Responsible Citizens

The Reality Is — Donald Trump is Our President

In this blog I list all the presidents who have served in my lifetime without mentioning their political party. Why? Because once they are elected, they are my president whether I voted for them or not. I’m an American, I like our country and our system of government, so my reality is that regardless of our own political persuasion, we all benefit when our president is successful. Donald Trump is my president.

Since January 20th, 2017, Donald Trump has been my president. Prior to that, Barack Obama was my president, and prior to that George W. Bush was my president. I joyfully supported Presidents Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan. And I vividly remember loving my America while Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, and LBJ were in the White House. I know, I know, in today’s society, people claim their individuality by saying their reality is actually reality. Not so. Life is real, and you are part of reality, but your perceptions don’t establish reality. One mark of maturity is to respond to outside situations realistically and responsibly. I know. I’ve been around since JFK and Eisenhower were also my presidents.

It seems harder to respect presidents nowadays. Not because they don’t deserve it, but because the news media prospers by presenting everything as bad. Many in the news media have refined yellow journalism, criticizing, complaining and abuse of it’s independence into marketable skills. They have made nagging public figures a favorite pastime, and have become experts at blame. That is interesting to me because most journalists have never held a position of consequence, they just criticize those who do. They give the impression that they are experts on everything.

Now to the President: I totally blew it predicting the 2016 election. I don’t want to replay the campaigns, and I’m sure you don’t want me to. But that election cycle totally surprised me. When Trump was nominated, I predicted Hillary Clinton would win 50 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia, not because I was for Clinton, I just couldn’t imagine Trump winning. I was wrong. Trump won.

But how did he do it? I think Forbes Magazine’s article on Jared Kushner (December 20, 2016 issue) is the best explanation I’ve read yet on the Trump strategy that helped win the election. (It’s excellent and deserves to be studied by everyone). So much has been written and debated about this election, but I have some additional thoughts:

  1. I think the press helped elect Trump: In the 2016 Republican primaries I liked Marco Rubio, John Kasich and Jeb Bush. I couldn’t see Donald Trump going very far. But he did, largely because the press could not resist him. All of the experienced, mainstream candidates with first hand knowledge of governing were negatively branded “establishment” by the press and discounted. Because of that, the candidates with proven skills appeared boring and routine, while Trump had the press salivating at every word. His ideas and language were so entertaining, shocking, funny, repulsive, and pretentious, it was great television! And it turned out to be very appealing to mid-America. I read somewhere that the mainstream media gave him $1,000,000,000 worth of free coverage, while the others couldn’t get a sound-bite. The press inadvertently nominated and elected President Donald Trump.

Gayle and I used to watch DVR recordings of Meet the Press and Fareed Zakaria’s Global Public Square every week (we don’t any more.) As we watched these shows and other mainstream media outlets align against Trump and blatantly assail him, it actually endeared us to him. Surprisingly, their prejudice, arrogance, and disrespect triggered our kindness and forgiveness toward Trump. Although he’s offensive to many of our values and even inconsistent with many of my political preferences, when the unelected elites in the press became so passionate that their view of America was the only authentic view, I had to reconsider.

Since I believe in the power of checks and balances, and that our republic will survive and there will be other elections, I’m not troubled by any one single election. I am, though, troubled when we put people on the Supreme Court who do not believe the constitution means what it says. My interest was the Supreme Court, not political personalities. When the press was openly calling a guy like me an idiot, a racist, and a sexist for thinking I wanted a president who would appoint a strict constructionist to the Supreme Court, they impacted me. Was I “nuts” and a “buffoon” to think vacated seats should be filled with someone who believed the constitution should be closely followed? I had, and have, very good reasons not to prefer Trump as president, but the Supreme Court is more important to me than those concerns. The press helped persuade me.

  1. I think Sanders helped elect Trump: I think Sanders had better manners and answered questions more directly than Trump or Clinton, but I’ve traveled the world and know that the compelling language of socialism does not deliver as promised. Since Clinton allowed Sanders to pull her further left, I was again motivated to disregard my concerns about Trump. I believe we are in the early stages of the socialization of America, but I did not want to contribute to that slide. When I learned that 85% of Sanders supporters switched to Clinton, that helped persuade me to shift the other direction.
  1. I think Hillary Clinton helped elect Trump: Clinton’s resume was impressive, and I’m not the guy who is going to hold someone else’s sins against them. And I’m not a sexist, so gender did not play a role in my contemplation. But when she identified aborting children as the “women’s issue” of our generation, and refused to differentiate between someone who immigrates to our country legally from those who come here illegally, I became disenchanted. I just couldn’t support her generalizations or determination to characterize guys like me as enemies of Americanism. It appeared to me that the Democrat party had perfected identity politics (dividing people into groups: women, men, college educated, high school educated, native Americans, blacks, LGBTQ, Hispanics, whites, immigrants, students, etc.), and Clinton repeatedly implied these were warring interest groups instead of diverse Americans who value that we all flavor one another, like various ingredients in a melting pot. I like diversity, but I don’t like politicians who assume differences inherently promote competition and hate.

