Commentary: Nearly every president is confronted with a make-or-break moment. Abraham Lincoln had the Civil War. Franklin Roosevelt had the Great Depression and World War II. John Kennedy faced down the Soviet Union during the Cuban Missile Crisis. George Bush had 9/11.
If we as a nation are lucky, the leader of our nation is up to the job. They usually are and each one of them is remembered by a quote that emboldens their legacy in history.
Lincoln said, “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
FDR memorably said, “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
Kennedy famously said in his inauguration speech, “And so, my fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”
George Bush, while visiting the Twin Towers and holding a bullhorn, inspired the nation with these words, “I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.”
That brings us to 2020 as this nation faces its biggest test in decades. At a time when a frightened nation seeks comfort from its leader, we got, “I don’t take responsibility at all,” from the current President. President Harry Truman, who had a plaque on his desk that read “The Buck Stops Here,” is probably spinning in his grave.
“As Commander-in-Chief, I have no greater responsibility than the security of the American people,” President Barack Obama said in 2015. Trump’s mindset is that his responsibility is to serve Donald Trump.
From the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, Trump’s lies were designed not to keep Americans safe, but to keep the stock market from tanking and preserve his reelection bid. His failure to act and provide honest leadership became more and more costly.
He campaigned and played golf throughout February and into March, tossing out lies to prop up good economic numbers at the expense of the lives of our fellow citizens.
Intelligence reports reveal warnings about a coming pandemic dating back to November of last year. More reports came in January 2020. The Washington Post wrote, “U.S. intelligence agencies were issuing ominous, classified warnings in January and February about the global danger posed by the coronavirus while President Trump and lawmakers played down the threat and failed to take action that might have slowed the spread of the pathogen, according to U.S. officials familiar with spy agency reporting.”
An official who reportedly had access to intelligence reporting told the Post, “Donald Trump may not have been expecting this, but a lot of other people in the government were — they just couldn’t get him to do anything about it. The system was blinking red.”
It’s common knowledge the reality TV show host does not read intelligence reports or daily briefings.
Trump continued to lie.
Jan. 22. “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”
Feb. 10. “Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.”
Feb. 24. “The coronavirus is very much under control in the USA.… Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”
Feb. 25. “Now they have it, they have studied it, they know very much, in fact, we’re very close to a vaccine.”
Feb. 25. “The Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus.” “This is their new hoax.”
Feb. 27. “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”
March 7. “Anyone who wants a test can get one.”
March 9. “The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, is doing everything within its semi-considerable power … to inflame the CoronaVirus situation.”
March 10. “We’re prepared, and we’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”
March 13. “I don’t take responsibility at all.”
March 17. “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”
March 18. “I always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously, and have done a very good job from the beginning, including my very early decision to close the ‘borders’ from China — against the wishes of almost all.”
Estimates of 100,000 to 240,000 casualties shook the nation and invoked Trump’s most worrisome quote. “If we can hold that down, as we’re saying, to 100,000 … we all, together, have done a very good job,” he said. On what planet is 100,000 dead Americans doing a good job?
No one is blaming the President for the coronavirus, but he must be held accountable for his failure to act, lack of leadership, and the lies, misinformation and excuses that have led to the pain and suffering of millions of American families and the deaths of tens of thousands of our friends and neighbors.