WASHINGTON, July 20, 2015 — Is Donald Trump’s presidential campaign entertainment or politics?
The Huffington Post has been criticized for its decision to cover Trump’s campaign as entertainment, not politics. Although Trump’s habit of responding to criticism by unleashing a nuclear assault of personal attacks is often entertaining, the role of responsible, professional media outlets is to push beyond the facade to fully cover stories that matter to their readers.
Given Trump’s 2012 attempts to prove President Obama was born outside the United States, and his recent disparaging remarks that framed all illegal immigrants as rapists, criminals, and undesirable in general, it is hard to argue that Trump’s antics are not entertainment.
Trump’s declaration that John McCain is not a War Hero adds support to the campaign-as-(bad) entertainment notion. Being captured by the enemy during the Vietnam War does not make John McCain a hero. He is a hero for serving his country, standing by his men at his own detriment while imprisoned, and refusing to betray his country to the Viet Cong.
Anyone who has ever listened to a Trump interview or read one of his books knows the man actually has a great deal to offer the American people. Whether you like him or not, there is a reason Donald Trump is a billionaire. He understands business on a national and international level. He also understands how public policy can affect business. That makes him a potentially constructive force in public policy debates that focus on balancing the interests of the American people with those of business.
In the book “Why We Want You to Be Rich,” co-written by Donald Trump and “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” author Robert Kiyosaki, the authors discuss the hazards of failing to grow one’s income above the inflation rate. Trump has his shortcomings, but he does understand the problems facing the American people and he does care about the welfare of people.
The problem with Trump is that he always pushes things one-step too far. Instead of showing some grace and humility, he has to be right at all costs, even when he is wrong. Because politics has grown increasingly negative, filled with intensifying personal attacks, and defined by blatant generalities intended to unite supporters at the expense of others, Trump appears to feel compelled to be the best at being the worst of the worst.
Instead, he needs to show he is truly a leader worthy enough to be U.S. President by learning when to shut his mouth, apologize, and focus on economic policy. In other words, he must provide what the American people need. He must learn to be a public servant.