SANTIAGO, Chile — The weather in the Chilean capital on Saturday morning was cold and rainy when I started reading the day’s headlines from around the world on my iPhone. I opened my Twitter account and saw President Trump had begun to attack Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan who is working tirelessly to help the citizens of her city that Hurricane Maria ravaged on Sept. 20.
“The mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump,” tweeted Trump from his New Jersey golf course.
To say that I was in disbelief when I took a screenshot of the tweet and sent it to a long-time contact in San Juan is a gross understatement. His response was almost immediate — describing Trump as a pendejo (“idiot” in Puerto Rican Spanish) and sending me screenshots of two additional tweets in which the president criticized Yulín for her “poor leadership ability” and accused her and other Puerto Ricans of wanting “everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort.”
The president who claims to speak on behalf of all Americans — including the more than 3 million U.S. citizens who live in Puerto Rico — is a morally bankrupt man with no sense of basic dignity or compassion. His outrageous attacks against the mayor of an American city who is doing everything possible to help her citizens survive are the latest in a long list of actions (or inactions) that have left this gay American journalist who routinely reports overseas embarrassed. I am also increasingly ashamed to identify myself as an American while this man occupies the White House.
Here are a few of the myriad examples of what this president has done since he took office on Jan. 20.
Trump has effectively banned the citizens of five predominantly Muslim countries — Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia — from entering the U.S. He has also begun to refer to North Korean President Kim Jong-un — whose government conducted its sixth nuclear test last month and has launched two missiles that flew over Japan in recent weeks — as “Rocket Man.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions last month announced the Trump administration would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that has allowed roughly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. Trump in June announced the reinstatement of travel and trade restrictions with Cuba during a campaign-style event in Miami that can only be described as a disgusting spectacle.
Trump is an embarrassment to his country, to the people he claims to represent and to the office that he occupies. The world is watching the tragedy that is the Trump presidency continue to unfold.
Pedro Santos, the gay nephew of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos who lives part-time in New York City, told me on Sept. 28 during an interview at a coffee shop in the Colombian capital of Bogotá that everyone in Colombia “hates” Trump. Pedro Santos also said the U.S. has become weaker since Trump took office.
Iván Chanis Barahona, a gay Panamanian lawyer who lived in the U.S. for a decade and is now spearheading his country’s same-sex marriage movement, told me on Sept. 26 during an interview in Panama City the U.S. is “becoming irrelevant for people.” Andrea Ayala, executive director of Espacio de Mujeres Lesbianas por la Diversidad, an LGBT advocacy group in El Salvador known by the acronym ESMULES, said the day before in the Salvadoran capital of San Salvador that any decision the Trump administration makes to cut aid to her Central American country is “going to have an impact.”
I yearn for the day when Trump will get off Twitter and start acting like someone who resembles how an American president should conduct themselves. I also yearn for the day when pigs will fly over the Andes mountains that loom over the Chilean capital.
Neither of these scenarios will likely come to pass.
Trump is a morally bankrupt man who is putting his country and the world at risk. Those who enable him — including the Log Cabin Republicans who held their annual dinner at the Trump International Hotel in D.C. last week — are complicit.
Americans of good will and conscience must do everything they can to ensure that such a man never occupies the White House again. The future of the U.S. and the world hangs in the balance.