In his victory speech after his stunning electoral win, Donald Trump had kind words for his defeated rival, Hillary Clinton. And he pledged “to bind the wounds of division … (and) be president for all Americans.”
Unfortunately, magnanimity and generosity of spirit disappeared almost immediately afterward from Mr. Trump’s words and Twitter posts. All too often, he has been mean and petty; and his relationship with the truth frequently has been strained at best.
Questioned on CNN about statements made by her boss, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway protested, “You always want to go by what’s come out of his mouth rather than look at what’s in his heart.”
Trusting “what’s in his heart” appears to be a leap of faith many Americans are unwilling to make. Public opinion polls show his favorable ratings at unheard-of lows for a new U.S. president. In this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll, most readers—a group that is decidedly more conservative than the general population—think he will do a fair or poor job.
Nevertheless, Mr. Trump today takes the oath of office. He will have his chance to lead, and all Americans have a stake in his ability to move the country and its economy forward. With more than 75 straight months of job growth, he has a solid foundation to build on.
Eight years ago, Barack Obama delivered his first inaugural address to some 2 million people in frigid weather on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The new president urged his fellow Americans to return to “true” things like “hard work and honesty, courage and fair play.”
In a time of uncertain moral leadership, those who own and run companies ought to demonstrate daily that their employees and communities deserve respect. And they need to tell the truth, even when it’s difficult to do so.
Fortunately, though not all businesses operate with these principles, most do. However challenging the days ahead may become, we are counting on them to do what’s right.
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