I was encouraged to stay away from this topic, but I simply cannot. I cannot because what Mr. Donald Trump has been doing with respect to President Barack Obama and this so-called "Birther" issue, is not only wrong — it is a prima–facie example of Fear-Based Leadership. I know a little about the topic.
Put aside the fact that no sitting American President has ever been questioned about his "true birth," and now being questioned about his basic educational background, like you somehow become President of the United States by wandering down to the local market and filling out a one-page job application or something. I am merely a Presidential Appointee, and the process I went through, over months and months, with the FBI and Secret Service alone, was exhaustive and unparalleled to anything else I have ever done or gone through. You just don't wander into the White House sir. And we are not just talking about a Presidential Appointee, but the President of the United States here.
But let's put that aside here, as this is not my true issue. I will deal with this personal and petty slight of the President, and by extension our great nation, in my own personal way; by not giving Mr. Donald Trump not one more dollar out of my pocket, nor any pocket associated with me.
Wish him well, but his business will not grow based on my financial encouragement.
The real issue here, is that Donald Trump is sadly, consciously or unconsciously, just peddling the worst version of fear we could imagine.
He used his once impressive business resume, brand and image to advance an issue which needlessly fans the flame of race and racism in this country, and gives cover to others who do not mean well. Donald Trump, no different than those credible business interests during the run up to the Hitler regime during World War II, used his brand to give cover to fear. It is a dangerous game, and while many did not take Mr. Trump seriously, I did. Still do.
The real issue here, is that Donald Trump spoke directly to what I describe in my book Love Leadership as fear-based leadership. He did this by focusing almost exclusively on what he "was against," and not on what he "was for."
And then Donald Trump lost almost complete credibility with me, when he railed against the President, which is fine, but had no cogent or rational plan or answers himself to our challenges.
Donald Trump spoke repeatedly of wholly non-issues, such as the "Birther" issue, while the President was dealing with overwhelming and life-changing decisions in the White House.
Looking back, it seems ironic that we can now, today, answer the question that Donald Trump tossed out casually to the President in recent days and weeks. Donald Trump asked, "why won't you simply release your long-form birth certificate Mr. President?" Why, because he was in meetings planning for the defeat of one Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan, Mr. Trump.
The President was a little busy, focused on what he and we "were for."
Criticism is an easy and cheap sport and you are better than this Mr. Trump. You are smarter than this Mr. Trump. It is time a for a little re-education sir, as you have flunked this particular matriculation exam. If you are not careful, you will begin feeling the impact of same in your pocket.
Love wins, and fear fails. I guarantee you sir.
John Hope Bryant is founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE, bestselling author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), and a member of the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability for President Barack Obama