A president is a paragon. A president possesses integrity, wisdom and leadership. A president is the symbol of a country, held to a higher standard than the average citizen. Donald Trump embodies, perhaps, the exact opposite of what we generally mean when we find someone sufficiently dignified, intelligent and upright to be called “presidential.” From his numerous thoughtless, sexist and racist remarks to his noticeably absent political experience, Trump has made clear that he is the least qualified candidate on the roster.
In the past few months, Trump has been a near-constant presence in the news. He is certainly running the most visible campaign, and his ability to alternately rile the public and garner an alarming amount of support is certainly to be admired. His campaign has been astoundingly successful in gaining publicity. But, we must remember that much of the publicity has resulted from making a fool of himself. Trump has insulted fellow candidate Carly Fiorina, Fox News reporter Megyn Kelly, CNN star Anderson Cooper, and nearly every immigrant in the United States and every hopeful immigrant outside it. We do not want a president incapable of speaking with tact or reason, instead spouting whatever extremist view or absurd insult he thinks up on the spot. Trump fails to present himself as a venerable and wise figure; he operates like he is still a reality TV host rather than the would-be leader of the free world. He published a series of offensive barbs about Kelly on Twitter. He insulted Fiorina’s appearance rather than address her proposed policies. And he seems to believe that all of his actions were reasonable: In an interview with Jimmy Fallon, Trump said, “I fully think apologizing is a great thing, but you have to be wrong.”
If Trump wants to be considered a serious candidate, he should remember that being president of the United States is a far cry from being the president of a billion-dollar empire. The image that a president presents reflects on the entire country, and the juvenile behavior in which he has thus far engaged are entirely unacceptable.
However, it is not just a presidential aura that Trump lacks, but also any political experience. While Trump has proven himself a capable businessman and managerial force, it is an entirely different matter to run things in the Oval Office. A country is not just a business. The administrative skills Trump has gained from his success in the financial world are not necessarily transferable to the political theater. According to Harvard Business School professor Gautam Muukunda, even moving from one company to another may affect success; moving to the government is a “larger leap” — by far. However, Trump seems to view his inexperience in an entirely different light — that is, he sees no problem. He is overconfident in his abilities to the point of grating arrogance, which does not bode well for the country if he ever stepped into the White House. And though he is leading in a number of surveys, a new poll by the Washington Post and ABC News found that 60 percent of Americans do not consider Trump qualified to be president.
This statistic comes as no surprise. Discussion of his own policy has been limited to ridiculous ideas that seem more satirical than serious — for instance, a physical wall on the border between the U.S. and Mexico. The only explanation for the faith that around 40 percent of America has in Trump is that he appeals to their uglier, selfish sides, filled with base desires like greed: Trump said that, should be become president, he would have South Korea compensate the United States for our continued protection of their country against the threat of North Korea. It is not enough to maintain peace for the sake of peace. According to Trump, capitalist extraordinaire, America must profit off an endeavor or simply drop it. Does this mean we should abandon peacekeeping missions and humanitarian efforts as well? It certainly seems to be the implication.
At times, the substanceless rallies and idiotic comments attributed to Trump seem almost too absurd to be for real. His campaign seems on the verge of being a lengthy, very costly, though admittedly very well-executed, publicity stunt. At any moment, Trump might yell, “Surprise! This was a joke the whole time,” on the TV screen; that is the character he has created for himself. Perhaps UFC Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey said it best: “I just really wouldn’t trust that guy with running my country.”