Cringe and Applaud: The Reality of President Trump

I received an email asking why I have been uncritical about President Trump’s character and words. His rough and vulgar way of talking is in direct contrast to my emphasis on refined speech. I wouldn’t tolerate his brash boastfulness in my circle of friends and to top it all off, my correspondent notes that the President’s history of adultery runs counter to my values.

My correspondent is correct in all her facts. I wrote about my struggles in coming to terms with supporting Donald Trump during the primaries and I wrote about why I chose to support him in the election.  Once he was elected I have stayed silent about his “outrages” for a number of reasons.

First of all, while I would have liked a more cultivated manner I didn’t really expect a man in his seventies to change. I also do not think that he is crazy, anti-Semitic, racist, a fascist or any of the other charges endlessly lobbed at him. I look at his actions, not at his words.

We have sadly become accustomed to politicians and celebrities who use teleprompters and speechwriters to deliver obsequious speeches full of noble words which a gullible electorate eagerly gobbles up.  That same electorate then ignores the gaping chasm between beautiful words and despicable actions. Failed consequences of ideas that sounded wonderful likewise go under-reported and disregarded.  I prefer someone who is not a politician; who does not use a teleprompter and whose words are often ugly but whose actions are mostly successful and refreshing. 

I also dismiss any critic who ignored and ignores equally ugly words when uttered by someone he or she supports. Most Americans never even hear when an adored liberal says something “wrong” because it is covered up or appears only fleetingly in the news.

Unfortunately, President Trump’s colorful personal life is not unique among occupants of the Oval Office. Anyone wanting to criticize him on that basis needs to gather the troops to change the name of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts among many other sites named for past presidents. What’s more, his outrages pre-date his presidency while a good number of others’ transgressions occurred during their presidencies. It would be nice if upright marital behavior matched with being a good president but history does not show this to be true.

I have no sympathy for people who have made a crusade for, and often make a living from, vulgarity all of a sudden needing smelling salts when President Trump opens his mouth. Furthermore, since his election too many people in powerful positions have been intent on toppling him. That objective is more important to them than truth, objectivity and even their sanity. I have stopped paying any attention to what they say.

We have come a long way since George Washington, whose personal sins seem minute when compared to many of his successors. The country he helped establish, for all its flaws, has provided more opportunity and been a beacon of light more than any other country in history.

I believe that for the past few decades we have been tending towards losing what has made this country so special and capable of improving so many lives. Donald Trump with all his coarseness and uncouth language stepped on the stage of history trying to reverse that trend. I look to him as a warrior, and ignore the equivalent of his muddy boots. I didn’t get to design the president of my choice—none of us has that opportunity. I am immensely grateful for the one we have.

66 thoughts on “Cringe and Applaud: The Reality of President Trump”

  1. Yes, silence. Well you admit it. The explanation is pretty weak as you justify your silence.
    It’s amazing how many people support this man. Lord knows I was not a fan or supporter of his past lady opponent. It is difficult to grasp how such intelligent people can be so blind. We need to wake up to our own hypocrisy and repent. I certainly do. We screamed so many things about the last guy in office, like all the executive orders….then this president comes in and signs as much, and actually more in the first 30days in office. Then we fell silent. That’s the truest definition of hypocrisy. But that’s just one example. I won’t blast your blog with a litany of examples. When is enough enough? When he goes on a tyrade and curses some on National TV?! He has been caught saying rasist statements from day one, which has escalated….Silence…..not to mention the vulgarity……Silence.
    I really thought your explanation of your silence was going to be a little more, no, much more substantial than what you gave. I’m surprised. I’m surprised because by reading your musings from time to time, you always struck me as a person to say, “hey I made a mistake on this one, or forgive me.” You defended your silence. You are very biased, overly biased when it comes to this president. His behavior is inexcusable, and yet you have made the inexcusable excusable. I truly truly try to be fair. I never jumped on the bandwagon of those who demonize our president. I chose to see good, and to capitolize on any strong point of character. The president has increasingly made that tough. I certainly did not agree with the last president on quite a few issues. But in all honesty he wasn’t vulgar, nasty, hateful, ridiculing, or profanely dismissive of subordinates. (And that’s the short list). Hey, I’m not a Prophet. But I tell you, he’s going to get worse before he gets better. I suppose you fade-to-black ….then minimalize his behavior. Please don’t say that you haven’t done that. I ask you. Take an honest…honest assessment of this: If the president before this one, said vulgar things about women, other nations, and his words repeatedly be shown VERBATIM as untrue, would you have been silent? I think just about every One of our presidents have been untruthful to the American people. This president has been an outright liar. So sad. And once again……Silence.

