America can do better than — must do better than — Donald Trump
By THE SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE EDITORIAL BOARDJULY 2, 20202:29 PM
This Fourth of July arrives at a painful moment as a divided nation deals with both a pandemic that is killing and sickening people of color at disproportionate rates and with widespread protests over police brutality and racial injustice, all while entering the final four months of a presidential election.
At the center of the American response to the pandemic and the protests is a man who scoffed at mask-wearing for months and who cleared out protesters to use a Bible as a stage prop in front of a church, both of which history will recall shamefully.
President Donald Trump's attempts to focus the debate over how the federal government responded to the novel coronavirus pandemic on how he thought it would affect his chances of re-election have been shockingly craven. Four-plus months into a health emergency that has already left 128,000 dead, Trump refuses to undertake regular remedial acts of leadership — wearing a face mask, urging cautious behavior, warning healthy young people without symptoms of the coronavirus that they can be a threat to vulnerable groups — and thus undermines public health. Trump not only repeatedly declined to wear a mask at public appearances, but also characterized some of those who did as signaling their opposition to him. His half-hearted embrace of masks on Wednesday — "I'm all for masks" — was undercut by his statement in the same interview that "I think that, at some point, (coronavirus) is going to sort of just disappear, I hope."
Earlier last month, Trump held indoor public rallies in Tulsa and Phoenix of precisely the sort his own administration's health experts warn against. He is ambivalent about or opposed to more testing for the virus because such tests inevitably lead to higher counts of infected Americans — even though such tests are key to limiting deaths from COVID-19, the disease the virus causes. He suggests it is more important to suppress the count of cases of the coronavirus than to suppress the health risk posed by the virus. The most kind term for this is amoral.
Thankfully, some conservative Republicans don't want Trumpism to define their party. In December, a prominent GOP lawyer (George T. Conway III) and three veteran party strategists (Steve Schmidt, John Weaver and Rick Wilson) launched the Lincoln Project to contrast arguably the greatest U.S. president (Abraham Lincoln) with unarguably the worst.
"[Presidents'] willingness to act in accordance with the law and our tradition dictates how current and future leaders will act. Their commitment to order, civility and decency is reflected in American society," they wrote. "Mr. Trump fails to meet the bar for this commitment. He has neither the moral compass nor the temperament to serve."
Since that introduction, the Lincoln Project has released a series of harshly effective anti-Trump commercials, most recently assailing him for continuing to court Russian dictator Vladimir Putin even as evidence emerged that Moscow was paying bounties to Afghan militias for the killing of U.S. troops stationed there. The group's founders are more sharp-elbowed operatives than secular saints, as a profile in The Atlantic noted. But there is real value in encouraging a comparison between the first Republican president and the current one.
Lincoln saw American democracy as "the last best hope of Earth." Trump perceives it as a stage for his grievances. "Sorry losers and haters, but my IQ is one of the highest — and you all know it!" he tweeted in 2013, when we all knew better. "Please don't feel so stupid or insecure, it's not your fault."
America can do — and be — better. The Republican Party can do and be better. Five years after he launched his presidential campaign, Trump has shown over and over again that he can't. As we celebrate Independence Day, may it be from him. May this be his last Fourth of July in the Oval Office.
The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board, July 2, 2020
July 4, 2020
Voices4America Post Script. Hey, @realDonaldTrump, a Message from San Diego on behalf of a nation in pain. Please leave. We hate you. Signed, America.
Share this. It will make Trump mad. Happy and safe 4th to all.