Skip Navigation
The Washington Post

Dear Mr. Trump

Ahead of the new president’s inauguration, we asked readers to offer him advice and share what they hope to see accomplished in his administration.


1 of 26

Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead. Do what’s right for the country, and the politicians will fall away. I am on Obamacare and hate it, but be smart when you replace it. Make America great again.

John Nowak

57 years old • Charlotte

2 of 26

Dear President-elect Trump: First, I would like to thank you. This past presidential race instilled in me a love for politics and the media. I’m planning to study both this fall.

As a woman of color and friend to members of the LGBT community, I am frightened by your administration. Throughout my childhood, I was taught that the president is someone I can trust. After all, Americans put our faith in this person to lead the free world.

I just hope you understand what that means. The United States of America is not a business that you can drive into the ground and start over tomorrow. Our relations with other countries are not just Twitter fights that can be quickly resolved. At stake are people’s lives — more than 318 million of them in the United States, not to mention the countless others on this planet who would be affected by a war of any kind.

I couldn’t have voted for you even if I had wanted to. All I could do was hope the citizens of our great nation were thinking of the greater good. Now, that hope has been passed on to you. The greater good isn’t getting friendly with Russia or building a wall between us and Mexico. The greater good is keeping your country safe here and now.

We are putting our faith and trust in you, Mr. President-elect. Please don’t let us down.

Jacqueline Zegler

18 years old • Clifton, N.J.

3 of 26

President-elect Trump: You are about to take the most serious oath of office anyone has the privilege to take. You were not my choice, but I support and respect the office. You must show the American people that unity, security and country come before your own self-interest. You cannot be right all of the time. Do not put your country at risk through tweets, lies and conflicts of interest. Get rid of the people around you who don’t have the best interests of the American people at heart. People are terrified of your presidency. Give them peace.

Kit Keane

66 years old • Chicago

4 of 26

Dear Mr. Trump: You are assuming a huge responsibility to the people of the United States and the world. Please be careful with your words and actions so that the quality of life we now enjoy will both remain and extend to those who are disadvantaged.

In particular, please do not sign any bill that compromises the health care of our citizens, be it repeal and delay on the Affordable Care Act or, even worse, a change to Medicare that will cause financial and logistical hardships for older people and their caregivers.

I suggest you talk with ordinary citizens who will be affected by your decisions and those of the Republican-controlled Congress. Find out. You have a big heart and seem to want to protect people who are vulnerable. This could be your strength.

Please do not change tax policy in ways that overly benefit the top 10 percent and add to the deficit. Americans are not clamoring for lower taxes now; they are clamoring for improvement in their lives. To the extent that federal support is withdrawn, the states have to find the revenue, which often results in myriad nickel-and-dime tax and fee increases that provide an abrasive irritant to daily life. It’s not like the expenses to maintain civilization disappear when taxes are cut.

Lastly, I encourage you to imagine meeting St. Peter at the Pearly Gates and accounting for all of the good and the bad that you’ve done in your life. What is the best good that could come from your presidency? And what would you imagine to be your biggest regret? If you think these through now, you can act for the best.

Lee Rowen

66 years old • Seattle

5 of 26

Dear Mr. Trump, I am filled with the hope that you will show us that you are compassionate, wise, thoughtful, intelligent, caring, generous, honorable, trustworthy, even-tempered, evenhanded, kind, nice, global in perspective, concerned for the less fortunate, supportive of women’s and children’s rights and issues, aware of the potential of every person, open to ideas both agreeable and not, curious, interested and supportive of refugees from war-stricken nations, openhearted to people of all ethnicities and religions, pleased by diversity (in race, sex, geography and religion), supportive of education as the route to responsible citizenry, amazed by the beauty of our shared geographical resources and committed to saving them, and committed to our cultural and historic monuments and treasures.

Overall, I hope that you love the people of this great nation, rich and poor, healthy and sick, creative and dogmatic. All of the citizens of the United States need to be able to trust you. We need you to be strong and kind. Please don’t let us down.

