Doyin Richards is a fatherhood author, public speaker, and founder of daddydoinwork.com. The views expressed here are his own.
A few years ago, I was thrust into the spotlight because a photo of me brushing my older daughter's hair while holding my younger daughter went viral. It sparked all sorts of controversy: Many praised me for being the kind of dad all men should be, others accused me of being a "deadbeat," and some wondered why a guy was getting attention for just doing what he's supposed to do as a dad.
The latter was my opinion on all of this. I didn't want the spotlight to only shine on me — so I used it to shine a light on all dads who step up for their kids. It was my way of saying, "Hey, I'm not the only guy doing this. There are millions of men just like me."
But, as Donald Trump's campaign rolls on, and I read more and more of his own statements about how he's raised his kids, I can't help but wonder: Is he one of them?
First of all, call me crazy, but I’m one of those people who believe America is already great. If you disagree with that, how far back do we have to go to make “America great again,” exactly? Back when Blacks were enslaved? When the Japanese were placed in internment camps? When women couldn’t vote? When the LGBTQ community couldn’t get legally married?
I could go on about the ridiculously long laundry list of reasons why I believe Trump is completely unfit to be the most powerful individual in America. But let’s talk about an underreported topic.
Writing about men who raise children is my fast lane. Trump certainly has experience in the fatherhood department. He has five kids with three different women. And on a side note — could you imagine what it would be like if Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama had five kids with three different spouses? The narrative would be a lot different from the non-narrative Trump benefits from, but we won’t go there.
As the “dad guy” in the room, I find myself picturing Trump as a father. On the surface, his four adult kids seem to be quite successful today, and they all publicly profess their love for their old man, so does any of it really matter?
Um, yeah. He’s in the running to be our president, and with that comes the understanding that millions of people will look up to him — including impressionable young men and women who will become parents someday.
So, how did Trump feel about fatherhood when his kids were babies?
In various radio interviews uncovered from BuzzFeed starting in 2005, Trump equated men who change diapers and engage in hands-on parenting as acting “like the wife.” He also said that he just would “supply funds” while his third wife Melania did the rest.
During a recent Virginia rally, he lost his cool when a baby cried in the audience, and asked the mom to leave. Isn’t the first lesson in Running For Office 101 to kiss and take photos with babies, not to throw them out of the building if they fuss when you’re talking? Seriously, do you even do “decent human,” bro?
I hate to break it to you, but in the modern universe, dads change diapers; we style hair; we sing lullabies to our kids; we comfort our kids in the middle of the night; we know how to handle crying babies; we have tea parties with our daughters; and we do whatever the hell they need us to do.
Being a rich guy who believes your only fatherhood responsibility is providing money doesn’t make you a great dad. It makes you a walking ATM. And here’s another thing — babies and toddlers don’t give a damn about your “funds.” They only care about being loved, comforted, fed, and entertained. When they looked to you to do that, did you step up like a man should? Probably not, because in your prehistoric world, that’s acting “like the wife.”
I’m speaking for many men when I say that there is nothing manlier than being a great dad. Hell, you could watch The Godfather on repeat while drinking moonshine in a bathtub filled with gasoline and you wouldn’t be more of a man than a dad who braids his daughter’s hair. In fact, if a man chooses to have children, it will be the most important job he will ever have — including being president of the United States. Just ask President Obama.
When it’s your time to die, what do you think your kids will say about you? Will they reflect on the times you took them to the playground? Helped them with homework? Or taught them how to ride a bike? Because when we’re on the other side of the grass, those bonding moments are things dads are remembered for — not our money or business acumen. And guess what? The only currency needed for those activities are love and time.
I have no clue what will happen in November, but I find myself wondering, In what universe does it make sense to elect a man who has offended pretty much everyone under the sun — including men who take fatherhood seriously and the people who love them?
So, Mr. Trump, instead of worrying about fixing this great country, maybe you should start by trying to fix the broken man in your gold-plated mirror first.