KOKOMO – Dear Mr. President, my wish for you for this coming Christmas is that Santa Claus comes down the chimney at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and brings you a gift that you desperately need, the gift of discretion.  

You have taken a presidency that by most contemporary yardsticks would be measured as successful and turned it into a combination of a circus sideshow and a Paris Hilton slumber party. Your personal mannerisms, disregard for simple truths, mistreatment of people, abusive tweets and public braggadocio have become an embarrassment that have weakened your presidency, affected our international reputation and jeopardized your continued tenure in office.

I have hesitated to write these words for months, but I just can’t be silent any longer. The last time that I spoke my mind in regard to your words and conduct, things didn’t go very well. It was April 2016, and several fellow Hoosier Republicans publicly expressed our lack of appreciation for your conduct.  

For my part, I had the temerity to tell Politico.com, when asked whether I could see myself voting for you, that I supposed that if you were running against Satan, then I might be able to support you. Several hundred nasty emails and telephone calls later, I came to the realization that your core supporters love your abusive tactics and are willing to dish out their own brand of nastiness to anyone who dares to challenge you.

Well, the fact of the matter was that I was true to my word. I saw your 2016 Democratic opponent as a political Satan and I supported and voted for you.  I attended your inauguration and was proud when you took your oath. I truly hoped that you would make America great again.

You have done some excellent things in your first two years in office. Your tax reforms were superb and have done much to improve the lives of the middle class, stimulate the economy and make our corporations more competitive with the rest of the world. Your willingness to tackle tough trade problems is commendable and will prove to benefit the American worker. You have worked to make our military stronger. You have cut reams of bureaucratic red tape and regulations to improve American competitiveness. Your Supreme Court appointments have been excellent and you have done an excellent job of working with the U. S. Senate to fill the hundreds of lower court vacancies with qualified judges. 

In short, when asked by political friends to grade your performance, I give you a B+ in policy. Unfortunately, I also give you a D in citizenship.

Unfortunately for you, Mr. President, your mother was not Mable Dunn. I brought a sixth grade report card home with all A’s in my subjects but with a D in citizenship. Mom removed me as captain of the school patrol and as a forward on the basketball team. To my mother, citizenship was everything. No excuses. Keep your hands, feet and mouth to yourself and show everyone respect, every day. It was a hard lesson to learn, but it was a lesson I needed to be taught.

Who is it that teaches the president of the United States a needed lesson? Your opponents have tried and failed. The media has tried and failed. Your appointees have tried and failed. That leaves just two other possibilities from whom you don’t want to learn a hard lesson: The courts and the American voter.

While I must admit to enjoying some of your barbs against Hollywood types and a few media folks, I’ve drawn the line at you disparaging a large number of excellent men and women. To refresh your memory, here’s some of what you’ve said about some of our nation’s best:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions: “Doesn’t understand what is happening underneath his command position” ... “so look into all of the corruption on the “other side” ... “Come on Jeff” ... “So unfair Jeff, Double Standard” ... “didn’t tell me he was going to recuse himself ... I would have quickly picked someone else. So much time and money wasted, so many lives ruined” ... “VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes.”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “An incompetent judge!” ... “has embarrassed all by making very dumb political statements about me”... “Her mind is shot” ... “resign!”

Sen. Lindsay Graham: “Publicity seeking”… “falsely stated that I said there is moral equivalency between the KKK, neo-Nazis & white supremacists” ... “a disgusting lie” ... “just can’t forget his election trouncing” ... “always looking to start World War III” ... “sadly weak on immigration” … “Really sad” … “failed presidential candidate” ... “no honor!” ... “I ran him out of the race like a little boy” … “in the end he had no support” ... “ALL TALK AND NO ACTION!” ... “Failed presidential candidate” ... “should respect me” ... “nasty!” ... “dumb mouthpiece” … “got zero against me - no cred!” ... “had zero in his presidential run before dropping out in disgrace” ... “embarrassed himself with his failed run for President” … “embarrasses himself with endorsement of Bush” … “so easy to beat!”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: “Didn’t have the mental capacity needed” … “dumb as a rock” ... “I couldn’t get rid of him fast enough” ... “lazy as hell” ... “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man” ... “Save your energy Rex.”

Energy Secretary Rick Perry: “Did an absolutely horrible job of securing the border” ... “should be ashamed of himself” ... “failed on the border” ... “should be forced to take an IQ test” ... “doesn’t understand what the word demagoguery means” ... “failed at the border” ... “needs a new pair of glasses.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden: “Crazy Joe” ... “trying to act like a tough guy” ... “Actually, he is weak, both mentally and physically” ... “He doesn’t know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way” ... “Don’t threaten people Joe!” ... “not very bright”

MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski: “Dumb as a rock” ... “was bleeding badly from a face-lift” ... “low I.Q.” ... “Crazy” … “crazy and very dumb” ... “had a mental breakdown while talking about me” … “crazy” ... “very insecure” ... “clown” ... “off the wall” ... “neurotic” ... “not very bright” ... “mess!” ... “has gone wild with hate.”

Former Governor Jeb Bush: “Failed presidential candidate” ... “no honor!” ... “low energy” … “just got contact lenses and got rid of the glasses. He wants to look cool, but it’s far too late” … “hypocrite” … “Just another clueless politician!” ... “has no clue” … “failed campaign” ... “How can @JebBush beat Hillary Clinton - if he can’t beat anyone else on the #GOPDebate stage with $150M?” ... “lightweight” ... “lightweight” ... “spending a fortune of special interest against me in SC” ... “desperate and sad” ... “Weak” ... “Jeb failed as Jeb” ... “gave up and enlisted Mommy and his brother” ... “Weak” ... “no chance” … “has gone nasty with lies” ... “by far the weakest of the lot.”

Former Governor John Sununu: “Dummy” ... “couldn’t get elected dog catcher” ... “forgot to mention my phenomenal biz success rate.”

Mr. President, your public comments about reputable people is something I might expect from a bunch of adolescent girls or at a longshoreman convention. It is petulant, juvenile and beneath the dignity your office.

There is a distinct political risk to your behavior. Even your friends have begun to go silent on your behalf. They are refusing to defend the indefensible. If things go bad with either Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller or the House Judiciary Committee, you will need all your friends to help you survive. We’re not talking about the 2020 election. We’re talking about finishing out the remainder of your term.

Here is my advice to you, Mr. President: Act like the leader of the most powerful nation in the world. Act like the commander-in-chief of our armed forces. Think before you speak or tweet. Check your massive ego at the door each morning. Take a Sharpie and write the word “RESPECT” in the palm of your hand. When you are challenged, look at your hand.

If you do these things and continue your policies, you will be reelected in 2020. Your competition is not the Democrats. They have no one who commands respect or a vision. Your competition and biggest roadblock to success is you. It is not too late. You can turn things around.

My test of greatness for any president of the United States is the number of children who want to grow up to be the commander-in-chief and how many parents would be proud to see their son or daughter grow up to be just like the president. If I had a young son or daughter come to me and tell me that they wanted to be just like President Trump, I would be very concerned.  

The recent death of former President George H. W. Bush and the many moving tributes to him couldn’t avoid being seen as a stark contrast to your presidency. Let’s hope you spend this Christmas season reflecting on how you want to be remembered someday. Will you be remembered as a man of honor and dignity or as a petulant child? 

Dunn is the former 4th CD and Howard County Republican chairman.