A good President, marred by his own whining and grievance

As parents, we often tell our children – especially our sons – not to whine. It is a bad characteristic for a child, and is often repulsive in adult men. But for the last four years, we have had a President who was defined by how whining and grievances, and that has ultimately resulted in Donald Trump being the only President in American history to be impeached twice. Worse yet, the Republican Party has been infected with this whining and grievance politics. That needs to stop.

Trump is the only President in American history to be impeached twice, and both impeachments grew out of his victim mentality. After the Mueller investigation concluded, Trump could have been the bigger man and moved on. But if you read the transcript of Trump’s call with the Ukrainian leader, it is dripping with victimhood and grievance. Trump whined about the “Russia hoax” and how Joe Biden’s misdeeds were not properly looked into. Even if Trump had never mentioned Biden, it is unseemly for the leader of the free world to be venting his grievances to other world leaders.

Trump’s second impeachment also grew from his victim mentality, this time over the 2020 election. He whined about fellow Republicans disagreeing with him over the process, even those who had been exceedingly loyal for years. He whined about how the election was unfair. He encouraged this victim mentality in others, and stirred up anger from real, perceived and exaggerated grievances.

I made no secret of my support for Donald Trump’s re-election. For me, the choice in 2020 was clear: Outside of his lack of fiscal discipline, Trump advanced solid conservative policy. Biden promised a radical agenda, and having Trump in the White House would have been a bulwark against that. I also made no secret of my frustration with the President’s immaturity, vindictiveness, selfishness and egomania. (See here and here and here and here and here and here and here.)

The sad thing about Trump is that had he been more disciplined and less obsessed with his own victimhood, he would be seen as a much better President today and in the future. He would have won re-election, instead of being the only President since Jimmy Carter to lose re-election without a huge share of the vote taken by a third party candidate. There is no reason Trump should have lost, but his need to engage in childish trolling made him so toxic to so many tens of millions of people that they turned out on droves to vote against him. Keep in mind most of these people did not vote for Joe Biden, but against Donald Trump.

I hope this is a lesson for Republicans in the future. We can learn both positive and negative lessons from Trump’s example. The primary one is this: Trump did not lose because of policy. He lost because of his character. The path forward for Republicans running for any office is clear: Do not whine. Do not obsess about victimhood and grievance. Be mature and behave professionally. Do not be Donald Trump.