With all sincerity,

Caron Thornton

69 years old • Chicago

6 of 26

Mr. Trump, it is imperative that you remain steadfast to America’s international commitments and foreign partners, especially NATO. The global system created after World War II — through the efforts of American leaders of both parties — has given us decades of economic growth and peace, which should not be trivialized or lightly dismissed.

The anxieties of the working class (white or otherwise) are real and powerful, and your campaign spoke to them in a way that no political candidate has in generations. Now is your chance to work for them and prove they were right to entrust you with the most powerful office in the world.

Remember that while creating barriers to the outside world — physical or otherwise — may bring short-term satisfaction, doing so ultimately breeds distrust, suspicion and hate, leaving all sides poorer. In that vein, America has traditionally regarded our neighbors in the Western Hemisphere as mere afterthoughts in geopolitical matters. You can enforce our immigration laws and remove undocumented criminals without alienating the (primarily democratic) nations of Latin America, particularly Mexico. By fostering closer economic, trade and cultural ties between the United States and Latin America, you can strengthen the United States while empowering the people of other countries to improve their own nations as well. Good luck. We are counting on you.

Ian Furman

34 years old • Houston

7 of 26

Mr. President-elect: Your post-election promise of bringing us all together is the one promise I hope you keep. The others — build a wall, repeal the Affordable Care Act, make Russia a friend — all can wait, as they will pull us apart, not bring us together.

Ed Kelly

75 years old • Newton, Mass.

8 of 26

President-elect Trump, you will soon be the leader of the free world. Use your time wisely to try to understand the problems in America and abroad. You are faced with addressing the health-care needs of all Americans, tax reform that is fair and that neither enriches those who have nor punishes those who have not, addressing the issue of continued gun violence, and protecting our air and water. Internationally, we face the threat of the Islamic State and international terrorism, not to mention a ruler in North Korea with a desire to attain nuclear weapons and be able to deliver them anywhere in the world, and Mideast tensions that keep the world on edge.

With all the issues facing us, I ask that you refrain from using Twitter to respond to criticism that comes your way. You need to be bigger than that! Apply yourself to the things that are important, and work to make life better for the American people and the people of the world. Do this, and you will be remembered as a great president.

James Groncki

67 years old • Annapolis

9 of 26

I want President-elect Trump to listen to and allow scientists and researchers to do their jobs, particularly as they relate to the environment. I would like to see money spent on researching “What if. . . ” questions that may hold the solutions of the future. I want Mr. Trump to know that climate change is not a hoax. It is not a partisan issue or Chinese plot. Climate change affects people of every political stripe, and we see it in the changing weather patterns, in the rapid loss of land in Louisiana, and in ever-increasing coastal flooding. (Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in southern Florida is at risk, too.) We also need to continue working giving people access to clean air and water.

These are not partisan issues. These are human issues.

Anne Hubbard

60 years old • Cambridge, Mass.

10 of 26

You were elected president of the United States, not the president of the marketing arm of Trump Inc. Start acting like it. Stop with the games, the crowd pleasing one-liners, and the fact-free tweets.

This is a monumentally important position, and I don’t think you have the skills or the desire to do the job. Prove me wrong.

Kathy Smith

58 years old • Minneapolis

11 of 26

Dear Mr. President-elect, you made tremendous promises that you would fix and grow the economy. If you follow through on those promises, all of America will be in your debt, and I will have been completely wrong about you.

You promised to protect Social Security and Medicare. You promised to protect the good parts of Obamacare. You promised to stand by hard-working Americans.

If you do all of this, I will be in your debt.

Good luck, Mr. President-elect.

Michael Sugarman

66 years old • Santa Fe, N.M.

12 of 26

Please consider the people who will be hurt by your proposed policies. Consider the women, especially poor women, who would be hurt by defunding Planned Parenthood or reversing Roe v. Wade. Planned Parenthood provides essential health-care programs for millions. Talk to providers and patients and you will see that many Republicans are disingenuous about these programs.

Also, do not repeal the Affordable Care Act. My son has three parttime jobs, has an advanced degree, and does well at his work. But he is not covered by his employers. The ACA has been a lifesaver for him, as it has for millions. There may be problems — fix them. Don’t get rid of the program and try to start from scratch. The ACA took years of study and work to develop, and it is working well for most people.

