Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump

Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump November 9, 2016

November 9, 2016


Dear Mr. President-Elect,

Congratulations on your electoral victory. As a fellow citizen, I believe it is my duty to send you my best wishes for a successful transition and an effective presidency.

Throughout your entire campaign, I have had serious concerns about your approach to politics. Much of your rhetoric and behavior reflects poorly on your aspiration to be a leader, on your supporters, and on the party.

Upon your election, you said you want to unite the country. In my hearing, that rings hollow. You fomented and exploited many divisions among our people in the nominating contest and in the general election campaign.

But as you begin feeling the weight of the awesome responsibilities that await you, I hope you will find some virtues that have been absent from your public persona but which you may be able to summon from the better angels of your nature.

You chose a nasty path to get to where you are today. Because it worked so well, you may be tempted to continue on it. You may wish to govern as you have campaigned. I urge you to choose a different way.

I suppose I could blame your supporters’ worst behavior and ugliest attitudes on you. I do not know if that is fair. But I would hope that you call on them to exemplify the virtues of democratic citizenship, even as you rightly expect the same of the many millions who opposed you.

You disregarded many norms of civic decency. Maybe this is less of a problem than people like me suppose. Your supporters are angry and feel that the system is rigged against them. I cannot say for sure whether it is or not. But I think the path you chose obligates you to an even greater than usual effort toward unity and reconciliation.

Your status as president-elect also makes you the leader of your party. My abolitionist ancestors were early supporters of the Republican Party in Pennsylvania in the 1850s. In every generation of my family since that time, a man has been named after Lincoln. While my family, like most, contains a diversity of opinions, we are united in pride of our forefathers. We hope the Republican Party remains true to the ideals of its founding. In some cases over the years, it has most assuredly not. Right now, we are fearful. We do not know what the Republican Party stands for, and we frankly do not know how much you even care. So please hear the plea of my family and of millions of Americans who would be devastated if the Grand Old Party became merely a vehicle for nativism or nationalism.

The institutions of American government and society have served me and my family well. Many of my fellow citizens cannot say the same. We know that America is already great, yet ever flawed. I want our governing institutions to serve the common good of all my fellow citizens and reflect liberty and true greatness to all the world’s people.

I have never made or lost fortunes, but I know I am privileged. You give little indication that you understand your privilege, so I offer this for your consideration: Many people do not have the security, health, and luxury that you enjoy. They suffer much more dearly for their mistakes, sins, and crimes. They are not richly rewarded for their successes. I have found that less privileged people appreciate when you acknowledge the disparity with grace, compassion, and empathy. In spite of your great wealth and fame, you have somehow resonated with untold millions of ordinary Americans. Please try harder to understand the rest.

Though I did not vote for you, I reaffirm my commitment our electoral process, our constitutional order, and our republican form of government. Please be mindful of the great confidence we must all, whether cheerfully or reluctantly, place in you. It is hard earned and easily lost.

I urge you to seek wise and prudent counsel wherever it may be found, especially from the five living presidents, from seasoned political hands, and from devoted public servants. Please find a full measure of humility and reverence. Do not neglect the love and care of your wife and children. For even though you will have a place in history and you owe your very best to all of us, we understand your obligations as a husband and a father and we wish safety and happiness for you and your family.

Take care of yourself. Your fellow citizens depend on you for leadership, administration, and judicious decision-making. I hope you live up to the greatness of the office to which you have been elected. May you be found worthy of the respect and honor it commands.


Jacob Lupfer
Baltimore, Maryland





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