Although the story is oddly absent from my domestic printed media, the Guardian pulls no punches in describing yesterday’s public Presidential meltdown:
A toddler threw a self-pitying tantrum on live television on Monday night. Unfortunately he was 73 years old, wearing a long red tie and running the world’s most powerful country.
Donald Trump, starved of campaign rallies, Mar-a-Lago weekends and golf, and goaded by a bombshell newspaper report, couldn’t take it any more. Years of accreted grievance and resentment towards the media came gushing out in a torrent. He ranted, he raved, he melted down and he blew up the internet with one of the most jaw-dropping performances of his presidency.
This was, as he likes to put it, “a 10”.
Trump’s Easter had evidently been ruined by a damning 5,500-word New York Times investigation showing that Trump squandered precious time in January and February as numerous government figures were sounding the alarm about the coronavirus.
With more than 23,000 American lives lost in such circumstances, some presidents might now be considering resignation. Not Trump. He arrived in the west wing briefing room determined to tell the world, or at least his base, that he was not to blame. Instead it was a new and bloody phase of his war against the “enemy of the people”: the media. Families grieving loved ones lost to the virus were in for cold comfort here.
Even conservative bloggers understand how bad it was. Here’s Steve Berman, of The Resurgant,
Monday’s coronavirus press conference was a total disaster. It was a train wreck, launch failure, explosion of stupid. “Everything we did was right,” Trump said, straight faced, one day after Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted on CNN that no, not everything we did was right.
And this schoolyard exchange with CBS News’ Paula Reid:
But worst, is this gaffe. When asked what authority the president has to open the nation, when state governors are already forming coalitions, Trump responded, “I have the ultimate authority.”
This straightforward answer exposes many of Trump’s worst instincts, and his total misunderstanding of his role as POTUS. All of Trump’s talk about working with governors belies his true belief that he alone has the authority.
Of course, if all you read was the NY Times, you’d never know the nation just witnessed a train wreck. All they have is a sober news analysis which leads as follows:
The president’s insistence that only he can decide if the country should reopen for business was disputed by constitutional scholars and contrasted with his earlier message that it was not for the federal government to take the lead in fighting the virus.
It is an important point that needed making, but it hardly seems the whole story.