On the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration, the Washington Post editorial board penned a conciliatory piece offering “respect for the office and hope for the nation.” A glance at the headline would make you think that even a paper as fiercely opposed to Trump as the Washington Post was finally ready to accept him as the 45th President of the United States. Could it be, at long last, we will see the mainstream media give this man a fair chance?
Don’t bet on it.
While wrapped in the cloak of that sentiment, the Washington Post editorial does nothing to actually take a step towards unity. To the contrary, the writers make it seem like they are making a great sacrifice by simply acknowledging that Trump will be the president:
“PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP: You are about to take the most serious oath of office anyone has the privilege to take. You were not my choice, but I support and respect the office.” Those are the heartfelt words of Kit Keane, 66, of Chicago, one of many who responded when we asked readers to share their hopes and advice for incoming president Donald Trump.
Like Ms. Keane, we opposed Mr. Trump’s election, but also like her, we support and respect the office. We hope that henceforth — not just in his inaugural address, but in the conduct of his administration — Mr. Trump reaches out to opponents as well as supporters. But even if he does not, he will have been lawfully chosen by the electoral college.
In other words, if Trump starts acting more like a liberal, we’ll give him the respect he craves. Otherwise, we’ll grudgingly admit he’s the president, but that’s about all.
And that’s the tone they use throughout the piece, as they (once again) take him to task for his stance on Russia, his participation in “voter suppression,” and the rest of his perceived “electoral shortcomings.” It is only through their gracious mercy, they insinuate, that he is being given a chance at all.
If another president has ever been treated with this kind of institutional disrespect, it hasn’t happened in our lifetime. The Washington Post’s job isn’t to be a cheerleader for the president (although they have, at times, forgotten that over the last eight years), but it’s not their job to act as his sworn enemy, either. Millions of Americans – including many of the Post’s readers – are thrilled to welcome this new president.
The Washington Post should perhaps keep that in mind.