President Trump is a horrible person with a horrible record | Opinion

When people ask me why I’m so critical of President Trump, I tell them that it’s not just because — as I discovered first-hand when I interviewed him in 2013 — he’s a horrible human being and a terrible role model for our children. It’s for reasons that go far beyond his awful personality.

I can’t support Trump because his mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a world record of more than 218,000 deaths. With only 4 percent of the world’s population, America has more than 20 percent of the world’s COVID-19 deaths. The United States suffered many more COVID-19 deaths as a percentage of its population than Canada, Germany, South Korea and other wealthy countries. That’s a fact.

And many of the U.S. deaths could have been prevented. Trump knew about the lethality of the pandemic early on —he is on tape telling author Bob Woodward this in February — but chose to lie to the American people for fears that it would ruin his re-election chances.

Instead of leading by example, wearing a mask and preaching social distance, Trump has mocked people who do that. For selfish reasons, Trump neglected his main duty — to protect the American people.

I can’t support Trump because I can’t back a candidate who has built his political career on racism and xenophobia. He started his 2016 campaign by falsely claiming that most Mexican undocumented immigrants are criminals and rapists; he separated immigrant children from their parents’ and claimed that there are “very fine people” on both sides when neo-Nazi thugs clashed with protesters in Charlottesville.

Emboldened by Trump’s racist rhetoric, neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups are flourishing. There is a huge rise in anti-Hispanic, anti-Black, anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim hate crimes in the United States, according to the FBI. Trump’s own former Defense Secretary (R) Gen. James Mattis said recently that his former boss is “the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people.”

I can’t support Trump because his veiled threats not to recognize the results of the 2020 election if he loses, his constant verbal attacks against America’s public servants and his daily claims that an independent press is “the enemy of the people” undermine America’s democracy like nothing else we’ve seen in our lifetimes.

I can’t support Trump because his efforts to dismantle Obamacare without replacing it with any other plan threatens to leave millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions without health services.

I can’t support Trump because he is on the wrong side of the struggle to stop global warming, protect women’s rights and pass gun-safety measures.

I can’t support Trump because his claims to have created the greatest economy on Earth are ludicrous. Before the pandemic, he had largely benefited from, and continued, the Obama years’ recovery.

While former President Obama reduced unemployment from 10 percent in 2008 to 4.7 percent in 2016, Trump only further reduced it to 3.7 percent in early 2020. Since the start of the pandemic, it’s back to nearly 8 percent.

I can’t support Trump because his foreign policy — except for helping forge a peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates — has been a string of failures. His Israeli-Palestinian peace plan never materialized, his love affair with North Korea resulted in nothing and his verbal attacks on European allies have left America more isolated than ever.

What’s worse, Trump’s embrace of the dictators of North Korea, Russia, China, and Turkey has left the United States with no moral authority to lead any international efforts to restore democracy and defend human rights anywhere, including in Venezuela and Cuba.

As Trump’s own former National Security Adviser John Bolton told me, Trump’s hard-line rhetoric against Cuba and Venezuela is political theater for domestic consumption. If Trump were serious about restoring democracy in Venezuela, he would have long put pressure on Russia — Venezuela’s biggest backer — to stop helping that country’s dictatorship.

I can’t support Trump because hardly a day goes by without him insulting our intelligence, claiming that the COVID-19 pandemic is almost over when U.S. coronavirus cases are once again on the rise or that Mexico will pay for his border wall, or re-tweeting crazy conspiracy theories such as the one alleging that Osama bin Laden’s death was an Obama hoax.

Trump is not just a horrible person, a danger to public health and a serial liar. He’s a threat to America’s democracy. Another four years of Trump would turn this country into a banana republic. America needs a return to normalcy.

Don’t miss the “Oppenheimer Presenta” TV show at 8 p.m. E.T. Sunday on CNN en Español. Twitter: @oppenheimera