Opinion | Does It Matter What Trump Really Believes?

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To the Editor:

Re “Trump, in Shadow of Capitol, Issues a Not Guilty Plea” (front page, Aug. 4):

So, Donald Trump pleads not guilty to fraud and obstruction charges that resulted in violence, death and utter chaos on Jan. 6.

He truly doesn’t know what guilt means. Nor responsibility. Nor having an honest reckoning with himself over the conduct he chose leading up to and on that infamous day. He knows only lies, blaming others and outrage.

These are not traits that serve a president of a local board, never mind a chief executive of a large and complex nation battling sophisticated economic, diplomatic and social problems crying out to be addressed.

I hope we never again have enough citizens who fall for a presidential candidate with these major character deficiencies.

Amy Knitzer
Montclair, N.J.

To the Editor:

Re “The Trial America Needs,” by David French (column, nytimes.com, Aug. 1):

For the life of me I just cannot understand why prosecutors must prove that Donald Trump knew he was lying when he claimed he won the election.

How can refusing to see the truth be a valid defense for his actions? In law school I learned about the “reasonable person” standard for determining liability in a number of circumstances. If a reasonable president would have known that he lost an election in view of the overwhelming evidence, shouldn’t this former president be imputed with this knowledge whether he believed it or not?

Refusing to acknowledge facts is not reasonable. He can’t be allowed to use obtuseness to avoid the consequences for his actions.

Rhonda Starer
Harrington Park, N.J.

To the Editor:

Re “A President Accused of Betraying His Country” (editorial, Aug. 3):

In his final presidential debate with Hillary Clinton in 2016, Donald Trump was asked whether he would accept the result of the election if he lost. He refused to say. “I will look at it at the time,” he responded. “I will keep you in suspense.”

That the moderator, Chris Wallace, thought it necessary to pose the question should have been shocking. Mr. Trump’s unabashed contempt for democracy should have been disqualifying in the minds of enough voters to ensure he’d not be elected.

Looking back now, nobody can claim that Mr. Trump didn’t put us on notice for what we’re facing now. It is an example of how we ignore certain kinds of red flags at our own great peril.

David Sabritt

To the Editor:

Re “First Amendment Is Likely Linchpin of Trump Defense” (front page, Aug. 3):

It may make sense as a legal strategy, but as a political argument for re-election, “I have a constitutional right to lie all I want” doesn’t sound like a winner, at least to this voter.

Anna Cypra Oliver
Great Barrington, Mass.

Anti-Trump Republicans as Swing Voters

To the Editor:

Re “Trump Far Ahead in the G.O.P. Race Despite Charges” (front page, July 31):

I draw an important inference from the data in the poll described in the article: Donald Trump will lose the general election if he is the Republican nominee.

The nearly one in four G.O.P. voters who are truly anti-Trump will do what they did in 2020 and vote for the presumed Democratic nominee, Joe Biden. Those swing voters proved to be a deciding factor last time, and their numbers increase with each new indictment of the former president.

It doesn’t matter how unwavering Trump supporters are. If they want to elect a Republican president, they need to choose someone other than Mr. Trump. Nearly all the other G.O.P. candidates tiptoe around the mention of Mr. Trump to avoid alienating his base, but sycophancy won’t sway his followers.

A more effective (and pragmatic) approach would be to repeatedly argue that swing voters, a.k.a. moderate Republicans, will hand this election to the Democrats if Mr. Trump is the nominee.

Jana Happel
New York

Racial Disparities in the Swimming Pool

To the Editor:

Re “Why We Need More Public Pools,” by Mara Gay (Opinion, July 30):

Kudos to Ms. Gay for highlighting an important public health disparity and drowning crisis. The disproportionately high rates of drowning among Black and brown people should be unacceptable and widely recognized as a safety and public health priority.

The racist policies discussed by Ms. Gay that limit resources for access to swimming opportunities contribute to the wide disparities in swimming ability and water safety.

More inclusive access to competitive swimming is also important to provide swimming role models. The reversal in 2022 of the ban on the Soul Cap for Black hair by the International Swimming Federation (FINA) shows that policy change can occur through public campaigns.

A much greater national public health campaign can help ensure that not only are water safety and swimming training made widely available but also that the physical and mental health benefits of swimming are widely understood and enjoyed by all, especially as the climate heats and relief is needed.

Adrienne Wald
High Falls, N.Y.
The writer is an associate professor of nursing at Mercy College, specializing in public health and health promotion, and an avid swimmer.

Multitask? Maybe.

To the Editor:

“Today’s Superpower Is Doing One Thing at a Time,” by Oliver Burkeman (Opinion guest essay, July 30), hit a chord in me. Mostly, because I desperately want to stop multitasking, but I simply cannot: I am a mother.

Mr. Burkeman’s article is written from such a place of privilege — white, male and well off — that it began to sicken me that he was imploring the rest of us to stop multitasking. In fact, I reread the article, searching for any quotes he might have from a woman, but indeed, all his sources were men.

In other words, not multitasking is a privilege that very few of us can afford.

Melissa Morgenlander

To the Editor:

I began reading Oliver Burkeman’s essay using the newspaper as a kind of readable place mat on which I enjoyed my Sunday lunch. I made it just past the second paragraph when I closed and removed the paper, carrying on with lunch atop the bare table.

I felt empowered but haven’t managed to get to the rest of the piece since then.

Pablo Monsivais
Spokane, Wash.

A Dog’s Behavior

To the Editor:

Re “The Stressed-Out Life of a Biter in Chief,” by Alexandra Horowitz (Opinion guest essay, Aug. 3):

Thank you for publishing this piece about dog behavior, specifically biting.

I am one of the many who don’t like dogs. In fact, I fear them. The reason? Every dog that has ever jumped on me, growled at me or attempted to bite me did so immediately after its human companion told me that the dog is friendly and safe to be around, followed by dismay and surprise that their dog would do such a thing.

It is helpful to know more about the myriad reasons that dogs bite, even if it doesn’t assuage my fear of them.

Lisa M. Feldstein
New York

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