President Donald Trump speaks about the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump speaks about the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (Evan Vucci/AP)

As an American, physician, Jew and a victim of a violent crime, I decry the vitriol that President Donald Trump employs against fellow Americans and the communities they represent (“The pitiful day a U.S. president used a political rally to mock Baltimore’s homicide rate,” Aug. 2). He has given new meaning to the term bully pulpit. Such damaging words are turning us into the “Divided States of America.”

In my faith tradition, many laws dictate the use of speech. It recognizes the power words have to build up and tear down, to give life and to even, God forbid, take life away. In the chilling blood bath we have seen this week, I implore the president to re-examine his use of speech. I truly believe that the anger-filled and not so subtle hate-filled messages employed to denigrate minorities have contributed to murderous behavior of hate-filled citizens.

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I cannot understand why the leadership of Mr. Trump’s own party, and the religious leaders who support him, do not come out against the language and actions that are beneath the office of the president. The president is supposed to be the commander-in-chief, not the bully-in-chief.

Dr. Stuart R. Varon

The writer is a fellow with the American Psychiatric Association.

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