President Harry Truman had that sign on his desk that said “The Buck Stops Here.”
President John F. Kennedy told the nation after the failed Bay of Pigs, Cuba, military operation that “Victory has a thousand fathers; defeat is an orphan.”
President Dwight D. Eisenhower, when he commanded Allied forces in Europe during World War II, planned the D-Day landing at Normandy and wrote a letter he would read to the world if the mission failed; he would take full responsibility for its failure … which thankfully he never had to read.
These men were leaders of the first magnitude. The current president of the United States, Donald John Trump, has demonstrated what I have to label as a “fair weather style of leadership.”
He takes credit when matters go well; he even takes credit when and where he doesn’t deserve it. When the strategy fails? He says he “takes no responsibility at all.”
We are witnessing how leadership becomes missing in action when the fecal matter hits the fan. Donald Trump keeps boasting about what he’s done to battle the coronavirus pandemic. Yet he denies the virtually proven instances when he fell short.
Trump’s leadership, such as it exists, has fallen far short of the kind of presidential leadership that an unprecedented health crisis of this scale requires. Trump can brag and boast all he wants. It doesn’t wipe out what we all know about the federal response to this crisis.
The nation needs focused, driven and dedicated leadership that presents itself at all levels. We are not getting it from this president, during this crisis.
Donald Trump’s mantra, unlike Harry Truman, is that the “buck stops … over there.”