This Thanksgiving, President Trump doesn’t seem to be thankful for very much — and seems frustrated that Americans aren’t expressing more gratitude for him.
At a time when many reflect on the blessings in their lives and help those in need, the president has thanked himself for the booming stock market and promised to cut welfare programs. He has demanded more credit for the release of three college basketball players who were arrested for allegedly shoplifting in China — tweeting Wednesday that “IT WAS ME” who got them out — and called the father of one of the players an “ungrateful fool.” He also revived the controversy over football players who kneel during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and sought to cast doubt on the women who have accused Senate candidate Roy Moore of preying on them when they were teenagers.
The holiday week, in other words, serves as a reminder that Trump doesn’t take a break from airing his grievances — not even in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. As he tweeted in 2013: “Happy Thanksgiving to all — even the haters and losers!”
Of course, that’s why many of his supporters adore him. They love that he doesn’t waste time uttering flowery holiday sentiments pulled from greeting cards and instead speaks his mind without any filter, or a spell-checker.
But ahead of Thanksgiving — the all-American celebration of gratitude, unity and family — the president’s attacks and provocations may remind some Americans of that one troublemaking uncle they will soon have to face.
Trump has yet to participate in another presidential Thanksgiving tradition: volunteering at a food pantry, helping serve meals to the homeless or visiting members of the military.
On Thanksgiving Day or in the days leading up to it, Barack Obama and his family would volunteer at a food bank or help serve a hot meal to the homeless. George W. Bush made a surprise visit to Baghdad on Thanksgiving in 2003 to have dinner with troops serving there. During Bill Clinton’s first Thanksgiving in the White House in 1993, he and his family helped prepare dinner for the homeless at a church in Washington.
Such events are often viewed as nothing more than photo ops and logistical nightmares for organizers. But as Trump spent Wednesday firing off angry tweets from what he calls “the winter White House” and then retreating to one of his private golf courses, social media platforms filled with photos and remembrances of how previous presidents spent this time of year.
(Excerpted from Johnson, Washington Post 11/23/17)