Somewhere under his perfectly coiffed hair, President Donald Trump harbors a vision of what leadership should be. Unfortunately for all of us, his vision conjures up Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Kim Jong Un, with heavy doses of George Wallace and King Henry VIII.
Like many presidents before him, Trump this week was faced with protesters gathered in Lafayette Square across the street from the White House. Unlike any presidents before him, he ordered police units under his authority to aggressively drive these legally assembled citizens out of the park. His motives were entirely personal. There was no threat; he just wanted to prove he is a tough guy, like the authoritarians he so admires.
Then, in the wake of this violent action, he took a stroll over to St. John’s Church – not to worship or pray, because that is not his thing – but to pose for photos as he held up a Bible like a brick. Asked if it were his Bible, he replied, “It’s a Bible,” as if any prop would do.
In a time of profound disruption in American society with much of the country still locked down because of the COVID-19 pandemic and many cities on curfew because of sustained protests against police brutality, Trump has responded with bellicose threats, petty personal insults and wild accusations of conspiracy. Apparently, that is what he thinks a leader should do.
He ain’t no Lincoln.
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