Opinion

An Insight Into Donald Trump’s Lack Of Basic Humanity

Lanny Davis Former Special Counsel to President Bill Clinton

Dear friend:

I often send you my “purple nation” column about politics. But today, I am sending you a brief message urging you to read an op ed column published in today’s (August 3) New York Times. Please open the link below this introductory comment to the Times’ editorial page where this piece appears. And then to send it out widely to all your friends by email and text, and if you use social media such as Twitter of Facebook, to circulate it widely.

The column is written by Mr. Ted Gup, a professor of journalism in Emerson College. Mr. Gup’s piece will tell you more than anything I have read to date why Donald Trump should never be the next president of the United States.

To me, it nails down and documents the absence of “basic humanity” of Donald Trump – the minimum that should be required for any president of this great country.

What do I mean by “basic humanity?” I don’t know if I can define that term. It’s kind of like the definition of the late Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, when the Supreme Court was struggling to define “obscenity” as outside of the protections of the First Amendment. Justice Stewart wrote that he couldn’t really define “obscenity,” but “I know it when I see it.”

Well, I don’t know what exactly I mean when I say that Donald Trump lacks “basic humanity” – lacks values? Lacks an understanding of right vs. wrong? Lacks “empathy” as Mr. Khizr Kahn, the Gold Star dad who condemned Trump’s bigotry and ignorance in his proposal to ban all Muslims, at least “temporarily,” from coming to the United States. Is cruel and unfeeling, as when he attacked the Gold Star mother, Mrs. Kahn, because she did not speak but stood quietly next to her husband near the podium of the Convention, suggesting she was not “allowed” to speak because she was a Muslim wife. (In fact, Mrs. Khan later explained that she was in too much pain to speak, with the photo of her heroic son who was slain in battle in Iraq in 2004.) Or as Warren Buffet said recently, repeating the famous question asked by attorney Joseph Welch of Senator Joseph McCarthy: “Have you lost all sense of decency, sir?”

Whatever basic humanity is, I believe Trump lacks it – and regardless of my strong disagreements with many politicians on the issues and even as to their values, I have not ever reached a conclusion that any candidate lacks basic humanity, as I inwardly understand that phrase, that he should never never never be elected president of the United States.

When you read column by Mr. Gup, perhaps you too will react so negatively to Trump not on the issues as to reach the same instinctive reaction to him, that he lacks basic humanity as you define that term.

If you go to the website where Mr. Gup’s column is carried, you will read some amazing and thoughtful comments, not limited to the usual extremist bile written under the cowardice of anonymity. I hope you conclude after reading the column and many of these contests that this election is too important to be on the sidelines because you don’t like, don’t trust, or disagree with Hillary Clinton, or decide to throw your vote away by voting for the Libertarian or Green Party candidates, who don’t seem to mind that their candidacies in a close election could help Trump win the presidency. Full disclosure:  I am a longtime friend since law school (more than 46 years ago) of Hillary Clinton, and I know that she is a good person, a person with a heart and with the basic empathetic human instincts that so many see Donald Trump lacks.

Read this piece and you decide. For me, my take away is that in my lifetime, I have never felt that any candidate is so extreme in his lack of humanity, so everyone must vote for Hillary Clinton to ensure not just that he is defeated but defeated by such a huge margin that the likes of him will never come close to being the nominee of a major political party much less to running again for generations to come.

So please read this column – click on the link – by Mr. Gup — and if you can post it on Twitter, FB, or any other method by email or otherwise to all your family and friends and business acquaintances, please do your best to get it widely circulated. The hashtag I will be using is simple and has been previously used in a different context: #nevertrump.

Lanny Davis is co-founder of both the Washington law firm Davis Goldberg Galper PLLC and Trident DMG, a strategic media firm specializing in crisis management. He served as special counsel to President Clinton in 1996-98 and is a regular columnist for The Hill newspaper. He has been a friend of Hillary Clinton since they were students at Yale Law School together in 1969-70.