Why I wish Donald Trump well in his role as ex-president and don’t advocate his impeachment.
Politicians are notorious for framing themselves in the best possible light and wearing blinders when faced with an opposing perspective or facts that conflict with their own ambitions. But Donald Trump has gone beyond political pandering. He has damaged his own image and the American ideals that he claims to cherish by repeatedly lying to his followers and refusing to accept defeat. He chose lies over the truth. He chose himself over his country. That’s not what makes America great. Still, I don’t favor his impeachment, because America needs to heal from the deep divisions that divide us. When Abraham Lincoln and his generals defeated the Confederate army he offered generous terms of surrender. He did so because his ultimate goal was not revenge but to preserve the American union. We could use some of President Lincoln’s wisdom right now.
“I have always found mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.” Abraham Lincoln
Donald Trump lost the election, fair and square. His own Attorney General, the state and federal court systems, including the Supreme Court with 3 Trump appointees, and Republican election officials in several battleground states found no evidence there was election fraud that would have turned the election into a win for Trump. The White house website refers to a report by the Heritage Foundation showing evidence of massive voter fraud. That report lists 1,308 cases of voter fraud that go back to 1948. Over 400 cases involve individuals convicted of duplicate, ineligible or fraudulent votes of 3 votes or less. The remaining 908 cases reported over the last 72 years by the Heritage Foundation report represents an average of 13 cases a year. The report lists 15 cases of vote fraud in 2020. This is not evidence of massive voter fraud. (Note: I personally spent 3 hours reviewing this report.)
I wish Donald Trump the wisdom to let go of his anger, his self-obsession and his denial of the 2020 presidential election results. As an executive coach, I find leaders who are humble enough to admit and learn from their mistakes, who choose constructive dialogue over angry rhetoric and who seek to fix the problem, not the blame, are ultimately the most successful. If he chooses not to learn from this debacle, I suspect he will be a very unhappy man. As Dr. Cherie Carter-Scott wrote, “A lesson is repeated until learned.” When the dust is settled it is clear to me the history books will record that Donald Trump was no American patriot.
In an hour-long recorded phone call on January 2nd, Donald Trump repeated pleaded with Georgia’s top election official, Brad Raffensperger, to find 11,780 votes, to flip the election results in Georgia in his favor despite being told several times by the Republican Secretary of State that there was no evidence of electoral fraud.
Donald Trump lied to his loyal supporters, saying in his speech on the White house lawn on January 6th, “Our election victory was stolen by emboldened radical-left Democrats… and …fake news media. We will never concede. We will not take it anymore. We will stop the steal.” He also urged his followers to “show strength” and “take back our country” by “marching over to the Capitol building.”
After his supporters broke through police lines to ransack the Capitol building, he tweeted, “We had an election that was stolen from us…There has never been a time like this where such a thing happened, where they could take it away from all of us. From me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election… so go home, we love you, you’re very special.” (This tweet was deleted by Twitter and Donald Trump has since been permanently banned from Twitter.)
I forgive Donald Trump for his faults. He lost his sense of right and wrong. He confused victory with justice. My decision not to support his impeachment has less to do with his reckless actions than the values I hold for myself and my fellow Americans. I simply no longer wish to carry any anger in my heart over his behavior. I honestly wish Donald Trump finds some peace of mind as he transitions to ex-president. I also recognize 74 million of America voted for Donald Trump. I respect the wide spectrum of values, perspectives and priorities these Americans have, though I may not agree with each of them. If we are going to fix the problems that we all face as Americans, we need to find common ground and work together. It’s time to put aside our anger. It’s time to move forward.