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Hey Paul–
      We don’t really want to return to the days of 2016 when we explained fully just why we felt that support of Trump was so very important for good people. But if you genuinely have any interest, feel free to go back to the broadcasts of that period and listen here You will quickly see that we are far from biased as you claim and unlike you, we were very able to distinguish between Trump words and Trump deeds. But enough of this for here and now,

  2. I just refer you all to the Rabbi’s teaching on the Perils of Profanity. We cannot excuse bad words because the president is doing a good job. Life and death are in the power power of the tongue Prov 18:21. We should be praying for President Trump and mostly for the good people around him to be able to get through to him on this issue and not excusing his words simply because we like him.

    1. I am not excusing his words. I am recognizing reality. His words are no worse than many past presidents and many current politicians. To act as if he and he alone should be held accountable is politically manipulative. I wish leaders of the country, of Hollywood, of business and academia would all act and speak in a more moral fashion – including President Trump. But I won’t pretend that he is unique. You are right that we should be praying for him and the people around him.

    1. Dear Susan,
      Thank you for your insight on this subject!! You’re spot on once again!!! This topic reminds me of Thomas Sowell’s quote, ” Talkers are usually more articulate than doers, since talk is their specialty.”

  3. Dear Susan, Thanks for writing a great article. I agree with you. I’m proud of our President. He stood for the babies today, yay.We need to support him, and reject hatred and communism. God Bless you and your family.

  4. Margaret Zehnder

    Dear Susan and Rabbi, Love you both and your program! Pray for you both!! Thank you for your common sense “Musing” ! We need to pray that the God of Abraham will give him His wisdom and guidance! Much love, Margaret

  5. Maureen R Rawlins

    I just want to tell you, “Thank you!” It is not often that I post a reply to an article that I read, but I wanted you to know that you are being read and appreciated. I could not have said it as well as you and I want you to know that often I repeat what you have written, as you say it so clearly and well. I often cringe when people spout their hatred of Pres. Trump and more often than not, I keep my mouth shut as it makes no sense to argue with someone who has already made up their mind to follow the masses and who believe the one-sided news that they read or watch. I believe that God has blessed us with a most outrageous president as America, as it stands today, would never have voted for the obvious, “God fearing man, ( Dr. Ben Carson perhaps?) I do believe that the prayerful, god-fearing American is what is keeping this country from destroying itself. We have a cancer, sin, and only prayer will cure it. Thank you again. A quiet American.

  6. Susan, don’t tell the Rabbi, but I love you; maybe not to the extent that our G-d loves you but for your comments. I look forward to the Rabbi and your posts. I was hesitant to reply to your comments about Oprah but agreed with them. I believe O to be a G-d less woman.

  7. I simply want to thank you, Susan, for your tasteful boldness in being a champion for Truth. I personally don’t think it’s mud on those boots because he’s not serving in a swamp but a sewer. Through the repentance of a nation and the grace of the Almighty, a 70 year old AND a nation can be transformed for nothing is too difficult for Him. Blessings on you and Rabbi Lapin!

