Editorial: President Trump reminds the nation how character counts


President Trump designated Sunday, Oct. 15 through Saturday, Oct. 21, as National Character Counts Week in a proclamation that cannot be faulted. “Our actions – often done first out of duty – become habits ingrained in the way we treat others and ourselves,” it read, in part. Presidents from both parties have made such proclamations since 1993. 

The nonprofit Joseph & Edna Josephson Institute of Ethics started the Character Counts program. That’s worth noting before sharing a few lessons Trump passed along during the week in question. You can learn more about the program at charactercounts.org. The site notes that “every adult has the responsibility to teach and model the core ethical values and every social institution has the responsibility to promote the development of good character.” 

On Sunday, Trump tweeted at the “failing” New York Times for not covering accomplishments, part of a larger attack against journalism. He’s suggested curtailing press freedoms in the past, though his comments during National Character Counts Week were mostly petty. 

Trump on Monday blamed “terrible policy” by Democrats for the lack of positions filled within his administration. According to a White House transcript, he was not even sure “they’re very good politicians.” He paid a compliment, though. The Dems are “great at obstruction.” 

He acknowledged failures to move forward an agenda, though these are failures not of the executive branch but the GOP-led legislature. “But we’re not getting the job done, and I’m not going to blame myself,” he said. “I’ll be honest. They are not getting the job done.”

And he hopes a certain someone will run again in 2020. “Crooked Hillary Clinton,” the president tweeted nearly a year after he won the election, thus ending it.

Trump criticized U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for having the audacity to say “half-baked spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems” is unpatriotic. In the past, Trump has criticized McCain for having been a prisoner of war. Fox News quoted Trump on Tuesday: “People have to be careful because at some point I fight back. You know, I’m being very nice. I’m being very, very nice, but at some point I fight back, and it won’t be pretty.”

“So much Fake News being put in dying magazines and newspapers,” Trump tweeted. “Only place worse may be @NBCNews, @CBSNews, @ABC and @CNN. Fiction writers!” For the curious, Fox News tweets as @FoxNews. 

On Wednesday, Trump criticized the NFL, an FBI director he fired, “crooked Hillary,” so on. There was scant evidence the president meant to model ethics for kids. He insulted critics, threatened colleagues, accepted no responsibility. Like it was any old week.

On it went. “Character is built slowly,” his proclamation warns. 

© 2017 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC

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