Donald Trump’s supporters say often that he loves his country. Although one imagines he may have already secured citizenship in a nonextradition state like the United Arab Emirates or the secret miniature country Brazil made for German émigrés after World War II, they are referring, when they say this, to the United States of America.
Now, has Donald Trump ever given any indication that there is anything he “loves” about the United States besides its flag and the abstract idea of its armed services and police forces? No. Has he ever spoken with a tone of affection or even basic familiarity about its culture, geography, history, system of government, or record of achievements in science and technology? That’s what we call a “big no.”
The Slate Editorial Board thus challenges him, using this open-letter format, which is timelessly effective and is not a gimmicky anachronism that is always ignored, to prove that he loves his country and wants to do what’s best for it by resigning from the presidency and never speaking again. (Disclaimer: The Slate Editorial Board does not exist.)
It’s true that as of Jan. 20 Trump will no longer be the chief executive even if he does nothing at all. But there is much that could be accomplished in the intervening month and 12 days by having a replacement-level president like Mike Pence in office instead.
Consider what Trump is in the news for right now:
• Being so indifferent to the ongoing stimulus negotiations in Congress that even Republican senators have no idea what he’ll be willing to sign into law.
• Having declined Pfizer’s offer, made over the summer, to reserve additional future supplies of what we now know to be an effective coronavirus vaccine.
• Issuing a vaccine-related executive order so confusing that the chief scientist of the administration’s vaccine task force told Good Morning America that he didn’t understand it and couldn’t explain it.
• Pursuing an attempt to overturn the results of the presidential election so absurd that the attorney general of Texas, in his efforts to please the MAGA voting base, has now filed a lawsuit against all the swing states at once.
As “interim president,” a regular hack politician like Mike Pence could order vaccines, pass an economic stimulus in order to be able to later say that the stock market went up when he was president, and pander to news anchors by pretending to graciously accept the election results. That would be great stuff for our nation.
Detractors may point out that we have called on Donald Trump to resign four times this year already and that it won’t work because he doesn’t read Slate and is not a fan of the “ideas journalism” sector in general. Those detractors are traitors to the United States and President Pence should arrest them.