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State of American History, Civics, and Politics

Has the Trump Hit the Fan?: The Challenge of Being President in the Real World

Trade wars are easy.
Insulting people is fun.
Dividing the country is good.

WE the People want our President to have the right stuff to go into the arena and emerge victoriously in the real world. How do we know if a person is capable of doing so? One way is to examine previous experiences. They may be suggestive of how a person will respond under pressure. Military experience may be a factor in such considerations but it is not a prerequisite. Such leadership challenges may take many forms and not necessarily military.

One test case comes from Ebola: a 2018 article in The Atlantic by Ed Yong entitled

“When the Next plague Hits: The epidemics of the early 21st century revealed a world unprepared even as the risk of pandemics continues to multiply. Much worse is coming. Is Donald Trump ready?”

This rather long title reviews the responses to various medical threats to human life which have occurred recently. It asks how well prepared we are to handle the next one. We do not know where it will originate. We do not know what it will be. We do know that sooner or later it will happen.

The author interviewed Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NAIAD) for the article. Fauci has directly interacted with every American President from Ronald Reagan through Barack Obama on the subject of epidemics. He has done so because in every one of those administrations there has been an epidemic issue which needed to be dealt with. Since as of the time of the article, there had been no such epidemic in the current administration, there had been no such opportunity for him to interact with the current President.

Naturally that raises the question of what would happen if there was a virus or epidemic of some kind that would “emerge to test Trump’s mettle.”  The author expresses some trepidation at this prospect given his lack of background in science or health and the absence of such expertise in the White House. The author does not mention the oft-voiced disdain for science expressed by numerous Trumpicans.

To attempt to answer the question of what would he do, Yong examined how The Donald responded to the Ebola epidemic of 2014. By coincidence, he updated his article with online post on The Atlantic website on August 3:

The Rank Hypocrisy of Trump’s Ebola Tweets

Five years ago, the doctor Kent Brantly was evacuated back to the U.S. after being infected with Ebola—against the wishes of the man who is now president.

Yong probably wrote this post in response to that president retweeting a tweet from Franklin Graham commemorating the anniversary of the return of Dr. Brantly. That retweet lead to the following tweet by Sam Stein.

Of all the Trump hypocrisy tweets, this one may be the most infuriating for me. In 2014, he was an absolute horror show when it came to the Ebola crisis: creating panic, advocating medically indefensible positions, demagoguing, etc… Now, he has the nerve to RT this???

The retweet infuriated Yong too. In his online post he referred to what actually had been said back in 2014:

Ebola patient will be brought to the U.S. in a few days – now I know for sure that our leaders are incompetent. KEEP THEM OUT OF HERE! (7:04 PM – 31 Jul 2014)

The U.S. cannot allow EBOLA infected people back. People that go to far away places to help out are great-but must suffer the consequences! (6:22 PM – 1 Aug 2014)

The fact that we are taking the Ebola patients, while others from the area are fleeing to the United States, is absolutely CRAZY-Stupid pols (3:55 PM – 2 Aug 2014)

The U.S. must immediately stop all flights from EBOLA infected countries or the plague will start and spread inside our “borders.” Act fast! (4:26 AM – 2 Aug 2014)

The hypocrisy shines through because if Obama had acted in accordance with these tweets, Brantley and others would have died. There would be no five-year anniversary to celebrate.

Here we go! I stated long ago that we should cancel all flights from West Africa. Now we have Ebola in U.S., AND IT WILL ONLY GET WORSE! (5:09 PM – 30 Sep 2014)

Looks like Obama will not stop the very potentially dangerous flights to and from West Africa. What the hell is wrong with this guy? (5:53 PM – 16 Oct 2014)

I am starting to think that there is something seriously wrong with President Obama’s mental health. Why won’t he stop the flights. Psycho! (1:23 AM – 16 Oct 2014)

At least he did not call these countries “Trumphole” countries as he later would.

In the article, Yong noted that the direct flights The Donald called for to be banned did not exist. He also cited the evidence that travel restrictions had not helped to control previous diseases like SARS or H1N1. But whereas Yong consulted health experts to write his article, THE VERY STABLE GENIUS has no such need. After all, his is the smartest person in the room.

As Yong tactfully wrote in his article:

His dislike of outsiders and disdain for diplomacy could lead him to spurn the cooperative, outward-facing strategies that work best to contain emergent pandemics.

Yong questioned whether our leader can provide the reliable information and unifying spirit that We the People most need. Instead we have an immature child attempting to function in an adult role without having the mental necessities to do so. The result is an impulsive reaction by an uniformed individual incapable of learning. Or as Yong put it:

Trump’s tendency to tweet rashly, delegitimize legitimate sources of information, and readily buy into conspiracy theories could be disastrous.

I submit that the Ebola crisis provides a test case for how the immature child posing as an adult would respond in a crisis. All the tricks of the trade that work so well for THE DONALD in the political professional wrestling arena would prove counterproductive if not outright dangerous if the seventh-grade-smart-aleck-dumb-aleck acted the same way in the real world in a real crisis.

For the first 2 ½ years, he was fortunate not to have an emergency. Yes, there was a hurricane in Puerto Rico. But he managed the greatest recovery effort in the history of the United States. Plus he had fun throwing rolls of paper towels at the needy. WHEE! Look at how much fun everyone is having! WHEE! What a great job I am doing!

There also was Charlottesville. How much more of a unifying leader could one be?

But perhaps his luck has run out. Perhaps his ability to fake it as an adult is reaching its breaking point. Perhaps from this point forward he will have to deal with real problems in the real world that are not going away, that he cannot ignore, and that he can dismiss in a tweet. Since his declaration of America’s Third Civil War on July 14 (July 14, 2019 = April 12, 1861 II: The Third Civil War Is Engaged), emotions have intensified, lines have been drawn, and people have been murdered.

So what is going on in the real world where adult leadership actually is required?

What does the Nobel Peace Prize winner have to show for his abusive love affair with Kim Jung-un?

What does he have to show for his anti-Obama actions in Iran have now that vessels have been seized and Iran is free to pursue nuclear weapons now since there is no treaty to bind it?

What does he have to show for his easy trade war with China so far? The fact that he thinks the Chinese are paying the tariffs proves how much money Fred Trump had to pay to get his son into Wharton. And if he took Introductory Economics there he never read Samuelson or understood him.

What does he have to show for his excessively intense use of the term “invasion” in his speeches, his rallies, his tweets, and his Facebook campaign posts? How many more people will take the advice of the good ol boy in the Panhandle who shouted out “Shoot them!” to the laughter of this President and the Trumpicans?

Our president has never even tried to be the leader of the country. When the adults in the room convinced him that situation required him to at least fake being the president of the country, he can read of a teleprompter. But no matter what polished words he recites, his true nature cannot remain under wraps for long. At the teleprompter, he evinces no sympathy, no empathy, no emotion, and no conviction. His low energy imitation of an adult leader is a far cry from the engaged seventh-grade-smart-aleck-dumb-aleck when he is in his element in the political professional wrestling arenas. He feeds off of that energy. In that setting, his real feelings emerge. He will never rise to the occasion because he will never grow up. What happens now that We the People and the world need the President of the United States to be a grown up?