I am not sure how to even begin to digest your response to Donald Trump’s speech last night. Is it possible that you had a brain fart? Or did you have an epiphany that only you witnessed, like seeing the Virgin Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich? Because what you said after Trump’s speech last night showed complete and utter disregard for the reality of what occurred.

Trump read from a script that was full of lies. He didn’t yell or wave his hands or pat himself on the back too much, he cleaned up his act purely because he read words that other people wrote for him; words that weren’t true and weren’t accurate.

Yet you declared that Trump’s performance was in essence, a triumph and “extraordinary” insisting that in that moment Trump praised the Navy Seal Senior Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens who died in the Yemen raid, “he became President of the United States.”

That moment was the same moment when Trump lied about the effectiveness of the raid and the information that was obtained. It was also the moment when he countered his early statement blaming Obama and the military for its disastrous results. Your response was blind to the implications of Trump shamelessly using a woman’s grief to prop himself, especially in light of the fact that Owens father has demanded answers as to what happened to his son and clearly didn’t take Trump’s bait.

For you to take any moment out of the context of the bigger picture of Trump’s incompetence and lying is staggeringly dangerous.

It is the first step in the normalization of what is quickly becoming a fascist government, into something that is more palatable. Trump said that “A new national pride is sweeping across our nation.” That’s code for the white supremacists are thrilled beyond belief that they finally have an advocate in the White House. I would suggest that you as a Black man, might want to point that out rather than being suckered into the spectacle that was orchestrated by a reality show host.

To be fair, you also said,

Now, there was a lot that he said in that speech that was counterfactual, that was not right, that I oppose and will oppose.

Counterfactual? Really? Counterfactual is a ridiculously anemic way of saying lies. We are well beyond the point where we should be trying to damper or soften Trump’s lying. It is imperative to call it for what it is. When Trump lies about the Yemen raid, that is important. When he lies about the circumstances surrounding the death and blames other factions of government and even President Obama we call him on it. We don’t praise the theater of his speech.

And if you don’t know Mr. Jones, praise helps to create momentum, it serves as fodder for growth. Do you know how many times the right will use your praise of him as proof that he is doing a good job? That he is crossing the divide?

Others have fact checked his speech and found it to be long on lies and short on plans. Still, others found it surreal as if he was operating in his own universe, one that is devoid of reality. To suggest as he did that, “… a new surge of optimism is placing impossible dreams firmly within our grasp” is to belie the terror that too many Americans feel and the stories we are reading day after day of our civil rights being violated and the hope and dreams of so many destroyed by an inhumane attempt to ban Muslims from entering our country and deporting undocumented immigrants who aren’t criminals. Jews are living in terror. Women are afraid that they will lose their rights to reproductive care and abortions. And millions of Americans are deeply afraid that they will lose their health insurance, and for some, that may mean their lives.

So next time when you want to praise President Trump for his theater and not for any substantial, truthful endeavor, don’t. And the next time you want to warn those of us who are resisting each and every day the normalization of a narcissistic liar, don’t. We intend to make sure that he doesn’t last four years, no less eight.

-Jan Harrison


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  1. Thank you Jan Harrison. Well said. I hope that others who made the same or similar comments have seen and understand the points you made so very clearly. I worry that seemingly intelligent people are unable to see through the sham being presented as leadership. I guess I should cease to be amazed. This is the first time I have ever replied like this and perhaps it won’t be the last.

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