I’ve had commenters who haven’t kept up with what I’ve been writing or saying for the past 10 years or so accuse me of having a “double standard” in commenting on Presidents Trump and Obama. Unfortunately for them, I have a file of the scripts of my radio shows and podcasts going back to the very beginning of the Obama Administration. It proves that I gave Obama the same benefit of the doubt as Trump and showed respect for his office from the minute he was elected. I disagreed with many of his policies, which I predicted would be disastrous (and they were). I also predicted that by avoiding working with Congress and trying to impose laws and treaties by executive order, he was setting himself up for a future President undoing his entire legacy with the stroke of a pen (Ta-da!)
But from the second Obama was inaugurated, I made sure every first reference to him was written as “President Obama.” That is the respect due to anyone who holds that office. I praised him as a good example as a father and husband, welcomed the First Lady onto my Fox News TV show, and when I thought he was doing a good job, I said so. My criticisms were always on policy grounds, not personal; and when he was abroad, I would try to hold any criticism until he was back on US soil.
By the same token, when Trump has done something that made me cringe personally or that I found indefensible, I’ve said so. Many times, I have defended his policies while questioning his way of presenting them. But as I’ve noted, the vocabulary of a New York construction boss will never be mistaken for that of a former Southern Baptist minister from Arkansas. After all, some New Yorkers simply have no concept of what is appropriate to say in a public forum. Other New Yorkers may even applaud foul-mouthed, Tourette’s-like outbursts, as long as they’re aimed at someone they don’t like. I guess it’s just a New York thing.
(Incidentally, why is it that every time I’ve seen Robert DeNiro cursing and threatening the President in public lately, I’ve been reminded of this?)
If I’ve sometimes defended Trump by saying the attacks on him were unfair or groundless, it’s because they were. I’ve seen how the left twists his words in way he plainly never intended, imparting only the worst motives (targeting dangerous, illegal alien MS-13 gang members means he “hates immigrants,” etc.), and then flailed that straw man they created as if they were trying to beat out a mattress fire with a stick. I’ve also heard him assailed for his blunt attacks on others with no mention that he was viciously attacked first. I saw this from personal experience.
During the 2016 campaign, I observed Reagan’s 11th Commandment and didn’t attack my fellow Republican candidates. I didn’t call Trump any of those nasty names my competitors did. And you might have noticed, Trump has always been friendly and respectful to me. Maybe he just doesn’t like being called “con man” or “Nazi” and fights back when he is. Wouldn’t you? People aren’t used to a Republican who punches back. We’re supposed to be punching bags, and not the kind that pop back up and bust you in the nose when you slug us.
One thing that makes me particularly sad (and to be honest, a little furious) is the way the hostility toward Trump among celebrities, politicians and the news media manifests itself in a wish for the country to do badly so it will harm him. Sometimes this is indirect, such as Nancy Pelosi trying to undermine consumer confidence by dismissing all the great economic news as meaningless. Other times, it’s overt, such as Bill Maher’s comment that he's wising for an economic collapse. That’s easy to say when you have Bill’s bank account, but Americans who need a regular paycheck to put food on their family’s table might find that rather selfish. These people need to remember the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King, who said, “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re all in the same boat now.”
Looking back through my files, I found that upon Obama’s win in 2008, even though I worked hard for McCain and was very concerned about Obama’s lack of experience and far-left ideas, I congratulated him and said we should all pray for his success because he was the President of all of us now and his successes or failures would be those of our entire nation. On his Inauguration day in 2009, I wrote this:
“Our new President faces a staggering array of problems, from the economy to the terrorist threat. For all the cheering supporters and platoons of advisors, the ultimate decisions and their consequences will fall to him alone. My hope is that the loyal opposition on the Republican side will work with Obama on areas of agreement and show him the respect a President is due, even when they disagree and vigorously oppose. After eight years of relentless and often personal attacks on President Bush, Americans could use a good example not only of how to cooperate, but of how to disagree without demonizing.”
We could still use that, now more than ever. And may I say (with apologies for using such blue language in a public forum): “Double standard, my foot!”
To Maxine Waters, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, April Ryan, Robert DeNiro, Don Lemon, Joy Behar and all the other foaming-at-the-mouth NeverTrumpers: Americans are beyond fed up with the relentless, sneering disrespect of our duly-elected President and his family, and the downgrading and dismissal of his accomplishments. It’s coming across as childish, selfish and disrespectful to tens of millions of Americans as well. If you have a disagreement with Trump’s policies, then explain it intelligently and respectfully – you know, like an adult. Otherwise, we’ll continue to pay you as much attention as we would a toddler who’s been throwing the same tantrum for 18 months.