News-Press’ owner-editor Nicholas Benton provided upon request the following Open Letter to Donald Trump on the eve of his inauguration for the Washington, D.C.-based Metro Weekly gay community news publication:
“Open Letter to Incoming U.S. President Donald Trump,
“Like the courageous civil rights champion U.S. Rep. John Lewis, I do not consider your presidency to be legitimate. As Rep. Lewis, the great ally of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., stated this week, the overwhelming evidence confirmed by U.S. intelligence agencies of interference by a foreign power hostile to the U.S. in favor of your election last fall has severely flawed that outcome.
“Moreover, the manner of your seeking the presidency and your ongoing behavior since being declared the winner underscore this grievous concern. Still sadly, most of your Republican colleagues in Congress have shamefully embraced this sorry development to already advance legislation that will eliminate health care coverage for 22 million Americans.
“Since the election of President Obama, our first African-American president, in 2008, you and your Republican allies, working in conjunction with Russian intelligence and the Russian-controlled so-called “Alt-Right” radical white supremacist fringe in U.S. politics have worked tirelessly to erode President Obama’s power and influence through brazen and callous appeals to racism, the very lowest and most degraded of dispositions, antithetical to the moral standards required to preserve our precious and tenuous democracy.
“You spearheaded a high-profile ‘birther movement’ to discredit the president by the same means that African-Americans have been unfairly disenfranchised throughout history. Your behavior was shameful then as it is now. But it is about far more than your personal immorality. Indeed, you are advancing a hostile takeover of our core democratic institutions by a foreign power that prefers authoritarian tyranny. As such, you, sir, are a grave danger to this nation.
“Sir, with the American revolution and miraculous success crafting a Constitutional democracy that has endured stormy times to survive two centuries and two score years later, the abiding animating spirit of America has been an openly-embraced deference to the benefit of all in equal measure. Our founding mothers and fathers – emboldened as they were by the universal aspirations of the Great Enlightenment of their century – were keenly attuned to this sensibility, and written between all the lines of their brave actions and words has been an almost otherworldly optimism that informed their testaments to the shared and equal values of all human beings, most recently extended to my LGBT brothers and sisters. There is no America without such an animating generosity of spirit guiding her.
“This spirit is the polar opposite of a disposition seeking advantage over others by exploitation through politics or business as you represent.”