Saturday, July 11, 2020
Three months ago " all the way back on April 5 " I proclaimed Donald Trump the worst president ever. Think about all that has happened since April 5. That was before security forces attacked peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square so that Trump could stage a bizarre photo-op. Before he pushed to send the armed forces into the streets. Before he embraced "white power" and called Black Lives Matter "a symbol of hate." Before he vowed to veto the defense authorization bill to prevent the renaming of military bases named after Confederate generals. Before he used the novel coronavirus as an excuse to shut down immigration and threatened to revoke the visas of college students unable to attend classes in the fall. Before he ignored reports that a Russian intelligence unit had placed a bounty on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Before he moved to pull out of the World Health Organization during the worst pandemic in a century.
Most of all, that was before the coronavirus had infected more than 3.1 million Americans and claimed the lives of more than 131,000. The pandemic was already a disaster on April 5, but back then we still had "only" 331,000 cases and 9,400 deaths. On April 5, 1,344 new cases were reported. As many were recorded in 30 minutes on Friday, when daily new coronavirus cases climbed to a record-breaking 63,900. In early April it was still possible to imagine that the virus really would abate by the middle of summer. That this hasn't happened " that the virus is still raging out of control in America while being brought under control in so many other countries " is directly attributable to the epic failure of leadership by a president who infamously proclaimed "I don't take responsibility at all."
But what makes Trump the worst president ever is not simply that he is colossally incompetent. It is that he is also thoroughly corrupt. It is hard to think of a single major decision he has made for the good of the country, rather than for his own advantage. Trump has so egregiously abused the power of the presidency that he makes Warren Harding and Richard Nixon look like choirboys. Trump was impeached for trying to use military aid to blackmail Ukraine into helping his reelection campaign. He seems to have learned nothing from the experience save that, with Republicans in control of the Senate, he can get away with anything. Since his acquittal, he has committed one appalling act of corruption after another.
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