Dear President Trump,
Let me first say that I have overwhelming admiration and respect for you. When my sister and I were kids, we watched and loved your show “The Apprentice.” In the summer of 2015, I admired your quick rise to the head of the pack in the Republican primaries. I cheered you on when you had the guts to tell Jeb Bush that his brother was a terrible president, so bad in fact that he had caused Barack Obama’s win. When the Virginia primary rolled around, I proudly voted for you. By the summer of 2016, I was knocking on doors for you in the sweltering summer heat of Virginia. For the last six weeks of the campaign, I took a leave of absence from my job and a pay cut to knock on doors full time for you.
Election night 2016 was the happiest political event of my life. You crushed most every political and cultural force I detest: neocons, cultural Marxists, nanny statists, religious busybodies, racial pressure groups, the entrenched establishment of both political parties, and the anti-American media. Tens of millions of citizens had waited a long long time for someone strong enough, tough enough, brave enough, smart enough—and most importantly—moral enough to stand up to those forces, fight them, and win. Some folks had literally waited their entire lives for you.
Politics, like business, is about winning—something you understand completely. And you won where countless others lost: Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo, Gary Hart, Ross Perot, and many others who lost so badly, their names aren’t even worth mentioning. Tens of millions of us will always love you just for having won. You have shown that anything is possible, and that even cultural and political enemies that seem invincible can be defeated. Until you came along, many of us had glumly concluded our enemies in government, Hollywood, and the universities had permanently won. No matter what happens next, your electoral victory will always be a bright star for us middle Americans, a symbol of unrelenting defiance against impossible odds.
But I’m writing to you because you can be more than a symbol of defiance. You can be the harbinger of a new era of American greatness. And as you know, martyrs are good, but victors are better.
I know countless people are giving you countless pieces of contradictory advice on a countless number of issues, so I’ll keep my advice short and simple: You should completely withdraw all American forces from Afghanistan as quickly as possible.
We invaded Afghanistan to take out the Taliban and kill terrorists linked with Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. That was in October of 2001, over fifteen years ago. American hero Robert O’Neill shot and killed Osama bin Laden in May of 2011. That was over five years ago. Since we first set foot in that country, 3,532 Americans have been killed there. That’s more than died in the 9/11 attacks. And don’t forget the tens of thousands of Americans who have been maimed there.
Why should more Americans die in this faraway country? What do Americans at home gain from the deaths of Americans in Afghanistan? We aren’t going to turn that country into a happy prosperous democracy. We have been trying that for over a decade and a half and it hasn’t happened. If it was going to happen, it would have by now. Even if it did become a prosperous democracy, why should Americans care? Consider all the countries in the world that aren’t democracies, and then ask yourself how many Americans you would be willing to sacrifice to make one a democracy? How many American deaths would be worth democratizing Pakistan? Venezuela? The Congo? China? Laos? Belarus?
I hope your answer for each and every one of those countries is “zero.” President Trump, you put America first, as you should, and as your supporters do. I want other countries to mind their own business and not meddle in our affairs, and we should extend the same courtesy, following the Golden Rule.
And what about terrorism? We can kill terrorists easily without risking American lives. You have already done this. We can bomb them with our planes, we can launch missiles from our ships, and we can send drones. All of this uses technology our terrorist enemies can only dream of, and keeps Americans out of harm’s way.
America, and Americans, should come first. Once the border is secured, the schools are fixed, our infrastructure revamped, the drug crisis resolved, and unemployment managed, maybe we can think about fixing other countries. Until then, America first. The only folks who disagree with that are people who don’t love America very much—and those people hate you, and at best just don’t care about people like me.
American families shouldn’t be losing their loved ones to an unending war in a distant country. Why should a three-year-old child in Ohio never be able to see her dad again because he got blown up in a Muslim nation best known for growing opium? Why should a 22-year-old girl in Georgia never see her fiance again because he was shot in a mountain range she can’t pronounce? Why should I have to worry about my own cousins dying halfway across the planet just because they wanted money for school?
President Trump, you love Americans too much to let these sorts of things happen. You love America more than America’s last three presidents combined. I was at your new hotel in Washington D.C. during your now famous “birther” remarks. I saw you name and honor a woman whose husband died in one of our recent wars. You had everyone in the audience show her respect and empathy. You should honor her further by doing what is necessary to make sure no more Americans have to go through what she has.
President Trump, you didn’t raise your sons to be soldiers. You raised them to be hard workers, original thinkers, and entrepreneurs. That’s how most Americans raise their sons, and for good reason.
You have had a rough start to your presidency. Your enemies are constantly on the offensive. Congress won’t work with you, and the courts do all they can to block you. It is a terrible situation, and even some of your supporters are losing faith in you. But there is something you can do unilaterally, that will put America first, raise your favorability ratings, and put you down in the history books as the president who ended a war that had run too long and proved too wasteful. All you have to do is give the order, and bring America home.
With great respect and admiration,
Martin Rojas was a turf coordinator in Virginia during the 2016 election.