The point was made elegantly by David Frum in a Tweet storm yesterday taking off from a comment that it is time for a fresh start in Washington (thanks to Dan Solovay for Storify-ing it, for ease of display); a few examples:
There is another interesting compilation, by Frum’s colleague at The Atlantic James Fallows. He created a time capsule, a list of things that happened during the campaign. The posting explains itself this way: “People will look back on this era in our history to see what was known about Donald Trump while Americans were deciding whether to choose him as president. Here’s a running chronicle from James Fallows on the evidence available to voters as they make their choice, and of how Trump has broken the norms that applied to previous major-party candidates.” It’s worth taking a look, and keeping it as a reference.
I also think it’s important that we’ve got to keep our perspective and our sense of humor, so I offer this