~~November 29, 2016~~
THIN SKIN PRESIDENT ELECT
Theodore Roosevelt said that speaking out against criticism of the President “is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
The passage is, in fact, from an editorial written by the former president in May 1918, when the U.S. was embroiled in World War I. Make no mistake, Roosevelt wasn’t against the war – quite to the contrary, he believed the U.S. had entered it too reluctantly – but he was outspokenly critical of President Woodrow Wilson’s conduct of the war, writing no fewer than two syndicated editorials a week over a two-year period advocating for a stronger U.S. presence on the European war front.
The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole.
Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile.
To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.
Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.
~The Kansas City Star, 18 May 1918~
Nearly 100 years after this, the passage was used to defend critics not only of President George W. Bush, but of President Barack Obama.
President elect Trump should take this quote to heart!
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