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I found Peter Leschak’s Aug. 6 commentary rating Donald Trump’s leadership abilities, based solely on his first six months in office, to be extremely shortsighted. (“My president? Yes. My leader? No.”) First, Trump came to empty the “swamp.” That just means stagnant water. What he now realizes is that Washington is really a cesspool. He’s trying to work with incompetent Republicans while fighting corrupt Democrats. Let’s reserve judgment until the end of his first term. Right now, he’s operating with both feet tied together and one arm tied behind his back. Try leading a firefighting crew under those conditions. Against all this, he’s still making good on his campaign promises to create jobs, fix health care, lower taxes and secure the borders. And, he has 100 percent support from the people who voted for him.

Meanwhile, let’s give him credit for creating a multibillion-dollar construction business that is highly respected around the world. He has standing offers to build complexes because his projects are world-class, are done on time, and come in on or under budget. And any bank will gladly finance his projects. Also, let’s not forget that a number of his project leaders have been, and are female.

Richard Swanson, Eden Prairie

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Leschak offers a thorough and critical analysis of Trump’s leadership. I, along with many others, will read his takedown of Trump and nod in approval. But how is Trump viewed by our fellow citizens?

One of the most important aspects of a leader’s role is the ability to inspire confidence. The latest Quinnipiac poll shows Trump’s overall approval is down to 33 percent. A significant majority of respondents held negative views regarding his honesty and levelheadedness.

They also felt he was abusing his powers and believed he was above the law. These citizens did not believe that Trump demonstrated good leadership skills and were embarrassed to have him as president.

Trump dismisses negative poll results as inaccurate, irrelevant, and biased by liberal media and pollsters. His protestations, however, cannot alter the truth. Poll numbers are facts that offer a stubborn reality. Trump does not possess the inclination or ability to inspire confidence in any group other than his minority cadre of supporters. We must respect the office of the presidency, but the person in the office must earn our respect. Trump is the president of all citizens but the leader of fewer of us every day.

Phil George, Lakeville

‘POLITICAL PORN’

Column shows Tice indeed fails to grasp humor vs. vulgarity

I will admit I have not yet read U.S. Al Franken’s new book, but I’m sure it contains more interesting passages than the profane one that D.J. Tice obsesses over in his Aug. 6 column (“Franken’s book reminds that political porn didn’t just start with ‘the Mooch’ ”). To compare Franken to former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci is utterly laughable. Franken said his profanity as part of his job as a comedian; Scaramucci uses it in his daily conversations. They are two completely different things. Mr. Tice, Mr. Franken was playing a role at the time. Perhaps it needs to be explained to you that Jack Nicholson isn’t really a maniacal madman and Anthony Hopkins doesn’t actually eat people’s faces.

David Frederick, Coon Rapids

FOXCONN SUBSIDIES

‘Opportunity cost’ is a concept that warrants more attention

In his Aug. 6 column “Foxconn study fails to show its math,” Lee Schafer relayed a comment from University of St. Thomas Prof. John Spry: “Our lawmakers, if they ever hear of an economic impact study, they should just recoil in fear.” They should fear overlooking an economic concept called “opportunity cost.” That means spending money one way costs the opportunity to spend it a different way. Foxconn will get $3 billion from Wisconsin’s taxpayers to build a manufacturing plant. How else could that money be spent? Is a lot of it an impending waste? Another way to phrase that question: Are the huge subsidies negotiated by Foxconn a sly con?

Jim Bartos, Brooklyn Park

‘COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION’

Understanding is needed for the quandaries of leadership

“The court of public opinion: A little goodwill can go a long way” (Aug. 6) was a thought-provoking essay on the perils of public incivility and the disturbing trend toward passing moral judgment on those who fail to act as we wish or align with our political affiliations. One thing that leapt from the page was the reference to the shootings of Philando Castile and Justine Ruszczyk Damond, opening an awkward topic that the public needs to understand.

Organizational leaders, whether in the private sector or public, are human beings with feelings and opinions. In many cases when a major incident or scandal involves their organization, those in leadership are not free to express their full opinion on the matter at hand and are reduced to cautious, vague and generic media statements. This is not due to a lack of personal conviction or integrity. It is based on leaders’ duty to protect their employers from unnecessary exposure to civil liability and the sometimes knee-buckling financial penalties it can generate.

A single ill-considered phrase from a chief executive could be interpreted as an admission of guilt or liability and result in untold millions of dollars of civil judgment. In the case of a public official such as a police chief or mayor, the ultimate source of those millions is you, the taxpayer. Indulging themselves in a reckless exercise of self-expression at a critical time would not only be unprofessional, but grossly irresponsible in the performance of their duties. As Shakespeare once said, “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” ’Tis true …

Thomas Rice, Andover

The writer is a retired Minneapolis police lieutenant.

BEARS EARS NATIONAL MONUMENT

Not that beauty doesn’t matter, but there are other considerations

The latest installment regarding Bears Ears (“A fight over Utah’s ‘gorgeous’ Bears Ears National Monument,” Aug. 6) describes the beauty of the area. Not mentioned are the significant potash and uranium deposits contained within the 1.35-million-acre designated monument. Also given no mention is the fact that the U.S. is a massive net importer of both potash (a key ingredient in fertilizer) and uranium — for which 90-plus percent of domestic consumption of both materials is provided by imports.

As in the case of most other presidential monument designations since 1990, the Bears Ears decision was inspired, in part, by a desire to block raw materials extraction — in this case of energy and nonfuels minerals development. And, as in most recent monument designations, zero consideration was given to potential impacts elsewhere of not developing our domestic resources. What, for example, are the impacts to water, air, scenic beauty, human health and other environmental factors in those countries providing potash and uranium to the U.S.? Such questions were never on the table. It would appear that we simply don’t care.

Might it be possible to protect the historic and scenic amenities of Bears Ears by setting aside less than 2,109 square miles? Might it also be possible to at the same time accept greater responsibility for our own consumption? The possibilities are worth considering.

Jim L. Bowyer, North Oaks

The writer is an environmental consultant, a professor emeritus in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering at the University of Minnesota, and the author of “The Irresponsible Pursuit of Paradise.”