Michael Reagan / Jan. 15, 2021

Time for Trump and Biden to Suck It Up

President Trump can do what Ronald Reagan did during his greatest political crisis, Iran-Contra.

Everyone should be outraged at Democrats and Republicans for the damage they’ve done to the country during the last year.

But right now, as the country is split into two angry red and blue camps, everyone should be even madder at the way President Trump and President-elect Joe Biden have been behaving.

As the two leaders of a nation of 331 million, they are supposed to be leading. But instead they are still fighting like little kids in a schoolyard.

The inauguration isn’t until Wednesday. But Trump and Biden still have time to do something important for the good of the country.

President Trump can do what Ronald Reagan did during his greatest political crisis, Iran-Contra.

My father was spending so much time defending himself over what he did or did not do in that scandal that he couldn’t get anything else done. He was even threatened with impeachment.

So what he finally did was suck it up, give an address to the country and accept responsibility. Basically, he said, “It happened on my watch. I’m guilty and I’m sorry.”

Then he went back to work on ending the Cold War.

Trump and Biden should go before the country — together, from the White House — to deliver their dueling mea culpas.

President Trump should say something like, “The violent and shameful attack on the U.S. Capitol last week by my supporters was abhorrent.

"It was not what I wanted or intended to incite, but I’m the president. I’m responsible. I should have done better and I’m deeply sorry for what happened.”

Meanwhile, Joe Biden should say something like this to the whole country:

“You know what, I’m sorry for the names I’ve called the president and his supporters, who are not deplorables or white supremacists, but good Americans.”

Biden should also say something statesmanlike, such as, “I hope Nancy Pelosi and my fellow Democrats in Congress will shut down their attempt to impeach President Trump again.

"Instead of seeking partisan political vengeance, they should concentrate on working with Republicans to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, get the economy back to where it was at the end of 2019 and heal the country’s deep political wounds.”

Trump and Biden still have time to do some symbolic but important things to cool the country’s political fever and make this year’s transition of presidential power kinder, gentler and in keeping with our traditions.

President Trump needs to bury his many personal and political hatchets, swallow his ego and invite the incoming president and his wife to the White House, as previous presidents have done.

Jimmy Carter thought my dad cheated to win in 1980. But he and his first lady still asked him and Nancy to the White House for coffee and a tour. And the Reagans came.

For his part, president-elect Biden should take the high road and publicly invite Trump to the inauguration — and Trump should accept.

Cynics will say doing these things would be a bunch of cheap political publicity stunts.

They’ll say that no matter how much pretend kissy-face the Bidens and Trumps engage in, the country’s politics and culture will remain hopelessly split into two warring tribes that hate each other.

Four years of Nancy Pelosi’s hatred of Trump and the hatred of Trump’s 75 million voters for Pelosi and her gang will not evaporate because of a few scenes of Trump and Biden shaking hands and smiling at each other.

That’s true. But for any healing to occur, even a little bit, the guys at the top have to be the first to suck it up and show the rest of us the way.

It’s time to start thinking about what we can do to bring the country together.

As my dad once said to Tip O'Neill, “You know we’re a great country with great people. Together we can make it better for all. Apart we can’t make it better for anybody.”

Copyright 2021 Michael Reagan

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