To Elinor Dalessandro of Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, Trump’s “single most egregious and appalling stunt” was his mocking of a reporter with a physical disability, in 2015. “How that didn’t abruptly upend his run will always remain a source of profound sadness and shock at the lack of humanity in so many,” Dalessandro wrote.
As president, readers pointed out, Trump’s disparagement of his perceived opponents continued:
In discussing the government shutdown, Harold Norman of Charlotte, North Carolina, wrote, Trump “notes that government workers are Democrats, which somehow makes it okay to put them out of work.”
Scott Brown of Carmel Valley, California, said:
My specific addition would be his accusation that Obama bugged him late in 2016. I remember the distinct feeling of being through the looking glass when I read it. It also introduced we West Coasters to the phenomenon of waking up, checking your phone, and getting the distinct impression that the world is on fire.
Several readers commented on Trump’s impact on international relations:
“Somewhere in the next 50 fumbles,” said Lenny Smith of Clarksboro, New Jersey, “we should include the rude pushing-aside of the prime minister of Montenegro so Trump could be in the spotlight.”
“To me, the biggest damage may be the abandoned treaties and NATO support,” argued Paul David Musgrave of McDade, Texas. “The world leaders know Trump is a buffoon, no surprise there. But the lesson that will hurt the U.S.A. maybe forever is that we are no longer trustworthy. Regardless of what happens to Trump or his successors, the simple fact remains that the American voters can elect a moron at any time, who can wreak havoc on any agreement. So why bother to negotiate treaties?
“That damage has occurred and is irrevocable,” Musgrave continued. “I am sad for my country’s ruined reputation.”
“What about when the president invited the Russian ambassador, his entourage, and Russian press (disallowing American press) into the Oval Office, disparaged just-fired FBI Director James Comey, and blabbed state secrets?” asked Vicki Brown of Superior, Montana.
Jamie Alley of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, wrote:
As a Canadian reader of the The Atlantic, here are three more unthinkables.
- Trump calls Canada a national-security threat as justification for his tariffs on steel and aluminum, causing havoc in cross-border trade and resulting in huge economic pain to both countries.
- A top Trump official says there’s a “special place in hell” for the Canadian prime minister. No correction from the president. Imagine if the situation had been reversed. All Trudeau said was that he would always act in the interest of Canadians.
- After the U.S. requested that Canada arrest the Chinese business executive Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Huawei, causing China to retaliate by arresting Canadians in China, Trump says he might use the Huawei executive as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations, leaving Canada out to dry for living up to our extradition treaty obligations.
“As an Australian,” Ian Burns wrote, “I would add the disgraceful manner in which Trump treated our then–prime minister on their first telephone call.”