Americans will be watching what you do and expecting good things.

Barbara Finlay

71 years old • Lohn, Tex.

13 of 26

I’m praying God will give President Trump the gifts of humility, compassion and wisdom he needs for the great responsibilities he will have.

Sheila Hillberry

71 years old • Rapid City, S.D.

14 of 26

To the Honorable President-elect: Complete transparency in your global business dealings is the only way your presidency can succeed. Please release your tax returns and, particularly, the details of any relationships that you, your family or your businesses might have with Russia: both its government and any Russian lenders and investors.

Otherwise, your every move will be clouded by suspicion. Already, your strange defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin — no friend of democracy, the United States, or his own people — raises the strong suspicion that you’re hiding something. It is reasonable for American citizens to fear that you have business interests in Russia that you value more than the national security of the United States, or that Putin has information about you that he will use as leverage to affect your policies.

If you want to refute these suspicions and fears, please come clean.

Robert Honeywell

52 years old • Claverack, N.Y.

15 of 26

Dear President-elect: Congratulations. I pray for your success. The way I read your rhetoric is that you are not an ideologue. But I worry that you will allow yourself to be manipulated by the extreme right that controls Congress.

Please do not let them repeal Obamacare without a replacement. There are too many of us and our families who depend on it. Moreover, citizens have a right to know what the replacement looks like and its cost before it is chosen as a “better” plan.

Sanjay Saluja

52 years old • Falling Waters, W.Va.

16 of 26

Dear Mr. Trump: You have spent your entire life serving your own self-interest, often to the detriment of others. Now that you’ve been elected president, your job is to set aside your own self-interest and that of your family, and serve the very best interests of the American people. Do you get that? Do you know what it means to put yourself at the service of others? Are you capable of serving your country instead of yourself?

Katherine Clark

54 years old • Pensacola, Fla.

17 of 26

You have before you an opportunity for greatness, as well as an opportunity to destroy something other men, pronounced great by historians, created in the 18th century. While we are young as a nation, we have already played a pivotal role on the world stage because we are a free country and an innovative people.

Please use your turn on the world stage not to enrich yourself further but to make your mark as a creative and caring statesman. If you do not think you can do that, please step down. We live in perilous times, and we need someone at the helm who will take on, and not cater to, the special interests and the other nations that wish us ill.

If you choose to occupy the Oval Office and use it to satisfy your ego while Vice President-elect Mike Pence carries out the agenda of the Republican Party, many Americans will be very disappointed in you. Do the right thing, always.

Phyllis Bartoe

72 years old • Hilton Head Island, S.C.

18 of 26

Mr. Trump, in this order: bring us together, keep us safe, revive the economy, build the wall.

Dave Rice

57 years old • Alexandria

19 of 26

To President-elect Trump: Good luck — we all need you to succeed. Please remember that the election was actually quite close and that many people oppose some of your signature issues. Consider showing us how you can make win-win deals that benefit all Americans rather than overreaching based on a nonexistent “mandate.” Surprise us by reaching out to and working with your opposition rather than mocking them.

Noam Stopak

58 years old • Washington

20 of 26

Dear President-elect Trump: Please do not let your party completely destroy the Affordable Care Act. For the first time, many people finally have access to health care, and if you take that away because of ideology, you could wreck many people’s lives. If you are serious about health care, then work with what you have and make the necessary enhancements to improve the law. If you destroy the ACA, then you will increase the deficit, which I thought Republicans wanted to avoid. Please remember that you are supposed to be working on behalf of all the citizens of this fine country.

Hamish Hafter

65 years old • Petaluma, Calif.

21 of 26

I did not vote for you, Mr. President-elect, but I do wish you well these next four years. As a teacher, I make mistakes daily, and when the mistake involves a student, I always, always, always admit the mistake. This would be a good lesson for you and for the young people in our country. Show the nation that honesty trumps pride every time.

Mark Padrnos

57 years old • Madison, Wis.

22 of 26

Dear Mr. President-elect: The president of the United States is president for all of the American people, of all colors, religions, ages, sexes, sexual orientations, gender identities and levels of income and wealth.

