President Ronald Reagan consoled a nation shattered by the explosion of a space ship and the deaths of seven astronauts by telling us how they “had touched the face of God.”
President Barack Obama led a church congregation in a rendition of “Amazing Grace” after a gunman killed nine of their congregants in a senseless, hate-filled massacre.
President George W. Bush reminded us we would not go to “war with Islam,” but vowed to bring certain justice to the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11.
Sen. Robert Kennedy, while running for president in 1968, stood on a flatbed truck and told an Indianapolis crowd that Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot dead by an assassin … and then he quoted Aeschylus.
Donald Trump? His reaction to the global pandemic that has killed more than100,000 Americans has been to boast that it could have been greater had he not closed entry from China. He has chided Democratic governors. He has blasted the media for reporting “fake news.” And then he has told us in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of rogue cops that “when there’s looting there will be shooting.”
We need a president who can rise to the level set forth in the role of consoler in chief. Donald Trump cannot — or will not — rise to that level. He is unable or unwilling to shed the politics of the moment and speak to the entire nation in the moment of grief.
I keep saying — and will continue saying it — that he is unfit for the office he is now seeking to retain. He shouldn’t have been elected in the first place. But he was. Many of us knew all along that if and when the moment presented itself — and it has with the pandemic and now the George Floyd matter — that Donald Trump would be unsuited for the task before him.
We wanted to be wrong. Sadly, this individual has proven us right.