Donald John Trump Sr. has been all the rage since taking office as president of the United States.
That’s by his own design, no doubt. Today, for instance, the TV talk show pundit class was talking about Trump and his bellowing bellicosity regarding the North Koreans and their nuclear ambitions.
I heard many of the pundits say essentially the same thing: The president should be the voice of calm, reason and wisdom. It’s the president who should settle a nation’s nerves. He should be the comforter in chief.
Not this guy. Not the current president.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tried to tell North Korean officials they need not worry about “regime change.” We aren’t interested in tossing out Kim Jong Un, Tillerson said. National security adviser H.R. McMaster said he doesn’t believe we are closer to war today than we were a month ago, apparently seeking to calm a jittery nation that might believe we’re on the verge of launching a nuclear strike against the reclusive communist state.
But what does the president do? How does he handle all this? He talks about “fire and fury,” about how our military is “locked and loaded.” He warns Kim not to issue any “overt threats” or else he’s going to pay bigly and he’ll feel the pain of our response “very soon.”
President Truman removed General of the Army Douglas MacArthur from his command in Korea to reassert civilian control over the military; President Eisenhower resisted sending combat troops to Vietnam out of concern of getting involved in a quagmire; President Kennedy resisted invading Cuba during the missile crisis.
Part of the president’s unwritten job description is to be the voice of calm assurance. Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43 and Obama all filled that role at various times during their time at the helm.
Donald Trump should take heed of the lessons offered by all his recent predecessors.
It’s sad to admit, though, that he likely won’t.