Real Leaders Rule by Uniting, Trump Rules by Dividing

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Gen Matthis: “Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us."
Photo: YouTube

Trump the divider-in-chief leads not by unifying but by dividing.

Those of us who have led, especially those who have led in our armed forces, understand that in order to effectively lead the leader must create and maintain a unifying environment amongst his unit; whether it is a squad, platoon, troop, regiment, or the entire United States Army.

The success of my platoon when we were in Iraq relied on the fact that we literally saw each other as brothers. We came from different backgrounds and had various political views. But in the end, we were united as one.

Sadly, President Trump does not value unity when it comes to leadership.

In the June 3rd edition of The Atlantic, Gen. Mattis stated, “Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.”

Our United States of America can neither thrive nor lead with President Trump being unwilling to unite us as “One nation under God.”

To make matters worse, President Trump’s stunt at St John’s Episcopal Church highlights that he neither understands his role as Commander-in-Chief nor the actionable role of our military. Coupled with his lack of understanding and his inability to assess situations, a peaceful protest at Lafayette Square could have turned into a massacre. President Trump’s mindset is such that he believes that every woman and man in uniform thinks as he does, not realizing that many of those National Guardsmen who followed their orders that fateful early evening were sorely conflicted.

The President’s arrogant act motivated Gen. Martin Dempsey, a true leader who does his best to stay out of the political fray, to tweet on June 1st, “America’s military, our sons and daughters, will place themselves at risk to protect their fellow citizens. Their job is unimaginably hard overseas; harder at home. Respect them, for they respect you. America is not a battleground. Our fellow citizens are not the enemy. #BeBetter”

On the same day, another silent warrior, Adm. Mike Mullen, felt compelled to write an op-ed for The Atlantic, saying, “It sickened me yesterday to see security personnel—including members of the National Guard—forcibly and violently clear a path through Lafayette Square to accommodate the president's visit outside St. John's Church...we are at an inflection point, and the events of the past few weeks have made it impossible to remain silent.” In the same op-ed, Adm. Mullen went on to say, “We must ensure that African-Americans—indeed, all Americans—are given the same rights under the Constitution, the same justice under the law, and the same consideration we give to members of our own family. Our fellow citizens are not the enemy, and must never become so.”

Adm. Mullen understands, just as Gen. Dempsey and Gen. Mattis, that an aspect of leadership is treating all whom you lead with a sense of compassion and commitment. As Adm. Mullen states, our country cannot be the country we know it can be until African-Americans are truly considered a part of “We the People”.

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