Leadership and attitude in a crisis

In this crisis, daily White House press briefings with professionals like Dr. Fauci are good. Trump being there is not. Maybe he fantasizes he looks leaderlike. But one commentator said what we see is less leadership than “attitude.” That’s putting it nicely. Even in this dire crisis Trump can’t leave aside his personal demons.

Press-bashing continues apace. He opened one briefing relishing how “nice” it was to see fewer reporters. When PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor asked him about his having disbanded the National Security Council’s pandemic response unit, he called it a “nasty question” and claimed he knew nothing about it. (Previously he’d falsely blamed it on Obama — who’d in fact established the unit.) Though its disbanding was a key factor in our still being way behind the curve on testing, for that Trump said he took “no responsibility at all.” South Korea, whose infection began exactly when ours did, was able to swiftly deploy massive testing, with great results in curbing the spread. We’re also woefully short on protective gear and ventilators. The coming weeks are looking horrific.

Then Friday saw an unseemly shouting match between Trump and reporters, after he went off because Peter Robinson had the temerity to ask what he could say to Americans “who are scared.” Actually a classic softball. Yet somehow Trump considered this “a very nasty question,” calling Robinson “a terrible reporter,” giving Americans “a very bad signal.”

The stock market promptly plunged — unnerved to be reminded that, in this crisis, our president is a deranged ass.

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