Whatever else might be said about the job performance of Donald Trump, no one can deny that he has been the most activist president since Lyndon Johnson. More than fifty years ago, he pushed through Congress the most important civil rights legislation since the Civil War. Johnson also reshaped our healthcare system by introducing Medicare and Medicaid. And finally, he got us mired in a disastrous war in Vietnam.
Trump Mishandling The Three Greatest Challenges
While President Trump, who has no memorable accomplishments, will go down in history for badly mishandling perhaps the three greatest challenges our nation faced since the 1960s – the coronavirus, the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression, and the widespread outcry against the brutal treatment of African Americans at the hands of the police.
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Just during the last couple of weeks, the words and actions of the president have amply demonstrated his monumental unfitness and his utter depravity. And yet, this short period is representative of his entire presidential tenure.
First, let’s consider the president’s reactions to the nationwide protests against alleged police brutality against African Americans, which culminated in the death of George Floyd by four Minneapolis police officers. Were this an isolated incident, then one might argue that perhaps these protests were an overreaction.
The protest organizers, Black Lives Matter, has demanded that blacks be extended the same treatment that allegedly whites receive from the police. But President Trump has labelled them “a hate organization.” Yeah, they hate to see African Americans killed by the police – especially those already in police custody.
When asked a few days ago by a reporter about the killing of black people by the police, the president had a ready answer. “So are white people.”” Yeah, right! A great follow-up question might have been, “How many of those whites’ last words were, “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!”?
Reviving The Economy
Let’s move on now to the president’s plan to revive our economy. His administration has reasoned correctly that the coronavirus has caused the deep recession, so we need to take strong measures to foster a strong economic expansion. For the last couple of months, Trump has encouraged the reopening of the economy and getting most of the tens of millions of unemployed American back to work.
Its latest initiative – which has proven to be extremely controversial -- is to reopen all the public schools beginning in late August. And to give them a nice incentive to reopen, the president has proposed withholding federal aid from those that don’t.
These measures were perfectly logical to the president. With their children safely at school, parents could now go back to work. It was a win-win situation.
But there was absolutely no thought given to how reopening the schools would affect the health of the children, their teachers, and other school employees. Surely this would cause the virus to spread even faster. The only question was – how much faster?
Now let’s consider how the Trump administration is dealing with the virus. In recent days, it revealed a two-pronged approach, the first of which was to demonize Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading authority on infectious diseases.
A group of Trump administration lackeys prepared and circulated a list of statements that Fauci made back in late winter about the potential spread of the pandemic in the United States. This list would prove that he was often wrong.
OK, so far so good. But what was the point of compiling that list now? And why not also compile a much longer list of all the president’s inaccurate predictions of the spread of the virus?
A Second Coronavirus Initiative
A second coronavirus initiative was an order that went out a couple of days ago to the nation’s hospitals to send all virus-related data – such as test given, new cases, and deaths – to the Department of Health and Human Services – which is controlled by the Trump instead of to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – which is not directly controlled by the president.
That’s it! That’s all our president is now doing to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Oh yeah! A few days ago, the president was photographed wearing a facemask!
Trump’s recent handling of these three challenges is emblematic of his presidency. Over the next three and a half months, he will desperately attack his Democratic presidential rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. And he will continue to cast about trying to reinvent his image.
But it’s getting too late to still change many hearts and minds. Trump will lose on November 3rd. The only question is: By how much?