It should go without saying that patriotism—a love of country—is the essential requirement for someone seeking its highest office. If you are not committed to serving your countrymen, what basis can you have for leading them? Of course, anyone can claim they want to make America great; how you have demonstrated patriotism is the real measure of your words.
Donald Trump has virtually no record of public service.
He avoided serving during the Vietnam War, joking instead that his “personal Vietnam” was avoiding venereal disease, while ridiculing senator John McCain, a decorated Vietnam War veteran and POW for having been captured. Recently, he criticized the grieving Gold Star parents of Humayun Khan, a Muslim American soldier who died heroically in Iraq.
Compared to other wealthy Americans, he is stingy, often reneging on promised charitable donations. The Washington Post found $3.8 million of charitable donations in the 15 years since 2001. By comparison, Star Wars’ George Lucas, who is about equally wealthy, gave away $925 million in just one year. They also found that over the last 30 years, Trump has given away less than 1/10 of 1% of his claimed net wealth.
When asked directly, he could not cite a single meaningful sacrifice he has made for his countrymen, suggesting instead that working “very, very hard” to get rich was somehow a sacrifice on par with giving his life for his country, as Captain Khan did.
Donald Trump’s claim to represent America or American workers rings hollow in light of his dismal record for serving anyone other than himself. But perhaps the most damning evidence comes from his reaction to the Kahn family. Not empathizing with a mother’s grief is one thing. Being so self-absorbed as to not realize how unacceptable that callousness is to the nation, even when it is repeatedly pointed out by his own party, is quite another.
An uncontrolled love of self leaves little room for love of country.