  8. Susan, in my younger days I worked for several years together with hundreds of men in one of the most dangerous and hazardous occupations in the world which is also the largest unionized body of workers in the world, the International Longshoreman’s Association. Virtually all trade between nations is passed through the hands of Longshoremen. It is my personal experience working with these men in this industry for many years and now working in the investment and insurance business for thirty plus years that has given me invaluable knowledge and understanding about worldwide business practices and transactions. When it comes to understanding President Donald Trump, his character, his speech, his coarseness, his drive and his ambitions, the American people should not be fooled into thinking that this man is evil, villainous or corrupted. Quite the contrary. Honestly, he would be classified as an angel compared to some of the men I’ve worked with. Take a hard look at the real world of soldiers on the battlefield, sailors fighting their enemies on the high seas, or businessmen, the movers and shakers of the world. They all use vulgarity. They all “cuss like a sailor.” They all have a coarse and crude demeanor. The ignorant and foolish people loathe these men with a hatred that is beyond belief and consider them as despicable SOB’s. But don’t ever forget that these men fight our wars to keep us safe from our enemies, these men build roads, bridges and buildings, these men grow and transport food to all corners of the earth to feed the people of the world, these men make the products that make our lives better for every human being. You might say to a certain extent they make the world go round. Nebuchadnezzar, who at one time was king of Babylon once said as written in the book of Daniel the prophet (Daniel 4:34-35 KJV), “And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” You mean to tell me out of all the politicians, out of all the ministers and preachers, out of all the self-proclaimed wise intellectuals in the United States of America, God placed a businessman named Donald Trump as President of this country? A country on a swift downward spiral into the abyss of darkness never before seen in the history of our nation. CRINGE! Are you kidding me? I rejoice and lift my hands in praise to the Almighty God. Just think of it, of all the chicken livered yellow coward bastards living in this country, preachers and politicians alike, God placed Donald Trump into the highest and most powerful position in the world. We the people definitely had a part to play in it, but God gave us a reprieve from the terrible judgment looming over our country. Cringe?… as my earthly father would sometimes say to us children, NOT NO, BUT HELL NO! I will not cringe over Donald Trump. My confession is, “Look what the Lord hath done, He has done great things,” all glory and praise be unto His name.

  9. Amen Susan, and kudos to you for your article. Few people of today remember Harry s Truman who was one of the most vulgar presidents that I recall from past history. I heard many of his speeches and he usually put a word or two in there that is “acceptable” in todays culture.
    I do not compare Donald Trump to Hitler, Stalin, or any other tyrannical dictator, but more like their nemesis, General George S. Patton who called Hitler a ””””bleep” Paper Hanger. Fill in the bleep with your own imagination. He was chastised for slapping a soldier that appeared to be a coward to him. I’ve known several men who served under him that said he was a great general and soldier.

  10. Great article! Thank you. And you hit it out of the park with this bit:
    “I look at his actions, not at his words. We have sadly become accustomed to politicians and celebrities who use teleprompters and speechwriters to deliver obsequious speeches full of noble words which a gullible electorate eagerly gobbles up. That same electorate then ignores the gaping chasm between beautiful words and despicable actions.”


  11. Thank you again for your words of wisdom. None of us is without failure. We all come short. But we have endured multiple presidents who could give a great speech but turn around and do the opposite. Behind closed doors they were disgusting. We finally have a man who loves his country and tells it like it is. For that I am grateful.
    I did not at first support him but so happy I voted for him. I agree with your assessment.

  12. When I hear President Trump’s vernacular, I hear the sound of someone who has spent 50 years dealing with labor union leaders, construction workers and government bureaucrats. No, it does NOT offend me. I find the silly outrage over his language from a sector of society that has dropped “F” bombs routinely during public discourse, used the “C” word to describe women (yes, Bill Clinton was caught on camera using that terminology when talking to Vernon Jordan), supported known rapists (Clinton, JFK and Bobby K if you believe Marilyn Monroe’s accounts) and murderers (Ted K) and currently has a party head who can’t speak without inserting vulgarity into every sentence much more offensive, as well as hypocritical and shallow.

    1. Thank you. It’s a busy Friday here so I hope people will excuse my not responding to most comments.

  13. Well said. I believe that through our history, it was expected that many men used language that was not expected to be used around women. However, for a man to hear another man’s crude speech and then take the opportunity to inflict this speech on the hearing of children to make political points I find this to be reprehensible.


  14. Thank you so much for speaking truth in love. You did not bring a bunch of condemnation on those who may not agree with you. So much civility and common sense which our country is sorely lacking. I continued to be encouraged by your words and Rabbi Lapin

  15. Michael Overstreet

    Susan thank for your spot on muse. I believe that it is increasely important that all Americans understand the political theater which they are exposed to daily. As your husband eloquent has said, life is better served when viewing it as a video as opposed to a snapshot. I think this is profound and applicable in the case of President Trump. The Torah teaches that “judgement” is reserved for G-d and we are best served by watching the “actions” of people rather than listening to their words. As the old adage states, “talk is cheap, but actions speak louder than words”.

