Courtesy of Tribune News Service

Column: Trump needs to bring the country together

Once upon a time, in a land seemingly far, far away, there lived a president who actually cared about unifying his country during times of tragedy and crisis. Whether it was shedding a tear after innocent children lost their lives at school or singing “Amazing Grace” at a funeral after countless other innocents lost their lives at church, our last president always had the American people in his heart and mind.  

Gone are the days of the U.S president acting as America’s father figure. Instead, our president now acts as something more closely related to America’s unstable second cousin. Just within the past seven months, every crisis or tragedy we as a country have faced has been met with half-hearted tweets or irrelevant rants about cracking down on immigration. 

Pretty much any third-grader could tell you what being president means and what formal responsibilities come with it. Drafting policy ideas, meeting with fellow world leaders and even pardoning a Thanksgiving turkey are all things that come to mind immediately. But what about those things that may not be formal or written, but are definitely equally important? 

Well, President Trump has failed in this latter category. 

Every time our country faces some sort of disaster — a hurricane, violent rally, or anything of the sort — an opportunity arises for the president to use his platform to unite the nation. In times of such polarizing hate, we all need him to bring us together. But Trump has never even tried to do this. Rather, he just adds fuel to the fire. 

Just this past Friday after a terror attack in London, we all felt our hearts both ache for the people who were injured and fear for the future. Trump, however, used this horrible situation to push his anti-immigration agenda. Using his all-time favorite word, “loser,” to describe the perpetrator, Trump went on a Twitter rant about why we need tougher protection. I’m sure the people of London really appreciated that insensitivity literally hours after having the scare of their lives. 

This summer when an alt-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned deadly, people around the country needed a leader to condemn those who were truly to blame. Instead, Trump practically endorsed the white-supremacists by saying that there was "blame on both sides" as well as good people on both sides. After an innocent person died, he really needed to console his country and assure us that this bigotry and hate will not be tolerated. 

But, as usual, he disappointed. 

When you’re the leader of a country as diverse and dynamic as the U.S., there is no room to play politics in light of tragedy. We need to see comfort coming from the White House. 

We need to feel assured that our leaders will not let “violent” become synonymous with American. 

America used to be the epitome of strength and unity. It used to be the “shining city on a hill.” But with our current president’s neglect of the very important informal responsibility of bringing his country together after tragedies, we no longer show the strength we once did. 

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