Trump’s tone changes, rhetoric amended?


Courtesy of Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Trump now is tasked with leading a country that elected him on the basis of his hateful rhetoric.

Eric Rodriguez, Writer

The Trump balloon is deflating. Can you hear it? Its hateful hiss now grows faint. The once bold and brash Trump is now appearing more timid than ever as he continues to walk back his preposterous policy promises made during the campaign season.

In an interview conducted with the New York Times on Nov. 23, Trump walked back the claim he repeatedly made during the campaign to order a special investigation into Clinton’s emails saying that he didn’t “want to hurt the Clintons,” and that Hillary had “suffered in many different ways.”

Besides the absurdity of the claim that he, in the current system of checks and balances that we operate in, could instruct federal prosecutors in regards to whom should or should not be prosecuted, Trump’s softening tone on Clinton’s prosecution is just one more feeble attempt to bring this divided nation together.

The majority of people who opposed Trump never actually believed that Clinton was seriously in threat of facing prosecution by the Trump administration. What people were scared of was the rhetoric. The chilling echoes of “lock her up” during almost every Trump rally, the president-elect calling Mexicans criminals and rapists and spewing hateful rhetoric towards Muslims and calling for a temporary ban of them all added up to a campaign fueled by hate, which fostered exclusion.

Trump’s reprehensible rhetoric towards ethnic and religious minorities has already began to bear fruit as CBS Evening News reported that there have been at least 700 cases of hateful harassment or intimidation since the election. With cases ranging from those of high school students in Texas chanting “build that wall” towards a largely hispanic opposing volleyball team to cases of mosques in California receiving copies of letters calling Muslims “a vile and filthy people” and telling them that their “time of reckoning has arrived” citing Trump as the “new sheriff in town.”   

Even in our own diverse college of NEIU we have seen the reverberations of a Trump victory with at least two cases of hate speech being reported on our campus in the last weeks. There is no doubt that many of the racial and ethnic sentiments that Trump spoke of during the campaign were alive and well before he began to run for president, but it is the emboldening that Trump has done for people that hold these racial sentiments that has proved to be so harmful for our country.

The irresponsible and hateful rhetoric that Trump exuded during the election season can’t be forgotten, and no softening of Trump’s invisible policy plan can help fix the permanent wounds that he has caused our country. Trump could reverse all his campaign policies. He could even keep Obamacare and that wouldn’t solve the problem he created. There is undoubtedly a visible divide between the American people that is Trump’s duty to bridge. That is what being a president of the people, by the people, and for the people really stands for.

Regardless of party, it has always been a president’s job to gauge the emotional state of a country and pivot from division to inclusion. If President Trump ever wants to get anything done he has to first admit to his role in widening the division between Americans. Second, he has to repudiate every hateful remark that he made in the campaign season. Not until Trump does both of those things will any opposer of Trump take his policies seriously. Courage is not saying hateful things and labeling them as just being honest. Courage is not lambasting critics at 3 a.m. on Twitter. Courage is putting country over pride and admitting to your faults even though it hurts. I just don’t think Trump has that amount of courage.