Rage, the new book by veteran journalist Bob Woodward about the presidency of Donald Trump, has revealed unequivocally that Trump deliberately has downplayed the lethality of the Covid-19 pandemic from the very beginning of the virus’s detection in the United States.
Whether one wants to characterize Trump’s mendacity as outright lying for political purposes, or merely as a benevolent effort by Trump to prevent social chaos, the bottom line is the same: Trump has not been straight with the American people.
But even if one accepts Trump’s explanation for his deceit, the book makes clear that Trump treated the American people with disdain, as if we were children who needed to be shielded from the truth.
“I don’t want to jump up and down and start screaming, ‘Death! Death!’ because that’s not what it’s about,” Trump said at a press conference last week, when asked about his months and months of deceptions.
A few days later, at a campaign rally in Michigan, Trump asserted that his handling of the pandemic has been similar to how Winston Churchill addressed the people of England during the height of the Nazi bombing in WWII.
“As the British government advised the British people in the face of World War II, keep calm and carry on. That’s what I did,” said Trump, who then invoked the comparison of himself directly to Churchill.
Trump, by his own admission, reads nothing, so it is not surprising that Trump has no knowledge of what Churchill said and did during the epic Battle of Britain, when England’s survival was at stake.
For if Trump knew even the slightest bit about Churchilll’s tenure as Prime Minister, he would have known that from the outset, Churchill never sugarcoated the reality of the threat that was facing every British citizen.
In his very first speech, three days after he had become Great Britain’s leader, Churchill laid out clearly and explicitly the difficult task that lay ahead:
“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat,” said Churchill. “We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering.”
The test of a true leader is to recognize the reality of a situation and face it head-on, not merely to play the role of a cheerleader.
As things stand now under Trump’s presidency, American deaths from the pandemic now stand at just about 200,000, with another 200,000 Americans expected to die by the end of this year.
It is clear that Donald Trump is no Winston Churchill. He’s merely Donald Trump.