Almost immediately after an out-of-nowhere Election Day blowout, Trump saw the need to unify the nation. It had been a divisive and brutal presidential campaign, one marred by deepening disaffection among the electorate.
“Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division, we have to get together,” a triumphant Trump announced the day after his win. “To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say, it is time for us to come together as one united people. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans, and this is so important to me.”
“For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people, I’m reaching out to you,” Trump said. “For your guidance and your help, so that we can work together and unify our great country.”
It didn’t work. Protesters flooded the streets, marching in opposition to his victory. “We reject the president-elect,” and “not my president,” they chanted. The sentiment was furthered by a hostile media, who was at once fascinated with the notion of a celebrity president, and reveling in the opportunity to tear him down. And it was hammered home by leading Democrats, who did everything in their power to delegitimize the election by pushing inane theories about why their candidate lost, ranging from James Comey, to the Russians, to Facebook.
Nevertheless, Trump released a magnanimous Thanksgiving message, praying once again that the nation could begin to heal its divisions.
“Emotions are raw and tensions just don’t heal overnight,” Trump said. “It doesn’t go quickly unfortunately, but we have before us the chance now to make history together…But to succeed I am asking you to join me in this effort. It is time to restore the bonds of trust between citizens. Because when America is unified, there is nothing beyond our reach, and I mean absolutely nothing.”
Still, the good feelings did not last long. Rather than make an effort to find common ground with the president, or even to engage in principled opposition through a battle of ideas, many liberals instead opted to fight a figment of their imagination.
“Let me tell you here where I stand on your ‘I hope we can get along’ plea: Never,” New York Times’ author Charles Blow wrote after Trump met with the editorial board. “You are an aberration and abomination who is willing to do and say anything – no matter whom it aligns you with and whom it hurts – to satisfy your ambitions.”
Once again, Trump is seeking to be magnanimous in victory. According to aides President-elect Trump plans to once again stress “unity” in his remarks. David Jackson reports for USA Today:
Donald Trump is a different kind of president-elect, but his very first words as president — his inaugural address — will likely echo a theme used by many predecessors.
Having won an angry campaign, and now facing low approval ratings after a tumultuous transition, Trump plans to use his first speech as president to try to soothe tensions, according to aides.
“He wants to continue to talk about issues and areas where he can unite the country — bring it together,” said Trump transition spokesman Sean Spicer.
Separately, Boris Epshteyn, a spokesman for the inauguration said, that the goals would be to “[b]ring the country together, bring the country back to work, making sure we’re safe and secure, making sure Americans are safe in their homes and jobs.”
Inaugurations are a time when Americans come together as one nation. As Barack Obama said in his inaugural address, “[o]n this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.”
After all, today is about hope. About meeting our challenges head on and conquering them together. About recognizing a path forwards, and joining arm-in-arm as we march down it. Inevitably the vitriol will resume. The left will once again pick up their tools to chip away at the foundation of this presidency. But for today let us be just one nation, united by the love of our country, and respectful of its elected leaders.