Dear Donald,

I’d call you Mr. President, but the title no longer fits. I’d call you Mr. Trump, but even that modicum of respect feels overstated. So, at this late stage in your tottering tenure, you’re just Donald – much like you were as a child.

Which, unquestionably, you still are.

You’re coming to Maine on Friday not to help lead us through our three-alarm nightmare – a deadly pandemic, a crashed economy and, now, riots in the streets – but to once again run away from it. You’ve chosen a part of the state, Piscataquis County, where you’re still worshiped by people who can’t, or won’t, see what is so plainly evident to most of us.

You are a weak man.

You are a pathological liar.

You are utterly lacking in moral fiber.

At a time when the nation thirsts for courage and leadership, you are the embodiment of cowardice and impotence.

And now you’re escaping, if only for a few hours, to a remote corner of Maine. A place where, as you told Gov. Janet Mills on Monday, you’ll have “a tremendous crowd of people showing up” to cheer you on while you claim victory over a disease that is nowhere near defeated.

But this isn’t about the people who will welcome you with MAGA hats on, willfully blind as they may be. This is about you – a man devoid of human empathy, hyperinflated with self-interest.

To be honest, the more I’ve watched you in recent days, the more frightened you seem.

The look on your face as you stood in front St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House on Monday, holding a Bible no less, was not one of righteousness. It was the pitiful expression of a man who refuses to admit he’s lost his way.

Even as police armed with flash grenades muscled a crowd of peaceful protesters back to clear your path, you seemed so out of place in front of that church, its leaders now outraged that you would appropriate their sanctuary for your photo op and hijack the Holy Bible like some kind of last-minute stage prop.

I fear you’ll do the same here. I fear you’ll embrace the great state of Maine as your own, claiming that we all love you when in fact, an ever-growing number of us abhor you and all that you stand for.

You stand for division and conquest. Maine, more than you might realize, stands for community and cooperation.

You see us as just another political backdrop. We see you as a meltdown in progress, searching for somewhere, anywhere, to huff and puff and make like you’re a leader of the people – something you never will be.

You say it’s all under control. We know it’s coming apart at the seams.

Some in the tiny town of Guilford have said in recent days that your visit will “put us on the map,” that any time any president comes to a community like theirs, it’s a very big deal.

That’s true. Your presence will shut down streets, attract protesters and burden our law enforcement agencies. The sight of Marine One landing and taking off in a local field or parking lot will stop folks in their tracks – the proud presidential seal on the outside of the helicopter contrasting starkly with the floundering presidential impostor inside.

You’ll tour the Puritan Medical Products plant, where masked Maine workers are busy churning out nasal swabs for use with COVID-19 tests. But you won’t wear a mask, because it’s not your thing. Because, in the dark recesses of your self-obsession, it detracts from your delusion of omnipotence.

You’ll likely say something moronic – we’ve all come to expect that. But our fear is that you’ll also say something incendiary, that you’ll sound that dog whistle loudly enough to start trouble, yet just vaguely enough to deflect any responsibility when all hell breaks loose.

You are, after all, the master of wiggle room. Words of hate and derision no sooner leave your lips before your sycophantic aides, themselves forever tainted by their abject subservience, insist with faux indignation that you didn’t mean what you clearly said, that it’s all the media’s fault, that all but the true believers are out to get you.

We’re not out to get you, Donald. But those outside your base are out to get rid of you, to evict you this fall from the perch you have so disgraced these past three and a half years.

My deepest hope is that your visit, walled off and choreographed as it will be, will remain peaceful. The town of Guilford did not ask for this and the workers at Puritan Medical Products deserve all of our gratitude for their role in trying to corral the novel coronavirus.

But trouble now follows you like a swarm of black flies. As Piscataquis County Sheriff Robert Young put it Tuesday on Facebook, “In ordinary times, a Presidential visit to Guilford, Maine would be a great thing, regardless of who the President is. Sadly, at this time, our nation is so full of strife and rancor, that the good nature of his coming is overshadowed by the politics of our time.”

So go ahead, Donald, do your thing if you must. Throw nasal swabs at the crowd like you tossed the paper towels at hurricane victims in Puerto Rico. Treat your stay here like the self-promotion it is, not the moment of reconciliation and healing it could be.

Just know that outside the rope lines, just beyond the carefully screened supporters in their flaming red headgear, an entire nation – and entire world, for that matter – watches you with a mixture of alarm and disgust.

May your ego trip to Maine be uneventful.

May it also be short.

And, once you’ve moved on to your next carnival act, may it be quickly forgotten.


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