“Debating the Trump Presidency” with
- Charles Kesler of Claremont McKenna College and
- Jonah Goldberg of National Review.
Public debate took place on October 12, 2018, at the University of Notre Dame.
Presented by the Constitutional Studies and Tocqueville Programs at Notre Dame and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
President Trump couldn’t have written that sentence about “prejudice”!Charles Kesler makes the mistake of misattributing to Trump the words of the presidential speech-writers: (Starting at 15:15 min)(But of course, it is highly unlikely that Trump wrote that sentence or would even be capable of writing that sentence. One can tell that Trump’s speech writers wrote it because the voice of “Scripted Trump” sounds very different than RealDonaldTrump.)
Counter example: Has patriotism ever left room for prejudice historically?To quibble with Trump’s speech writers a bit:If one examines History, does one ever find patriotic men whose hearts left room for prejudice?I can agree with the writers’ quote if one stipulates “true patriotism“, but I don’t feel as though Trump promotes “true patriotism”. True patriotism:
- Is Selfless
- Is Humble
- Abjures Divisiveness
- Honors Civility and preserves government institutions that maintain it
- Pursues the Common good
- Is Motivated by high ideals, not power, bigotry, attention, or fame.
- Pursues shared power, with checks and balances
- Looks for win-win agreements
- Respects boundaries and limits
- Pursues Liberty and Justice for all
- Wishes other countries well (does not demean them, as nationalist do)
- Values dissent in the pursuit of a more perfect union
Is Donald Trump a self-reflective man?Charles Kesler also imagines that Donald Trump is capable of serious self-reflection: (15:41 min)
I think that is the standard that he would repair to in his moments of most serious self-reflection.
From everything I’ve read, Donald Trump strikes me as someone who actively avoids serious self-reflection. In an interview with a biographer, he said:
“No, I don’t want to think about it,” he said when Mr. D’Antonio asked him to contemplate the meaning of his life. “I don’t like to analyze myself because I might not like what I see.”
Imagining that Trump would engage in serious self-reflection about “prejudice” is only slightly less plausible than imagining that Trump maintains a prayer journal.
Kesler is deceiving himself with “IdealizedTrump”
In my view, Mr. Kesler is deceiving himself by imagining an IdealizedTrump who embodies those qualities he wishes to see in a President, rather than the RealDonaldTrump. Even the semi-presidential tweets found on Trump’s twitter account are likely made by staff. (how to tell)