My first hope for your presidency is that you will help build an America that fosters liberty for all, justice for all, opportunity for all and dignity for all. You should refrain from divisive rhetoric and demand your appointees do the same. Americans are not losers, and they are not your enemies, regardless of for whom they voted. As president, you set the example.

My second hope is that whatever you think of saying or doing, you first consider how it will affect our children and future generations. Will your policies benefit them or place an undue burden on them? They do not get to vote yet, so it is up to us adults to act for them, responsibly.

My third hope is that you will promote fairness, honesty and ethical behavior in politics and government. Many Americans are being disenfranchised directly by state laws that restrict voting or indirectly by gerrymandering that makes many elections noncompetitive. Money is poisoning our politics, leading to cynicism among Americans. Many public servants do great work and should be recognized for it, but many Americans have lost so much faith in government that the good is hard to see. Your Cabinet of billionaires and your own conflicts of interest aren’t helping in this regard. You are the leader, and it is your job to get out in front on this issue.

My fourth hope is that you will respect the role of the free press in our nation, to keep the people informed about the world they live in and about what their government is doing. The media are not all alike, and they are not perfect, but blanket condemnations of the media inhibit their necessary work.

Lawrence Burke

63 years old • Asheville, N.C.

23 of 26

President-elect Trump, I did not vote for you. I am an independent voter who has crossed party lines many times in my voting history. I consider myself a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. The lowest and the least are my brothers and sisters, and thus my problem. Decision-making for many in the best of circumstances should be difficult. Rancor, belittling and bullying should have no place in public life. Reason and reasoning with others to form a compromise of some kind that benefits a majority of our citizenry is a path of civility, in my opinion. My grandchildren are watching. My friends’ grandchildren are watching. Your grandchildren are watching. Please stop reacting and work on responding in a way that teaches them how to serve this nation.

I intend on giving you a chance. I will not give you a pass on bad behavior. God bless you in your work and God bless this nation.

Judith Klepperich

72 years old • Mendota Heights, Minn.

24 of 26

President-elect Trump: Focus on domestic policies first, specifically these four key areas:

1. Protect elderly and low-income Americans, via access to health insurance, Medicare and Social Security.

2. Repair, rebuild and expand our infrastructure, including roads, bridges, airports, shipping ports, and sewer and water systems.

3. Protect and preserve the environment, including our federal lands and parks, wildlife and habitats, oceans, rivers and streams, and lakes.

4. Learn about, build capacity for and fight against cyberattacks.

Raise taxes to achieve Nos. 1 and 2. Keep tax expenditures and privatization out of your plans.

James Riggle

65 years old • Alexandria

25 of 26

Dear President-elect Trump: I did not understand your campaign at all, but I still wish the best for your presidency because that, in turn, will be best for our country and the world.

Here is what I ask of you: study hard and form a set of beliefs that will only enhance our beautiful country. Read books. Stop tweeting. If possible, don’t watch cable television in lieu of reading history. You will have so much knowledge to call upon. Take advantage of what has happened before to make things better now. Do not take flattery as always to your benefit, and do not feel that you must always hit back when someone criticizes you. Be above the fray and be a man who does his best for all people. Throw prejudice out the window and consider all of us. Finally, don’t lie when you don’t have an answer. Instead, think, ask, study and pray to learn the best answer. Always remember that you have our country, and world, in your hands. Always think before you speak, and remember that it is not always good to have something to say about everything. Take yourself more seriously and be the man we all want you to be.

Peace to you.

Yours truly,

Linda Champa

65 years old • Woburn, Mass.

26 of 26

You are about to take the highest office in the world. Whatever you say or do, not everyone will like it. Please stop the Twitter attacks and responses toward people who don’t agree with you or who disapprove of you. These attacks are petty. Be the leader that Americans are expecting you to be.

Nancy Williamson

62 years old • Frisco, Tex.

More stories

Why I voted for Donald Trump

After the election, The Post invited readers to share why they voted for Donald Trump. We received more than 1,600 responses.

President Trump

Americans must unite in allegiance to our system of democracy.