Trump isn’t responsible for Covid. Neither is China. Nature is responsible. No matter what China or the US or the world did, some gene was going to randomly mutate and ravage humanity. Evolution is inevitable.
But Trump IS responsible for our response or lack thereof. On any measure, it has been a colossal failure. Comparing your success to what would have happened if you had done nothing, is an admission of failure. If you suck so bad that the only thing worse is doing absolutely nothing, then you prove the point that you are nearly worthless. Every time Trump compares our current outrageous death count to how many people would have died if he had done nothing…yeah think about that for a second.
Every president will face an unknown challenge. Unknown unknowns. The mark of a leader is how they might handle a no win scenario. It’s why all Starfleet captains face the Kobayashi Maru. You can’t ask their plan for something unknown, you assess their potential response in the face of uncertainty. Trump has shown that his character is woefully lacking to lead the country. Bob Woodward’s book makes the point about trust abundantly clear. Trump admitted to always minimizing bad and exaggerating good. That’s what marketing people do and why no one believes the claims they hear in a tv commercial. Yet somehow people believe Trump when he tweets and says those same ridiculous claims? 9 out of 10 skin care professionals think that Trump’s makeup use has turned him permanently orange.
If Trump took the Kobayashi Maru he would walk off the bridge and start tweeting, “Rigged!” Every challenge we see his same inability to accept responsibility, to learn, to grow, to embrace the complexity. His character is lacking, and when Covid came along and tested it, he failed. Now people are literally “dying in the streets” (the one thing he said his health plan- did he release it yet? – would prevent) and we still don’t have a strategy. You’ve got to Dominate! Meadows- No we are not going to control the virus. Don’t let it control your life. Don’t shut down businesses. But masks are silly. States do what they want. But schools must open up when I say. It’s a complete lack of anything resembling vision and no one should trust anything he says. His leadership is absent.
I just finished reading Colin Powell’s book. It Worked for Me. In it he details needing to negotiate a simple spat between Spanish and Moroccan claims over a tiny island (Perejil) and an ‘invasion’ by Spain. After some back and forth negotiation he finally drafts an agreement between the two sides. But they can’t get the document to Morocco in time for the King to review and sign it. On a phone call, Powell has to convince the King to agree to the terms unseen, to believe that the United States Secretary of State would be trusted to act in Morocco’s best interest. The King’s response, “Mr Secretary, I approve. We Trust America.”
Try for a second to imagine someone actually trusting the word of Donald Trump. We want our leaders to have that kind of gravitas with the rest of the world. Picture a foreign leader agreeing to a deal based on Trump’s word. Impossible. He says “believe me” so often because he constantly has to remind the listener that they should actually listen to what he is saying. Something will again happen in the next 4 years that no one can foresee. Something to test the mettle of this country. That is when we will need a leader with integrity. Do we really want to rely on Trump’s absence of character to act in our best interest after the current disaster?
You can only evaluate a leader in an unknown circumstance by evaluating his/her character. It matters.