I want government to help responsible people who need a hand, to aggressively retrain people so we can be competitive in a changing marketplace, and to help the disadvantaged, like my special needs son who, without a miracle, will never be able to help himself. I believe our laws need to be equally applied to all of our citizens regardless of race, gender, or religious or sexual preferences. But when Clinton assumed I was against those needing help or those who were different than me, she sent me the other direction.

I want to be a giver, not a taker. There are lots of good people who pay taxes, obey the laws, and support as many benevolent activities in our communities as we can. We pursue our educations so we can serve others, and keep working past retirement age because we think it’s honorable to work hard. We patronize quality businesses and support those in need. By seeming to come against these good folks, Clinton, in effect, helped Trump.

It’s starting to look like Trump is getting great results. Time will tell. Regardless, he is our president. Note that in my opening paragraph that listed all the presidents who have served in my lifetime, I didn’t mention their party. Why? Because once they are elected, it does not matter to me. That’s my reality, and my hope is that regardless of your political party, Facebook friends, or age — regardless of the group you belong to, you’ll see the benefit of making our country work. If you are only accustomed to helping when the person or party you prefer is in power, it might be time to talk to some older folks and learn the value of serving people who are different from you. We have a great country. Let’s all serve it well.

By tedhaggardblog

Ted Haggard is the Sr. Pastor of St. James Church in Colorado Springs, CO and founding pastor of New Life Church and past president of the National Association of Evangelicals. He is the husband of Gayle, and the father of Christy, Marcus, Jonathan, Alex and Elliott.

11 replies on “The Reality Is — Donald Trump is Our President”

Ted, you just pretty well described ME. I can add a couple more presidents to the list; FDR and Truman. But I remember how we actually loved and respected these men. MY, how times have changed!

Hey Pastor Ted! I know I can be the antithesis at time, which is not my intention. Politically, I try to remain as centrist and agile in my political views as possible to grow with change. So, I do have a few challenges with your blog, which is very well written by the way. But before I begin, I must say that I do see your heart for those in public service and point of view for discussion points 1-3, which are very strong observations. However, I feel you’ve made a few generalizations without considering a few known facts. Nonetheless, great post and I’m sure there exists a demographic of people who strongly sympathize with a large portion of your statements. Though…

1). You state that “America…has not won a war since the advent of television news”, but Desert Storm (1991) was a total victory for the alliance formed to remove Saddam Hussein’s takeover of Kuwait. Yes, the outcome of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the Afghan War started in 2001 still awaits historical judgment. Both were successful in their original intentions. Saddam Hussein was removed and later tried and hanged. However, there were no “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq, which was the pretext used to initiate this war; a campaign launch by Pres. George W. Bush, whom you “joyfully supported”. The Afghan War did initially defeat and remove Taliban control over much of the country. However, which I’m in agreeance with you, Taliban elements are now positioning themselves to regain control over Afghanistan once the US removes its forces, which resembles the Vietnam War in far too many ways.

2). You state that “most journalists have never held the positions of those they critique”, but David Richmond Gergen is an American political commentator and former presidential advisor who served during the administrations of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton, some of which you “joyfully supported”.

3). You believe that “we are in the early stages of the socialization of America”

3). You state that “it’s too early to tell if Trump is going to turn out to be a good president…”. However, the 2003 Complete Idiot’s Guide to Psychology claims as an established “psychological fact of life” that, “when it comes to human beings, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.” Period. End of story. But this is a gross oversimplification. Psychological scientists who study human behavior agree that past behavior is a useful marker for future behavior. But only under certain specific conditions:

-High-frequency, habitual behaviors are more predictive than infrequent behaviors.
-Predictions work best over short time intervals.
-The anticipated situation must be essentially the same as the past situation that activated the behavior.
-The behavior must not have been extinguished by corrective or negative feedback.
-The person must remain essentially unchanged.
-The person must be fairly consistent in his or her behaviors.

So, I agree that we need to take ownership of our country as a diverse group of citizens. In doing so, we need to check the record (e.g. History) in order to continuously improve as a nation and hold our leaders accountable at every level of government. This doesn’t mean go on a “witch hunt”, no ones perfect. Though, if a person does not posses the competencies to handle the rigor of a job, then they should not apply, let alone go to the interview (i.e. Debate).

