Image from Vox
Dear newly aware,
At some point in our lives, we will all have to deal with the unfortunate and uncomfortable situation of learning that someone we love and admire or respect has been accused of doing terrible things. For many of us, this moment occurred when someone we admired fell from grace, whether it was Bill Cosby or Louis CK or Al Franken. For others, we’ve had to deal with learning that a parent or loved one has done terrible things. For all of us, it would be timely to learn what to do and what not to do.
As has been his M.O. throughout the last year (and throughout his entire life), President Trump has shown us exactly what NOT to do or say. When discussing disgraced top aide Rob Porter, who is credibly accused of having physically and emotionally abused his two ex-wives and a former girlfriend, President Trump made the following statement:
The President then tweeted:
Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused – life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 10, 2018
So, as a Public Service Announcement of what NOT to say, we offer the following tutorial:
Instead of saying this: “We wish him well; he worked very hard. We found out about it recently, and I was surprised by it, but we certainly wish him well, and it’s a tough time for him.”
SAY THIS: “For everybody asking, I know and like [him]. I won’t defend him. This is inexcusable and he needs to address it.”
Instead of saying this: “He did a very good job when he was in the White House, and we hope he has a wonderful career, and he will have a great career ahead of him. But it was very sad when we heard about it, and certainly he’s also very sad now.”
SAY THIS: “He wielded his power with women in messed-up ways; I could couch this with heartwarming stories of our friendship and what a great [person] he is, but that’s totally irrelevant, isn’t it? Yes, it is.”
Instead of saying this: “But it was very sad when we heard about it, and certainly he’s also very sad now.”
SAY THIS: “The only people that matter right now are the victims. They are victims, and they’re victims because of something he did.”
Instead of saying this: “He also, as you probably know, says he’s innocent, and I think you have to remember that. He said very strongly yesterday that he’s innocent, so you have to talk to him about that.”
Instead of saying this: “We absolutely wish him well. He did a very good job when he was at the White House.”
SAY THIS: “It’s vital that people are held accountable for their actions, no matter who they are. We need to be better. We will better. I can’t [expletive] wait to be better.”
And finally, instead of saying this: “People’s lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused – life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”
SAY THIS: “Misogyny is a cancer. Harassment and abuse are that cancer metastasizing and going untreated. Stories like this being reported and printed are the first steps toward a cure.”
TL;DR: If your loved ones or those you respect and admire have been accused of misconduct, do not, under any circumstance, say anything that would ever come out of the president’s mouth. He is the prime example of what never to do or say.
In summary: We have to be better. We need to be better. WE MUST BE BETTER. We can’t [expletive] wait any longer to be better.
P.S. Special thanks to Sarah Silverman, Michael Ian Black, Adam Horovitz, and Michael Schur.