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Thu Mar 26, 2020, 08:10 AM

The President Is Trapped - Peter Wehner / The Atlantic [View all]

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/03/presidents-character-unequal-task/608743/

MARCH 25, 2020

Peter Wehner
Contributing writer at The Atlantic and senior fellow at EPPC

<snip>

So as the crisis deepens—as the body count increases, hospitals are overwhelmed, and the economy contracts, perhaps dramatically—it’s reasonable to assume that the president will reach for the tools he has used throughout his life: duplicity and denial. He will not allow facts that are at odds with his narrative to pierce his magnetic field of deception.

But what happens to Trump psychologically and emotionally when things don’t turn around in the time period he wants? What happens if the tricks that have allowed him to walk away from scandal after scandal don’t work quite so well, if the doors of escape are bolted shut, and if it dawns on even some of his supporters—people who will watch family members, friends, and neighbors contract the disease, some number of whom will die—that no matter what Trump says, he can’t alter this epidemiological reality?

All of this would likely enrage him, and feed his paranoia.

As the health-care and economic crises worsen, Trump’s hallmarks will be even more fully on display. The president will create new scapegoats. He’ll blame governors for whatever bad news befalls their states. He’ll berate reporters who ask questions that portray him in a less-than-favorable light. He’ll demand even more cultlike coverage from outlets such as Fox News. Because he doesn’t tolerate relationships that are characterized by disagreement or absence of obeisance, before long we’ll see key people removed or silenced when they try to counter a Trump-centered narrative. He’ll try to find shiny objects to divert our attention from his failures.
The president will try to blame someone else—but in this case the “someone else” is a virus, not a Mexican immigrant or a reporter with a disability, not a Muslim or a Clinton, not a dead war hero or a family of a fallen soldier, not a special counsel or an NFL player who kneels for the national anthem. He will try to use this crisis to pit one party against the other—but the virus will kill both Republicans and Democrats. He will try to create an alternate story to distract people from an inconvenient truth—but in this case, the public is too afraid, the story is too big, and the carnage will be too great to be distracted from it.

America will make it to the other side of this crisis, as it has after every other crisis. But the struggle will be a good deal harder, and the human cost a good deal higher, because we elected as president a man who is so damaged and so broken in so many ways.

</snip>


It's bad enough we have a virus that might kill us. It's TRULY AWFUL Trump is the POTUS at the same time.

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