This is excellent. I thoroughly agreed with it all. I would like to send you something by Jane Hansen on prayer for the president, if you would like to have it. It is on email and I can forward it. I am barely computer literate, so if you could give me an address that would get to you, I can send it on. You may have heard that Peter went home to glory in October. Being his widow is hard, but I am making it. God bless you. Love to Gayle, Doris Wagner

Apologies, I hit the submit button without finishing my response, but you got the idea. Great thoughts, look forward in reading your next entry!

Thanks, Pastor Ted!

I share your views a lot!!

And, I still have the neck tie that you gave me at Morris Cerrulo’s conference at Texas in 2004! I still fan to flame the anointing that came upon me after you walked down from the pulpit and laid hand on my chest to pray for me.

Thanks a lot,

May the good Lord continue to use, keep and protect you and your family.

Udechi Chukwu

Senior Pastor, Full-Life Christian Assembly, NYC

Sent from Outlook


intellectually inspiring! I enjoyed hearing your positive positions to help to make the world we live in a better place, w/o the rioting, hate mongering, and destructive actions against innocent people and places of employment. I’m praying for unity among the American people. I believe President Trump will be a great leader, as those prior to him, also did their best to improve and unite our nation. God Bless You Pastor Ted and your family too.

Hello Ted,

I just watched the documentary about you on HBO and I felt compelled to see where you are on your journey. I was moved by your devotion to your family as you pursued job after job. Your wife is a jewel, and I know you are most certainly aware of that.

Your blog on Trump surprised me as we see things totally differently. Journalists didn’t fabricate the statements and actions that I will share below. Our media is not monolithic, there are innumerable sources of reliable and accurate reporting. I truly hope, Ted, that you and your readers will consider my points.

As the fog has cleared since the election, and yes, it’s been slow to dissipate, I’ve been rehashing over and over all of the pre-election, outrageous statements and actions that Trump said and did. I can’t get past the Billy Bush/Access Hollywood bus video, and how he boasted of grabbing women’s genitals. I can’t forget the threats to Hillary Clinton, climate change denial, the slaps to POWs (my mother’s brother died in a Japanese POW camp). I can’t forget what he said about the gold star family, the handicapped, Mexicans, Muslims, the generals. I can’t forget the small contractors he swindled in the constructing of his buildings, the Trump University students he bilked, the blacks that he and dear old dad would not rent to, the 15 year old pageant contestants he ogled in the dressings rooms, the 12 women who have come forward to say he molested them, the fact that he won’t release his tax returns, the willingness to race-bait, the unwillingness to disavow the David Dukes out there, the threat of not accepting the election results, and of course, his admiration for that murderous tyrant, Putin, and his unwillingness to accept Russian hacking and the subsequent firing of Comey. And let’s not forget that he entrusted the thoroughly inexperienced Jared Kushner with leading efforts with respect to Middle East peace, reshaping the federal government, looking out for our veterans, to name but a few of the initiatives he is supposed to spearhead. By and large, the media is doing its vital job of simply factually reporting what the president has said and done. A few cases in point, he clearly lied about the inaugural crowd size, the bugging by Obama, and illegal voting that gave HRC the popular vote. These are lies! He does this habitually and with respect to his base, he pays NO penalty. This is shocking, especially given how the bible is all about facing the truth. I don’t understand the hypocrisy of so many Christians.

And we are going to trust this thin skinned, profoundly ignorant man/child with the nuclear codes? I could go on and on, Ted, but I think you get the picture. You see, I’ll never, ever accept this guy. Yes, he’s the president, but I’ve made up my mind. He’s rotten to the core, a truly dangerous, and possibly mentally ill authoritarian. I don’t care what possibly good things he may do.

You know, the decades fly by, you grow up, you assume that education works, that people care about facts and truths. You think people’s critical thinking skills are advancing with each generation. You think people are becoming more thoughtful, informed, and tolerant, but no!

So many of our fellow citizens either regressed or had never made progress in the first place, or are just plain rubes who would gladly trade freedom for the perceived security that a macho bully can offer. And you also gain a bit of insight into how 1930s Germany took root. And lastly, you lose confidence in your own assessment of your fellow citizens.

I hope, Ted, this helps you to understand where I’ve been since the election. This is where I will be for the next four years, and you know, the above list will only grow.

We can’t let this administration be viewed as “normal”. That would be dangerous to our country’s future.

Thanks for listening, Ted. I wish you and your family all the best.


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