Note: It was after I had this column filed and the paper was put to bed that I saw President Trump has begun wearing a mask. I hope he keeps it up.
If we’ve learned anything about President Donald Trump in recent weeks, it’s this: the man does not know how to lead in a crisis, and he either cannot or will not lead by example.
Right now, American is in the middle of a pandemic that has infected more than 3 million people. More than 130,000 Americans have died. Granted, the vast majority of people who get the coronavirus will recover. According to the World O Meters website, which tracks the coronavirus worldwide, the recovery rate of cases that have been closed is 93 percent. Still, with 3 million people being affected, that’s potentially almost 280,000 to 300,000 people dead, even if there were no new cases after today.
We have seen states, like Arizona and Texas, where there are shortages of available hospital beds because of the virus. This virus is not just the flu. It’s nasty. It makes some people very, very sick even if it doesn’t kill them.
It wasn’t entirely President Trump’s fault that the situation in this country got this bad. There’s plenty of blame to go around. However, it happened on his watch. It’s his responsibility, just as the captain of a ship is responsible for what happens under his command.
There was a brief time when it looked like President Trump was finally taking the pandemic seriously. He even said the months of May and June were going to be rough (how true!). More recently, however, he appears to be ignoring the advice of his own scientific advisors. There have been times when he appears to be deliberately doing the things he’s been told people shouldn’t do to help slow the spread of the virus.
President Trump will not wear a mask, and he has even made fun of those who do. He’s held mass rallies when he’s been warned they could speed the spread of the virus. He ignores the best advice from scientists and medical experts. He speaks of success against the virus even as the nation posts higher and higher numbers.
It’s almost as if he’s deliberately doing these things because he’s been told not to do them. It’s almost like he wants to show how tough he is by breaking all the rules.
Of course, when things go wrong, he blames others. He blames former President Barack Obama. He makes wild accusations as diversionary tactics. He lashes out at anyone he perceives as disloyal or being an “enemy.”
This isn’t a leader. This is a four-year-old spoiled brat. Sadly, an immature brat is the way many of those who have left his administration have described him. A lot of them got to be tired of being the grown-ups in the room.
Is it any wonder so many Americans don’t take the virus seriously, or assume it’s a hoax, or a plot to bring down President Trump? If the President himself obviously doesn’t take it seriously, many of his supporters aren’t going to take it seriously, either.
President Trump could still redeem himself. He could still lead by example. He could put on a mask, cancel the mass rallies, and tell everyone, “Folks, I was wrong. We don’t have this thing under control. We can beat this bug, but we all need to do our part. I’ll start by doing mine.”
However, this would go against everything we know about the man. He never apologizes, and he never admits he was wrong. He seems to think these are signs of weakness. It appears he learned this from his father.
Real men apologize, and real men admit when they’re wrong. They lead by example, and they listen to others. That’s what distinguishes leaders from bosses and demagogues.
It’s time for President Donald Trump to be a leader.