The Low Stakes President

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 3 min read

”Donald Trump the Narcissist Is Running the Coronavirus Crisis” in The New York Times. Hang in there, because this is full of gems, so forgive my lengthy quotes.

What that means, during this pandemic: Trump says we’ve got plenty of tests available, when we don’t. He declares that Google is building a comprehensive drive-thru testing website, when it isn’t. He sends a Navy hospital ship to New York and it proves little more than an excuse for a campaign commercial, arriving and sitting almost empty in the Hudson. A New York hospital executive calls it a joke.


Faced with a historic public health crisis, Trump could have assembled a first-rate company of disaster preparedness experts. Instead he gave the job to his son-in-law, a man-child of breathtaking vapidity.


Trump is genuinely afraid to lead. He can’t bring himself to make robust use of the Defense Production Act, because the buck would stop with him. (To this day, he insists states should be acquiring their own ventilators.) When asked about delays in testing, he said, “I don’t take responsibility at all.” During Friday’s news conference, he added the tests “we inherited were “broken, were obsolete,” when this form of coronavirus didn’t even exist under his predecessor.
This sounds an awful lot like one of the three sentences that Homer Simpson swears will get you through life: “It was like that when I got here.”

Donald Trump talks it up like he inherited the country in the worst state the United States has ever been in. He blames every single thing on other people, never taking responsibility for anything. Ask him how he’d grade himself on anything he’s done and he’ll tell you “A+” or “10/10”.

How about when he’s asked about a failing of his administration? “I take no responsibility at all.

This guy has enjoyed a cushy time in office and inherited a growing economy and cratering unemployment. He took on a healthcare system that was far from perfect, but was moving in the right direction after the last administration made some of the best reforms to healthcare in a generation (my wife, for example, could likely not even get insurance at all today were it not for the ACA). He took over when the international community generally looked at the US as a leader in the world.

He’s spent his time in office balling crisis after crisis of his own making. The economy continued to grow at the same rate as it had for years before, and unemployment, a metric he thought was dumb in the Obama years suddenly became proof of his clever leadership. He provoked our enemies and then basked in the glory of not having them nuke us or our allies in retaliation.

And he did all this while getting impeached for requesting help from a foreign government in an election…literally right after a massive dump of information about doing just that in the last election.

He’s a man-child who still brags about his “historic” (i.e. middling) electoral college victory and hypes up his own sub-50% approval rate. He has done nothing to even remotely try and unite the country, and even in the current crisis, has proven to be a divider, not a uniter.

He hates the press, and finds even basic challenges to his apparent “A+” work as “nasty questions” and blurts out “fake news” like a sniveling child who thinks he can control what is real.

He is surrounded by a party of cowards who won’t stand up to him and he’s dragged them into the muck with him.

He is am embarrassment to himself, he’s an embarrassment to the office, he’s an embarrassment to the world.

The COVID-19 crisis is the first genuine large-scale crisis he’s had to deal with as President, and he’s of course blowing it. He denied it was a thing for months, decrying it “shut down” on February 2. In late February he said we would be down to zero cases in a matter of days. Now he says it will be a major success if we can only have 200,000 Americans die of this disease. And of course, because he’s a chronic liar, he now says he called it a pandemic long before anyone else. And when his CDC advises people to wear masks when going out in some public places, Trump undermines them by saying it’s optional and he won’t be doing it. You know, because he’s a big strong man, or something.

When this whole thing is over, and god knows when that will be, the President will have blood on his hands, and I am sure he won’t take any responsibility, nor will his party level the slightest criticism of his performance. He’s a historically bad president, and he’s a reprehensible human being. You may be reading this and think I’m being too hard on him or suggest that “I don’t know what’s in his heart,” but I would contend that this man has shown us exactly what he is about. The presidency accentuates all of your characteristics, both good and bad, and the guy in the office right now is proving that all too well.