January 19, 2021

We Elected Donald Trump, But Then We Defeated Him. Thank You All.

We Elected Donald Trump, But Then We Defeated Him. Thank You All.

Dear Friends,

We made it. You did it.

Four years ago, our country elected a racist con man, entirely unfit for office, to be president of the United States. And he stayed in the post a full four years, despite numerous crimes and abuses and an unprecedented two impeachments by the House of Representatives.

As a result, there has been immense harm, just for example: migrant children separated from their parents and held in cages; people of color faced with blatant hatred from the White House as some suffered police brutality in their communities; LGBTQ people burdened by renewed discrimination; families left poor, small businesses destroyed, and lives taken by a pandemic made much worse by Trump’s contemptible, inept effort to wish it away; and a deadly assault on democracy itself after Trump lost re-election but pursued the big lie that he won.

Trump the president leaves in his wake a horrific public health and economic crisis. There’s a zombie army of conspiracy theorists, white supremacists, and other grievance-obsessed Americans who won’t accept the new Biden-Harris administration, who can’t or won’t distinguish fact from fiction, whose capacity for hate and selfish, reckless behavior is breathtaking.

The Trump administration’s incompetence and contempt has harmed the workings of government in ways that will take years to repair. 

The immense corruption of the Trump years — with a president routinely pocketing taxpayer and lobbyist dollars, with revolving door grifters across the regime, with whistleblowers and inspector generals fired for acting with integrity, with Justice Department decisions and presidential pardons aimed at helping Trump cronies and co-conspirators  — has damaged public policy and our nation in hundreds of ways, in the erosion of justice and ethics and in the gutting of vital consumer protection, health, safety, and environmental rules.

We damaged alliances and lost ground and opportunity to make things better overseas, from Korea and Iran, to Russia and China, to Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq, to Israel and the Palestinian territories — and on the urgent issue of climate change.

But, seriously, it could have been a lot worse.

Trump’s utter lack of competence as president limited the damage, reducing some of his worst authoritarian dreams to passive-aggressive whining. Political foes and reporters weren’t actually locked up or censored.

In many respects, Trump failed because the resistance prevailed. Opponents of Trump policies and programs notched wins in Congress, in the courts, in the states. Obamacare was wounded but survived, Social Security and Medicare weren’t gutted, there wasn’t a global war.

Key media outlets never buckled, but continued to investigate, to expose, to tell the truth, to stand up to a would-be bully.

Above all, despite Trump disinformation and a decades-long GOP effort to disenfranchise people of color and other Democratic supporters, voters defeated Trump in the November election, not overwhelmingly, but soundly. Democrats, progressives, independents, and anti-Trump Republicans got behind Joe Biden not as a perfect candidate — there wasn’t one — but as a plausible, decent, consensus antidote to the menace in the White House. Biden, Kamala Harris, and their team ran a shrewd campaign, striking the right notes, avoiding public drama.

And, finally, because Trump’s dishonesty and criminality demanded one more push, our people and institutions, including the media, the courts, state officials, and patriots in the GOP, decisively defeated Trump’s absurd but ultimately murderous effort — assisted by a disturbingly large number of congressional Republicans — to overturn the election. 

So, thank you, friends. You marched, you organized, lobbied, ran for office, investigated, wrote, served, blew the whistle, and much more, even as you did your other work, raised families, buried loved ones. Thank you for your determination, courage, skill, and strength in resisting and ultimately driving out the worst, most corrupt, most vile president and administration in our history, and putting our nation on the path to restoration. Love and respect to all of you.