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Voices / Letters from readers

What happens when you actually judge the president by his actions and deeds?

Those of us who are bewildered that Gerard Cloutier could express such strong support for Donald Trump can look to two contradictory paragraphs in his letter:

1. “Finally, one thing my father taught me — maybe the most important thing — is to judge a man by his actions and his deeds.”

2. “I voted for Donald Trump for president in 2016 because I felt that he spoke to the kind of America I grew up in, hard-working, conservative, and deeply patriotic.”

If I consider The Donald’s “actions and deeds,” I see a man who was given wealth that he didn’t have to work for; whose political beliefs, such as they may be, vary according to his own self-interests; and whose “patriotism” apparently includes avoiding the draft thanks to his father’s connections, subverting American electoral politics, and bending American foreign policy to his own business interests in Russia and Saudi Arabia and probably elsewhere.

A “hard-working” president would turn off his television and not be so lazy as to ignore the analyses and position papers prepared by his own officials and not simply follow the directions issued to him by Fox & Friends.

A truly “conservative” president would not insult his own military leadership, demean the rule of law, encourage supporters to attack reporters, trash America’s century-old alliances around the world. Nor would he destabilize domestic and foreign economies with trade wars and ill-considered tweets when he gets bored.

A “patriotic” president would recognize that America became the leader of the free world by welcoming new citizens of all nationalities, by championing freedoms around the globe, and by holding foreign adversaries to account.

Mr. Cloutier wrote that he “felt that [Trump] spoke to” these values, but apparently does not appreciate that Trump’s actions and deeds reveal that the man does not really share Mr. Cloutier’s values, but only pretends to — and lies, as long as it serves his own personal ends.

Richard Ewald
Westminster West

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Originally published in The Commons issue #492 (Wednesday, January 9, 2019). This story appeared on page D2.

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