Ujjal Dosanjh: Dear Donald Trump, you will always be an illegitimate president

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      Dear Donald,

      You and your surrogates have been noxiously complaining that the U.S. Democrats are raising the bogey of Russian hacking into the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to delegitimize your electoral victory and undermine your presidency.

      I am a citizen of the increasingly smaller world: a Canadian living next door to your country—an immigrant in Canada, originally from India. I am baffled how one undermines something already illegitimate. I thought I should let you know well before your swearing-in that as far as many Americans and people across the world are concerned, your presidency is void ab initio. You are an illegitimate president-elect, and you will be an illegitimate president. Stop complaining about it.

      And you may ask why?

      Where do you want me to start?

      For beginners, as one who had sought to undermine the presidency of a duly elected Barack Obama by leading the most disgusting chorus of the birther lie against the first black president in the history of the United States, you don't deserve to be the president. Nor do you deserve to be the standard bearer of the party of the slayer and abolisher of slavery, Abraham Lincoln.

      You campaigned on "draining the swamp" of the rich and powerful in Washington. That appears to have been another one of your grotesque lies because your proposed cabinet is full of billionaires and multimillionaires quite at home, and used to swimming in the swamp of which they are an integral part.

      Your Electoral College victory was founded upon a campaign of hate and racism against Muslims and Mexicans. You appealed to the latent racism of a significant section of white Americans still undoubtedly harbouring racism—fear of the other—and economic anxieties afflicting them, leading them to buy your snake oil of how everything will be fine when you ban all Muslims from entering the country, set up a mandatory registry for American Muslims, instantly deport 11 million Mexicans from the U.S. back into Mexico, and build a wall on the border with Mexico.

      Time and again you told the American people that you will make Mexico pay for the wall. You are now asking Americans to pay for it to be reimbursed by Mexico at some point in the future. And Mexico has flatly rejected your suggestion. But it is good that it may be less than a wall, but still another lie.

      To make matters worse you have told scores of other monstrous, consequential and inconsequential lies in your lifetime and in the campaign. So much so that it compelled James Warren writing in Vanity Fair to label you "the least honest politician alive". And even after getting elected you haven't stopped lengthening the already too long screed of lies.

      I confess Hillary Clinton was not the greatest opponent you could have faced. She had excessive baggage from years of being in the public and political domains: the history the Clinton Foundation, her own emails from her time as secretary of state and much more. According to the report of the U.S. intelligence agencies, in came the Russians with the clear intent to sow distrust in the U.S. election process, hurt the Clinton candidacy, and help yours, their preferred candidate.

      The Russians hacked the DNC and other Clinton-related emails and conspired with WikiLeaks to strategically release such materials during the campaign. The drip-drip of the Russian-hacked and WikiLeaks-released material effectively damaged Clinton's chances of beating you. Russia put its thumb on the scale to help you, their favourite candidate. You became Russia's "Manchurian candidate". Russia didn't interfere with the voting machines or the tallying of the votes. But it certainly did interfere with and influence the election in your favour.  With Russia's clear and covert help, you defeated Clinton.

      There are as yet unsubstantiated claims that the Russians possess a dossier of compromising personal and other information on you. If true, you could be subject to blackmail, endangering the national security of the United States. The intelligence chiefs felt the information, though unproven, was germaine enough to their duty to protect the United States and its government that they briefed President Obama and you on it.

      The briefing material was leaked but according to the intelligence chiefs, not by them or their organizations. You had a hissy fit during what the Guardian described as a train wreck of a press conference and compared your intelligence chiefs to the Nazis. Such irresponsible conduct is more proof that you aren't fit to be president of the most powerful country on earth.

      Mind you, Russia isn't unique in the world in trying to subvert other nations' politics and governments. American governments have been no international angels. They have encouraged countless coups and revolts and interfered in elections all over the world. The governments your country helped come to power in other countries were equally illegitimate, be it the Shah of Iran, Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines, or Augusto Pinochet in Chile.

      Russian interference and influence in the U.S. election in your favour, more than the lies and hate you spewed, have certainly meant the demise of your presidency's legitimacy at its very beginning. Your campaign of lies, hate, and racism along with the well-documented help you received from the Russians in damaging your opponent has made yours an illegitimate presidency.

      But you, your supporters, and surrogates argue that you have been elected, and that should be the end of discussion. I tend to agree; no matter how tainted, the election is over. And in any event a large segment of the American electorate has never been known to be well informed and aware: the late Gore Vidal once lamented, "Half of the Americans have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half."

      Unfortunately, the world is the poorer for having to live with your less than legitimate presidency. So please do us a favour: just grin and bear it.

      P.S. 3:10 p.m. January 13: I wrote this column several days ago for the Indian Express. I noticed it hadn't published it yet. So on January 12, I updated it to reflect the alleged infamous Russian dossier on Trump. The piece was published by the Express last night—over 12 hours ago. Subsequently I posted it on my own site. Shortly afterward and to my utter delight, I watched Rep. (D) John Lewis, a revered civil rights figure and close associate of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, state in an interview today that as far as he was concerned Trump will never be a "legitimate president". I was afraid of being lonely and ridiculed when I had written it. Therefore it was gratifying to be reaffirmed in my own conviction and that it is okay to say it out loud.

      Ujjal Dosanjh

      Ujjal Dosanjh is a former NDP premier of British Columbia and a former federal Liberal health minister. He represented Vancouver-Kensington in the B.C. legislature from 1991 to 2001 and represented Vancouver South in Parliament from 2004 to 2011. You can read more of his columns on his blog.