March 17, 2011: that was the day that I lost all respect for Donald Trump. Up to that point, I thought of him as a silly-looking, somewhat crude, egotistical reality show host that, I’ll admit, I enjoyed watching at times. But in an interview with “Good Morning America,” he discussed his laughable idea of running for president and hinted at being part of the deeply ignorant and vaguely racist “birther” movement, one that questioned the validity of President Barack Obama’s status as a natural-born American.
“The reason I have a little doubt—just a little—is because he grew up and nobody knew him,” said Trump.
A later, very awkward interview on “The View” confirmed his views: Trump, among many others, questioned the validity of a Barack Obama presidency, despite the fact that Obama had already confirmed his citizenship by releasing his short form birth certificate, a standard that we don’t hold to other presidential candidates. Despite refusing to operate on any facts or logical reasoning, Trump continued to lambast the president. It was clear that Trump wasn’t just trying to be some kind of rouge devil’s advocate. Trump had something against Obama.
All cards on the table: I’ve loved the Barack Obama presidency. His cautious yet realistic foreign policy—one that keeps America active across the globe but strikes only when absolutely necessary—reminds me in some ways of Eisenhower. His celebration of American diversity and staunch patriotism, even when criticizing the country he leads, represent the same national values that I hold. And then there’s the man himself: charismatic, bold, intelligent, kind and highly-skilled at comedy. I’ve been proud to call him “my president” and I’ll miss doing so. I was hoping that, at the very least, the era of Obama politics would be extended by his endorsed successor, Secretary Hillary Clinton.
It wasn’t. In an election that blindsided me and so many others, Donald Trump beat an experienced and qualified politician that seemed to have the race all-but-won. My respect for him gone, the year-and-a-half leading up to Nov. 8 showed me that Trump represented everything Obama was not and everything I was against. He’s a bully who convinces others that nothing is true and everything is possible. He rarely, if ever, talks specifics. As I’ve written previously, he has no respect for or understanding of the US military, our country’s most powerful and sacred institution. He’s been accused of sexual assault and indicted for fraud and brags about it.
He’s disgusting and doesn’t deserve the Oval Office. For so many who share my view, they decided to express it through massive, nation-wide protests. Old slogans like “Love Trumps Hate” were shouted, but a new chant, forged by the outcome of the election, was made: “not my president.” That hashtag has also trended. While I share the protesters’ anger and lack of respect for Trump, I do not agree with their hallmark position. Though I say it through gritted teeth, Trump will be my president and, I hope, that he’ll be a good one.
Let’s go back to the Obama presidency. Since the beginning, there were people like Trump that questioned the legitimacy of his presidency. There were people calling him the Antichrist. There were constant threats, real and ridiculous, of impeachment, none of them with legal ground to stand on. There was outrage from Republicans and independents after each election and virtually no cooperation from opponents who worked tirelessly to thwart Obama at every turn. So many refused to call Barack Obama “my president,” and I wasn’t happy about it. Our long string of peaceful transitions of power, decided by the people show that, regardless of the outcome, our next president will be as legitimate as the previous. It would make no sense to root against someone tasked with leading you through a dangerous, unforgiving world.
And that’s why President Obama has shown nothing but respect since Nov. 8. It’s the way our country works, like it or not. We’re all in this together, even if some of us have different or even dangerous ideas about what it means. I’m not excited for a Trump presidency. I’m very, very concerned. If he follows through with his campaign promises, it’ll be a disaster. But I’m hoping, like the election, that my predictions will prove to be off. I’ll likely fight him every step of the way, but as I previously stated, I’ll call Donald Trump “my president,” just as I’ve done for all the others in my lifetime. For the country’s sake, you should, too.