Dear President-elect Trump:
Unsolicited advice is said to be the best kind because it is the
most easily ignored. But even if this letter accomplishes nothing else, at
least it will help me focus my own thinking about what I expect from you as
Admittedly, I didn’t vote for you, but neither did I vote for
Mrs. Clinton. I was one of those voters, not few in number, who just didn’t
find it an appealing choice. As you prepare to start your presidency, I hope I
was wrong about you.
My first piece of advice is that you reconsider your twittering.
Notice that I say “reconsider,” not “stop.” I realize that you’ve ingeniously
turned Twitter into an extremely effective political tool that you can hardly
be expected to give up.
But the campaign is over. You’re preparing to assume the mantle
of leader of the free world, and the presidency is an office that doesn’t look
kindly on occupants who sound off whenever and however they like. Spontaneity
is all very well, but serious unforeseen consequences can flow from careless
talk by a president. No more top of the head twittering, please.
Next, I urge that you give high priority to keeping the promises
you made to the pro-life voters who did so much to elect you. Among other
things, that means vigorously supporting measures to bar the killing of unborn
infants capable of feeling pain, make the Hyde Amendment permanent law, and end
federal funding of Planned Parenthood.
Especially, too, it means naming a pro-life justice to fill the
Supreme Court seat left vacant by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, then
continuing to nominate pro-life candidates for the court as often as you get a
chance while applying the same criterion to the selection of judges for lower
federal courts. (More than 100 of these important appointments are pending, I
My next suggestion may be hard for you to swallow, but — patch up
your relationship with the mainstream press. Many Americans look to these media
as necessary sources of information. Sure, they have faults — I’ve often
written about these myself — but the mainstream press plays a crucial role as
an agent of accountability. Political leaders who brush it aside are brushing
off an important instrument of democracy at work.
Extend a hand of welcome to the many decent people among the
undocumented aliens now in the United States and to America’s fair share of the
refugees from violence and oppression in the Middle East. Yes, there are some
bad apples among them. By all means, take steps to weed them out. But open the
door wide to those willing and able to make a positive contribution to this
There are a lot of other things I could mention, but let me close
with a delicate but extremely important subject: your faith.
During the campaign you didn’t present yourself as a deeply
religious man, but you said you were a believer. I don’t expect you to become
Saint Donald overnight, but I urge you to turn regularly to God for strength
and light in facing up to the challenges of your job.
Take time every day to read the New Testament. The Sermon on the
Mount is a good place to start. You may find it at odds with your own gospel of
being a winner, but remember — you’re the president for losers, too. Talk that
over with God in prayer.
And be sure that many of us will be praying for you.