Trump’s Thin Skin vs. Biden’s Need for “Skin in the Game”: A Call for Gravitas

Mark Goulston
3 min readJun 6, 2023

In the tumultuous landscape of American politics, the stark contrast between the thin-skinned nature of former President Donald Trump and the need for a leader with “skin in the game” has become increasingly evident. Trump’s susceptibility to even the slightest criticism often overshadowed substantive policy discussions and made constructive dialogue impossible.

President Joe Biden has the opportunity to counterbalance this with a demonstration of gravitas by setting an example of selfless and unwavering commitment to the needs of the American people. By declaring a non-negotiable priority, Biden can guide the nation towards a more inclusive and harmonious future, where anger gives way to meaningful conversation and understanding.

The Trump Factor: Thin Skin and Political Discord

Throughout his presidency, Trump’s responses to criticism were characterized by defensiveness, retaliation, and a pervasive thin-skinned demeanor. Whether it was a negative news report, a satirical sketch, or a fellow politician’s dissenting opinion, Trump often allowed himself to be consumed by personal attacks, shifting the focus away from substantial policy matters. This thin-skinned disposition created an environment that hindered productive discourse and exacerbated the divisions within the country.

The Need for Gravitas and “Skin in the Game”

In stark contrast, President Biden has the chance to embody gravitas and demonstrate true leadership. By showcasing a steadfast commitment to a notion such as “Make Americans Respectful Again” (MARA), Biden can inspire the American people to rise above the pettiness of personal attacks and focus on the critical issues that demand our attention. One such priority could be an unwavering dedication to putting an end to the anger and animosity that has gripped the nation. Biden could emphasize the importance and absolute necessity of respectful dialogue. As former Prime Minister of India Indra Gandhi said, “You can’t shake hands with a clenched fist.”

A Commitment to Constructive Conversations

If re-elected for a second and final term, Biden can leverage his position to foster an environment where Americans feel heard and understood, without resorting to anger and worse, rage, as a means of expression. This approach acknowledges the legitimate frustrations, disappointments, and concerns of the people, while channeling their energy towards constructive avenues for change. By championing this cause, Biden would unite a tired and exhausted America, offering a beacon of hope in a deeply divided society.

Effective Communication and Engagement

To encourage open dialogue and understanding, President Biden must prioritize effective and respectful communication among and between the American people. By utilizing various platforms and engaging with citizens from diverse backgrounds, he can bridge the gaps between factions and facilitate genuine conversations. This approach would not only demonstrate his commitment to finding common ground but also provide a platform for people to express their concerns in a constructive manner.

The contrast between the thin-skinned nature of Donald Trump and the need for “skin in the game” in Joe Biden is testament to the importance of leadership and gravitas and the hunger from Americans for both.

By serving a second and final term as President, Biden can go all in to counterbalance dissension and promote a culture of meaningful dialogue. By fully committing, promising and pledging to end destructive anger and encouraging respectful communication, he can help heal the wounds of a divided nation and guide us towards a future where differences are addressed with understanding and empathy and at the very least, mutual respect. It is time for America to move beyond the clutches of anger, and it is incumbent upon our leaders to show us the way.

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Mark Goulston

Dr. Goulston is the world's #1 listening coach and author of "Just Listen" which became the top book on listening in the world