President Trump Stands Tall
Amid the confusion, fear, and uncertainty surrounding the outbreak of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic in the United States, one thing is obvious: this country is astonishingly fortunate to have Donald Trump as our president.
In predictably trite, small-minded fashion, the liberal media and clueless Democratic politicians have treated the pandemic as nothing more than an opportunity to score shallow political points against President Trump. All manner of "Trump has blood on his hands" and "His Pollyanna-ish downplaying of the scope of the crisis at the beginning cost us valuable time" comments and criticism have been forthcoming on an almost daily basis from the usual suspects. Although he hasn't been perfect (there's no such thing), such criticism is blatantly unfounded. The president has acted swiftly and surely and taken concrete steps to counter the outbreak right from the beginning. Certainly, his travel restriction order against the Chinese in January reduced the size and scope of the crisis here by an order of magnitude. The president undoubtedly knew he'd face calls of racial bias and xenophobia with that decision (and he did), but he knew that it was the right decision for the American people. He didn't take a poll or assemble a focus group or ask his Cabinet for their recommendations. He just made the call. Bold. Quick. Correct.
The Democrats seem more interested in damaging President Trump politically than they are in taking care of the American people. Speaker Pelosi tried to attach all kinds of extraneous, irrelevant addenda to the relief bill (support for Planned Parenthood, voting rights modifications intended to make things more favorable to Dems in future elections, money for NPR and the Kennedy Center, etc.), all of which delayed the bill — needlessly — for a week. As millions of businesses close their doors and tens of millions of Americans lose their jobs, Pelosi and the Democrats continue to look upon the entire situation as nothing more than an opportunity for a power grab. The bill went through in bi-partisan fashion a week later than it should have, and most, but not all, of the Democratic fat was trimmed out. But it didn't have to be that way at all. When asked about the fact that most of the Kennedy Center money was still in the bill, President Trump said, "I'm not happy, but sometimes you just have to give the other side a little something. That's how it works."
His daily coronavirus press briefings are examples of tireless hands-on presidential leadership. President Trump is aware of every small detail. He knows which drugs are looking promising as treatments; he knows which companies have begun to switch over to manufacturing ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE); he knows how many ventilators are in stockpile, where they are, what the plan is for distributing them. He knows what new hospitals are being built by the Army Corps of Engineers, how many beds they have, when the Navy hospital ships will arrive and where they'll be. Trump enacted the Defense Production Act to mandate that our industries switch their manufacturing capability over to coronavirus-needed items. Swift, positive action. Instantly beneficial to the country. It was totally sloughed off and minimized by the liberal media and his political opponents, both of whom would have jumped on him had he not done this.
He speaks in a self-congratulatory style at his daily briefings that infuriates his critics and detractors. He unabashedly pats himself on the back for taking the actions he has taken ("unprecedented...never before in history...it's faster and bigger than ever before...we're doing this in record time, record time"), but his somewhat controversial personal style does not alter the facts on the ground: President Trump is, unquestionably, commanding an all-out effort on a huge scale, on multiple fronts, to confront a challenge to our society the likes of which no one alive today has ever experienced.
In stark contrast, national Democrats and national liberal media figures look small. Chuck Todd of NBC tried to toss poor Joe Biden a softball by asking him if "Trump has blood on his hands for his initial slowness to react to the crisis." Once he understood the question, even Biden wouldn't agree with Todd. But rather than acting like a statesman — an American statesman — and publicly supporting the president, Biden has instead either been silent (offering nothing constructive or supportive) or made 8th grade–style snarky criticism from the safety of his unaccountable sidelines. Biden has confirmed his smallness.
The president seems to delight in calling out the good reactions and positive rapport he's enjoyed with people who've been political opponents in the past, such as California governor Gavin Newsom. Newsom has moved rapidly to institute the kind of social distancing guidelines and other measures that the president approves of. "He's doing a great job, a great job, and we've had many great phone calls together," Trump said at a recent press briefing.
He does things like that for two reasons, both of which point to his tall stature on the presidential stage. 1) As a shrewd business negotiator, President Trump knows that by complimenting a rival, you pre-empt him from effectively criticizing you. You take the negative wind out of their sails and move the negotiation that much closer to a successful conclusion. It's experienced and smart. 2) President Trump is genuinely warm and truly enjoys a positive personal connection. If he has the opportunity to compliment a so-called "opponent," he will. He touted the bi-partisan nature of the relief bill because he was truly happy about it. Trump fights back hard when he's treated, as he puts it, "unfairly," but his default factory setting is friendly and cooperative. He enjoys the win-win. He strives for it, every time.
President Trump has great stamina and an unmatched energy for the demands of the presidency, especially in these times of crisis. (One can only imagine the inability of the severely physically compromised Hillary Clinton to deal with all of this and then stand up at the podium and answer questions and provide leadership for hours on end. And Joe Biden? He'd have a stand-in from the opening bell.) President Trump has a command of the facts and the situation that is amazing. And his willingness — more like pure joy — to work with all comers toward a successful outcome marks a "tallness" unmatched by any president in recent memory. He is the right person at the right time.