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Dear Mr. President,
“Reproach and censure in the strongest possible terms…” begins a letter I am sure you are familiar with, Mr. President. Sent to you via Twitter only yesterday, your entire President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) resigned en masse to protest the direction in which you have carried the country. Many of their number were appointed by President Obama, sure, but they were all willing to work with you until their replacements could be found. Yet, rather than showing us the deal-making and leadership prowess you professed to have for years, you failed to sway even a single member from leaving. In a week where America witnessed business leader after business leader disavow and flee from any association with your initiatives, one truly has to wonder – what sort of leadership skill do you even possess? As a citizen, I only see people fleeing.
Your most common leadership “attribute,” the one I think most people can agree is almost synonymous with your name, is the ability to fire people. If there is one thing you have accomplished in these first 212 days, it has been firing people you hired. You infamously fired James Comey in early May, fired Anthony “the Mooch” Scaramucci a brief six days into his tenure as communications director, and – as I write this – news is filtering down about Steve Bannon finally leaving his position. I will not lie, Mr. President, and say that I am upset about Steve Bannon finally departing from the White House. I will, however, wonder out loud about the value in a leadership that defines itself so frequently by firing people.
As president you should be working hard to pull America together. To identify ways in which we can bridge the gaps of hate and unite our nation as well. You should be providing the example by reaching across the aisle and shaking hands with those who disagree with you. Instead you have used your platform to do the exact opposite – to fire indiscriminately, to remain suspicious of those who don’t swear loyalty to you, to cast your lot with a narrative that does its damnedest to protect those who would use hate to divide our country and hurt its citizens.
Mr. President, look in a mirror and understand that if you truly wish to become the leader you imagine yourself to be, you will need to practice. Engage in community organizing to see how one works with people of differing perspectives. Volunteer and discover what it’s like to work on a team where disagreements can’t be solved by letting your colleagues go. Practice handshakes that are not used as a form of domination, if only so that the American people are not embarrassed every time you meet with a foreign leader. You may find a lot more success should you exercise just the tiniest bit of humbleness and learn how to properly lead.