  16. Dear Susan, and fellow commenters,
    I join with you in the truth of your statements, the gratitude for Trump as our president, and the prayers that President Trump may continue to heed and follow Godly advice while governing our country.
    Thank you for this column and the wisdom contained therein.

  17. One word, BRILLIANT!!!
    I have LONG been tired of the selective outrage among voters. The system for electing our leaders has changed very little since it’s inception. There is NO secret to voting for honorable and moral leaders. It’s not that you CAN’T vote for such a person, it’s that MOST voters REFUSE to vote for such a person. For 50 YEARS I have listened to people say one thing, then get in the voting booth and apparently there seems to be someone in the booth with a gun pointed at their head to make them vote for the opposite.
    “I have no sympathy for people who have made a crusade for, and often make a living from, vulgarity all of a sudden needing smelling salts when President Trump opens his mouth.”
    To anyone who has been alive for the last 30-40 years, it’s almost impossible to NOT know what you were getting with Pres. Trump. There were 17 candidates on his side when the primaries started. Mr. Trump was the victor. What happened between the voters words and the voting booth?
    And as you, Susan, alluded to, I have watched much worse from men while IN OFFICE without a peep from the same people who now have the “vapors”!
    “It’s ok if he’s a crook, as long as he’s MY crook!”
    But remember Susan, “Nothings too good for the man who shot Liberty Valance!”

    God bless you, Rabbi Lapin and your ministry!

  18. A good analysis, Susan. It would be very nice if he were not such an uncouth person, but I’ll take him a thousand times over couth but treasonous persons such as Barack Obama.

  19. Well said! I would prefer a more refined individual in the oval office (given God’s choices in the past, perhaps he would not?) To my mind four things are missing from American politics today: sanity, civility, the interest and ability to engage in a dialectic, and humor (I do miss that Reagan wit!)


    1. Dear Susan,

      You have mentioned certain unsavory elements in President Trump’s behavior. However you are suggesting that we turn a blind eye to them and/or disregard them. After all, did we not do likewise for John Kennedy? I would argue that the cases of former President Kennedy and President Trump are quite different. Yes indeed, there are reports that John Kennedy behaved inappropriately –had affairs et cetera- however that was not generally known to the public. It was known to him, the ladies involved, and to the secret service. Had it been more widely known, he would have lost significant esteem, and it is likely that many of his initiatives, whether in civil rights or the “race to the moon” would have been still born.

      In the case of President Trump, he has made comments that can be interpreted as at least classless and sexist, such as that revealed in the infamous Access Hollywood tape. Some would argue that his comments about Mexicans and Africans from s*** h*** countries are racist. These comments are popular with his base. And many laugh and cheer, while others suggest that we ignore them. I hope and pray that President Trump is essentially a good man who would not hurt a fly. I hope and pray that what he has said about women is not is actual practice, but to quote his wife Melania Trump, mere “locker room talk”. However I believe his words can have the effect of emboldening his base. And members of his base may be less charitable. Therefore I believe that inflammatory remarks should be taken seriously, and should not be ignored. Let us remember the words of Martin Niemöller who spent several years in Hitler’s concentration camps:
      “ First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

      I believe inflammatory remarks directed against those of a different race should be condemned. Because it is incumbent on those of the faith to judge people by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. As it is said in the Torah, “Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 22:21).

      Susan, kindest regards and may you have a blessed week.

  20. Amen. Beautifully stated. Now pro-life is emphasized, we have another conservative judge on the Supreme Court, guns for self defense are appreciated, , our embassy will move to Jerusalem, and no doubt there are many other accomplishments, not to mention the improvement in economy and jobs. Now, consider the alternative if Hillary had won. In all cases, would we not have moved in the opposite direction. I love your analogy to muddy boots. Give me muddy boots any day if that is what it takes. You may not want to touch this one either with a 10 foot pole, but these were the reasons that I gave my friends who did not want to vote for Pres. Trump. We knew what we would get if the democrats won; with Pres Trump, we could hope that he would keep his promises. And he has.

  21. Dear Mrs. Lapin,
    My husband and I are still laughing about your comment – “people… all of a sudden needing smelling salts when President Trump opens his mouth”! We appreciate your ability to put in writing, in such an elegant and educational way what we are thinking ourselves. Always insightful and encouraging !!

