The author of “A Warning” sounds afraid for our country. The only information the author shares about his or her identity is being a senior White House official. Throughout the book, he describes Trump as a mean- spirited, impulsive, unqualified man with envy for autocrats. The tone of the book is somber and unnerving. The book cites countless incidents of Trump maligning allies, aligning with enemy autocrats, flip-flopping on decisions based on self-interest and ignorance, ignoring or misunderstanding intelligence, and treating people with arrogance and disrespect.
A chilling warning from Anonymous is that Trump “will not exit quietly or easily.” In November 2019, NPR editor Ron Elving stated Anonymous’s view that Trump is “incapable of running the government effectively, not even really interested in it, and shows his understanding of the other branches of government is completely lacking. Worse than that, he warns Trump is trying to divide the country, turn the people against their government, and their own interests by flaming prejudices and stoking fears.” Realizing these observations come from an official working close to Trump sounds an alarm of the danger that exists to the survival of American democracy.The Republicans have chosen to excuse the many actions Trump has taken that degrades and opposes our democratic norms. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell’s compulsion to stack the federal courts with extreme conservatives has resulted in him being complicit in Trump’s attempts to weaken the integrity of the rule of law outlined in the Constitution. By revealing concerning conversations with fellow White House Republican officials, A Warning clarifies the importance of continuing the many investigations underway into Trump, as he is being protected by fellow Republicans. They have lost their moral compass and replaced it with an allegiance to merely keeping their jobs.
The author looks to ancient history to shed more light on what a dangerously inadequate Trump is as the leader of this country. He recounts the teachings of Cicero, an ancient Roman statesman, lawyer, philosopher, and orator who spoke of the four traits a great leader should possess. Cicero believed wisdom, justice, courage, and temperance were traits of great leaders. Anonymous declares that his access to Trump and his presence at high-level meetings revealed Trump has none of these qualities. Regarding wisdom, listening to Trump suggest the possibility of injecting disinfectants into the body has shed severe doubt about his self-proclaimed “genius.” Add to that, his gutting of the global pandemic department and dismissing warnings about the seriousness of the Covid-19 spread, and we know that on Cicero’s wisdom scale, Trump fails. He would also fall short of another aspect of Cicero’s definition of wisdom which is, “learning the truth.” Trump is a liar, and liars are not interested in the truth; instead, they are interested in winning, controlling, and manipulating for their own self-interests.
Regarding justice, Trump has shown complete disdain for the judiciary branch of the government. He attacks any court or judge that rules against him. He only agrees with conservative judges and rulings that favor his policies. He blocks legal subpoenas from Congress when he feels threatened by testimonies that might reveal his wrongdoings. Cicero’s concept of justice also includes the idea of how “an individual treats others.” A narcissist always fails at this aspect of Cicero’s view on justice. Trump has publicly mistreated, abused, and humiliated colleagues, opponents, immigrants, women, veterans, the disabled, and people of color throughout his presidency. Trump complains a lot about fairness and unfairness, but his interest in those concepts always seems to refer to how he thinks he is being treated.
Cicero viewed courage in a leader as meaning “a virtue which champions the cause of right.” A great leader, says Cicero, is “someone who takes both credit and blame.” Trump never admits to being at fault. He defends against being seen as having lost or made a mistake. Ancient Roman politicians and orators saw this kind of leader as weak and flawed. Anonymous cites Trump’s drastic attempts to avoid serving in the Vietnam War as a real-life example of Trump lacking courage. Many men of his generation took deferments in protest of the war. However, Trump’s efforts were dishonest. He received 5 deferments, 4 for educational excuses, and one for medical bone spurs. It has been documented by the daughter of the podiatrist who gave the diagnosis that it was a concocted excuse. A former lawyer of Trump is on record as having heard Trump say, “You think I am stupid. I wasn’t going to Vietnam”. Those who continue to support Trump, who has treated generals disrespectfully, criticized Vietnam war hero, Senator John McCain for “getting captured,” embraced murderous adversaries of America, degraded other war heroes such as Senator John Kerry, are as unpatriotic as this un-American President.
The final character discussed by the great politician and orator Cicero was temperance. He described a strong leader as being a person who could display restraint, modesty, in other words, act in a seemly manner”. Cicero and the ancient Roman politicians saw offensiveness as a weakness in a leader. Offensive, unrestrained leaders, were also seen as careless, subject to making significant errors in judgment in governing. This is the most prominent character trait that defines Trump as an unfit leader. He is a crass bully who loses his temper, seeks revenge, thrives on humiliating others, and is impulsive. His erratic behaviors and impulsive handling of issues crucial to national security validate the fact that Trump does not possess temperance.
It is obvious why Anonymous included this early description of how the leaders of andient civilizations defined strong leadership. When Trump loyalists defend him, there is never the quote, “This man’s character stands out as one of his strongest traits.” His character is never praised by those who support him, because it is on display for the world to see, and for ancient leaders to clarify, he is not a man of character. George Washington said, “A good moral character is the first essential in a man. Therefore you must endeavor not only to be learned but virtuous”. Donald Trump has not sought learnedness in the years he has been President. He has not acted with virtue in his mistreatment of people and of our democratic norms. He fails the moral character test of the men of ancient civilizations who sought the kind of decency in which he has no understanding.
In A Warning, Anonymous states he has not said he will never reveal his identity. He says he remained anonymous at the time of the release of the book to avoid giving Trump a distraction from the concerning revelations about the President in the book. The content exposes how many of his colleagues have relentlessly tried to keep Trump from taking destructive actions that could damage the country and threaten national security. The warnings in the book which relate to Trump’s incompetence and instability are coming true. The economy is crashing, public health is under the worst attack in 100 years, the political parties are more polarized than ever, and the foundations of the rule of law are being torn down by Trump’s autocratic presidency. He is supported by the unpatriotic likes of AG William Barr, Senator Mitch McConnell, an entire Cabinet and set of advisors who are unqualified parasites of his power.
We have been warned by this author to not re-elect Trump and to begin the repair to the toxic spread of indecency that now defines the American government. Every American should read this book. The extensive details suggest the accounts in A Warning are first-hand, accurate, and should motivate the U.S. electorate to vote Trump out of office. The House of Representatives did the right thing by impeaching him for constructing oversight of his dealings with the Ukraine quid pro quo. The Russia Investigation revealed anti-American sympathies by Trump with adversaries and a pattern of obstruction of justice never seen before by any previous U.S. President. The complicit, power-hungry set of elected Republicans officials are akin to a toxic, dysfunctional family that has been willing to sacrifice democratic norms and decency to stay in power.
A Warning reminds us the real power exists in the hands of the voter. Trump, in fear of defeat, is now attempting to defund the U.S. Postal Service to limit access to voting for millions of Americans. Cicero would have traveled America orating about how Trump is a coward and a cheater who doesn’t”t care about how he treats others and who acts as an offensive leader embarrassing our country for all the world to see. #MAKEAMERICAMORALAGAIN #DEFEATTRUMP