Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Dignity in Office Presidents Should Put Aside Personal Feuds to Work for the People

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Dignity in Office Presidents Should Put Aside Personal Feuds to Work for the People

Article excerpt

I was sitting down Thursday morning to write my column about the health care bill winding its way through Congress. But then Donald Trump tweeted something awful.

"I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came . . . to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!"

The howls of condemnation were swift, furious and justified. Insults like this are beneath the dignity of the office.

"Dignity of the office"- an interesting term. From where does that dignity come? From the people.

The president of the United States is the one official who all Americans can vote for, which makes him or her the tribune of the people, hopefully bringing out the best in us.

James Madison, father of the Constitution, was optimistic that a representative government such as ours "would refine and enlarge the public views" because it would elevate characters with wisdom, patriotism and love of justice, enabling them to "best discern the true interest of their country."

Madison was no fool, of course. He knew that politicians often play to the lowest common denominator, but he never reckoned on a character like Donald Trump.

It is not simply that he is vulgar, though that is bad enough. The problem runs much deeper: He is too selfish to be a good president.

This is a critical week for the Republican agenda, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tries to fashion a coalition in the upper chamber that will pass his alternative to Obamacare.Put aside your personal views of that bill (mine are decidedly mixed), and just think about it from Mr. Trump's perspective. Repealing and replacing Obamacare was a central campaign pledge and, in this important moment, he is creating a sideshow that undermines Mr. McConnell. And for what? A petty feud with a cable news host who 99 percent of Americans have never heard of.

A good president puts his agenda, his plan of action for the people, above himself. …

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