Friday, January 20, 2017
Cleaver: It is time for President Trump to apologize to President Obama for birther movement
At noon on Friday, January 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. According to polling data, President Trump will become the least liked incoming President in modern times. With thundering internal fuss, I went to the west front of the U.S. Capitol to witness the uniquely American transition of power. In doing so, I will disappoint friends, supporters and even some family members. They, like me, believe that President Trump is benumbed to the hurtful things he has said. Nevertheless, I attended the inauguration. Although it is antithetical to my biblical training, I do, in fact, feel weary in my well doing. My apology Paul.
Many of my congressional colleagues, including one inimitable John Robert Lewis, for a variety of sound reasons, chose not to attend the ceremonial induction of Mr. Trump into the single most powerful position on Earth. Rather than focusing his twilight tweets on Mr. Lewis, my suggestion is that President Trump work on reconciliation with those whom he has so regrettably alienated.
The most symbolic but impactful and far reaching action President Trump can take, would be to express regret over his years of headlining the baseless, but bothersome, birther movement. Communicating a sincere mea culpa, contrary to popular belief, is not an act of timidity, but rather a sign of toughness. True strength comes from a willingness to display humility.
For certain, an unwatered down apology is one of the most uncomfortable things required of those who chose to live in polite society. Apologies are even more difficult when it is required of people in power. Yet, a heartfelt apology falling from the lips of the man who has been voted to lead the free world is exactly what the nation needs to begin the re-stitching of a torn relationship between President Trump and many in this country whom he has offended. An apology would begin to heal that hurt. An apology from President Trump would not serve as just a nice political move. It would put on display humility. It would be a way of demonstrating respect for former President Barack Obama who was wronged by the “birther movement”.
Perhaps, more importantly, an apology from the Head of State may denuclearize the toxic atmosphere created when President Trump and others launched a bold and unsavory attempt to delegitimize the nation’s first African American President. An apology will not fix everything that has been broken over the past few years, but if done wholeheartedly, it can humanize President Trump in ways that we can only imagine.
President Trump, if I am wrongheadedly pushing you to apologize, do it anyway. As you have said to Black America, “What do you have to lose?”