And then all Hell broke loose. Simultaneously, he—and we—are being battered by four major crises: (1) the gravest pandemic in a hundred years, (2) the most serious economic collapse since the Great Depression, (3) massive protests against police brutality and systemic racism, and (4) the most profound rift between a civilian commander-in-chief and our military in our history.
These crises have put paid to any illusions anyone might have harbored that Donald Trump is capable of rising to the occasion. He has struck out swinging with respect to each one, in each case making the situation far worse.
Covid-19. His denial, delay and dithering has cost thousands of lives and put an ungodly strain on our healthcare infrastructure. His declaration of victory over the virus is a shameful abdication of responsibility. He even finds it OK for his own supporters to get sick and die so long as they shout out their adulation for him at mask-less rallies. Every one of his decisions has increased the infection rate and death toll. He is content with trading lives for his re-election.
The 2020 Depression. The man who bragged that he produced the “greatest economy in history” (easily debunked) bears considerable blame for producing the worst economy in our history. Instead of persuading Congress to follow the example of Germany and other countries that moved quickly to make sure that no one would lose their jobs or healthcare due to the pandemic, he remained hidden in the White House while Congress hastily enacted poorly thought-out, half-baked legislation inadequate to the demands of the disaster. Building upon that gross failure, he is now hiding the fact that billions of relief funds likely went to his donors and cronies.
The Floyd Murder and Its Consequences. Trump should be in the best position to do something salutary about police behavior and racial injustice. Instead, he is totally compromised for being the president who in 2017 urged police to brutalize suspects and who consistently encourages racism, white supremacy and neo-Nazi violence. He continues to fan the flames of racial hatred—referring to the Secret Service as “the SS;” dog-whistling “law and order” in a Nixonian reprise; proclaiming that military bases named after traitors to the country are somehow part of our heritage; ignoring white supremacist violence in the streets; and denying that America is rife with systemic racism, deep-seated inequality, and widespread police misconduct, about which he issued a punch-less executive order
Vs. the Military. This president has consistently tried to exploit the military for his own crass purposes, ironic given his history of draft-dodging and his innate cowardice. No national leader has ever stooped so low as to threaten to unleash the armed forces on peaceful protesters, a shocking violation of the First Amendment. Fortunately, the military brass is resisting his abuse. Watching him speak platitudes and clichés to the much put-upon West Point grads he forced to return to the academy and quarantine for two weeks so he could have a photo-op was appalling.
We who have the right to expect much more need to hang on until November 3, when hopefully Americans can finally and resoundingly say: “YOU’RE FIRED!” and then again until January 20, 2021 when he either leaves office or is carried out kicking and screaming.
June 19, 2020