Columnist explains why Trump needs to be treated like a child

Columnist explains why Trump needs to be treated like a child
President Donald J. Trump talks with members of the press on the South Lawn of the White House Wednesday, July 17, 2019, prior to boarding Marine One to begin his trip to North Carolina. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Countless pundits have compared President Donald Trump's refusal to accept the 2020 presidential elections to the temper tantrums of a spoiled child. Washington Post opinion columnist Kate Cohen, however, believes that comparing Trump's post-election behavior to a child's temper tantrums "underestimates the damage he has done and could still do." But Cohen goes on to say that if a Trump/spoiled brat analogy is going to be used, it is important that Trump's childish behavior not be rewarded.

"Thinking of this problem in terms of parenting might be useful as we struggle to solve it," Cohen writes. "The first thing, of course, is not to give in. As a parent, you simply cannot reward your child when he whines for an extra cookie, a later bedtime, another Georgia ballot recount."

According to Cohen, indulging Trump's temper tantrums "would teach him that sort of behavior works." And she is glad to see that some people aren't indulging him.

"State election officials, even Republican ones, have maintained their composure under Trump's assault, and the Biden transition team has gone about its work," Cohen explains. "Two weeks ago, the General Services Administration finally allowed the official transition to begin. As of today, every state has certified its vote but three — two of which Biden won. And even without them, (President-elect Joe Biden) has enough pledged electors to become president."

Cohen adds, however, that Trump's "misbehavior hasn't stopped" — and for that reason, she recommends a "change in tactics" and stricter punishments for those who encourage his bad behavior.

"As every good parent eventually learns, it's not enough to ignore the misbehavior — and it's not enough to refuse to reward it," Cohen explains. "You have to punish it. Or it will never stop. In our house, that meant putting whichever child was trying to overturn a free and fair election into a room by himself. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) has called for disbarment of Rudolph W. Giuliani and 22 other members of Trump's legal enablers team. But what to do with the 74-year-old child himself? Clearly, someone's got to take away his phone. The only question is, which parent has to play the heavy while the other pretends to be deeply absorbed in washing the dishes?"

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