  22. At times he even comes off as humble. Remember, his song at the RNC appropriately was “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. 😉

    Praying for hik daily to do right. And all of US as well.

  23. The wisdom of years and years of soaking in Biblical scripture and applying it to your walk of faith comes shining through, in these words and so many others! I’m very grateful for you and Rabbi Lapin and all that you teach me.

  24. Thank you for sharing Susan. I especially agree with what you said about looking at his actions, as opposed to just his words.

  25. You are right. I’ve worked all my life around males. Some were men. I do not confuse what they say with what they do. I find women to be beguiled by talking men.

  26. Very well said! You nailed it! ..and I applaud the boldness with which he entered the boxing match against great odds at a criticul juncture in our history .

  27. God often uses humble vessels to get the work done. Mazel tov on a superb column as always, Susan!

  28. Here I am again your loyal expert on nothing, with an opinion about every thing. I served under one of the finest officers that the US Navy ever produced. (my opinion).
    A combat pilot who was shot down in Vietnam. He was captured an was a guest of the Hanoi Hilton along with Senator Mc Cane. His name is Cpt. Richard Stratton and he even made the cover of either Look or Life magazine. ( l can’t remember which).
    So when President Trump who to my knowledge has never faced gun or been in combat said Sen. Mc Cane was’nt a hero, he went way overboard. All these guys were heroes to me.
    That being said, it is also my opinion he is the most refreshing person to hold the office Ronald Regan. Although president Kenedy was a close runner up.

    Your friend, Brian

    1. And yet, McCain and some of the things he has done and said have made me cringe. He was not a hero to his first wife who he rejected after she suffered a disfiguring auto accident and who he did not support financially. He was a reckless pilot and his recklessness caused the deaths of fellow soldiers. So, perhaps Trump is referring to some of the behaviors of McCain that were not so heroic.

  29. You have beautifully summarized what my own feelings were in voting for and continuing to stand with our president. As someone else has said, I wouldn’t want him teaching a Sunday school class, but his patriotism and desire to do the best to help the country return to prosperity and strength should be obvious to anyone with eyes to see. I am also happy to see him take a wrecking ball to the false values of political correctness that have corroded our society for so long. I know he will make some mistakes along the way and some of them may be terrible, but I pray daily for him to be guided by wisdom from above as he seeks to govern our nation in the years ahead.

  30. William H Ford III

    Susan, you stated your position so very well. I always like listening to the wisdom of you and Rabbi Lapin. Keep up the good work and great common sense. President Trump is not perfect by a long shot, but I believe he truly loves this country. He did not need all this aggravation.

  31. Amen. 🙂
    Here are my thoughts about illegal immigration:
    Newborns should never be given USA citizenship unless one parent has legal/lawful permanent resident status in the USA.
    Persons who have illegally entered the USA should never ever be given USA citizenship. A new TYPE of Legal Permanent Resident status (without pathway to citizenship and voting privileges) should be the most that is possible for these people who enter the USA illegally including the DACA children.
    The children who are born here in the USA to all legal/lawful permanent residents (including those without pathway to citizenship and voting privileges) should be given citizenship.

    1. And:
      Stop chain migration.
      Eliminate the lottery system
      Consider applicants who will benefit the country and our legal citizens first.

  32. Yes, it’s hard to criticise someone’s personal habits when they do such a good job. Now that you mention it I always found President Obama extremely eloquent in speech and manners though his work performance is atrocious. Truthfully, the dichotomy gives me hope for myself.

  33. Yes ! You are spot on! Donald Trump does not offend me in any way. He is exactally what this wonderful country needed.. He is God Sent!

  34. Your voice is one of common sense and reason and helps me organize my own thoughts as well at this tumultuous time in our nation’s political history — thank you!

    1. Nancy, with so much distraction and noise, we all need time to organize our thoughts. I find that writing helps me do so.

    2. Your observations are so on point regarding our President Trump, many fail to realize that this man is from another time,try telling a man or woman in their 70’s to”change”. While like you I cannot completely agree with the coarse language he uses at times,I find it more than refreshing to hear truth rather than lofty unrealized speeches,God bless this man and his family and thank you Susan for a great musing.

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