"This unraveling presidency began with the Crybaby-in-Chief banging his spoon on his highchair tray to protest a photograph… showing that his inauguration crowd the day before had been smaller than the one four years previous."
That's what Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post political columnist George Will wrote about President Trump earlier this month, adding that "the president's provocations – his coarsening of public discourse that lowers the threshold for acting out by people as mentally crippled as he – do not excuse the violent few. They must be punished. He must be removed (from office)."
I agree with Will 100 percent, which probably makes me a never-Trumper. So be it! James Mattis, the president's former Defense secretary, a highly-respected retired Marine general, weighed-in last week, writing in The Atlantic that "Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people. He doesn't even pretend to try." Mattis lamented "three years without mature leadership."
It's time to recognize that Trump simply isn't up to the unprecedented challenges he faces: (1) a COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed more than 100,000 American lives and (2) widespread violent rioting resulting from the apparent murder of an unarmed African-American man, George Floyd, by a former Minneapolis police officer who is white. Although the president isn't responsible for either of these difficult challenges, his responses and statements have often been contradictory, inconsistent and unpredictable, and his actions have worsened the deep racial and political divisions in our country.
Instead of attempting to bring us together on these life-and-death issues, Trump contributed to the wave of violence that swept across our country by fanning the deadly flames of animosity and hatred. Mattis criticized the president for militarizing the response to destructive rioting.
As I thought about what Will and Mattis had written, I watched our Bible-toting "law-and-order president" (his words) stand outside St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., thereby using the historic church as a photo-op backdrop and the Bible as a prop. For the record, the church's pastor was nowhere in sight. This was after police and National Guard troops used flash-bang grenades and rubber bullets to move peaceful demonstrators out of Lafayette Park across the street from the White House. How low can you go, Mr. President?
No wonder Trump trails his frail and often confused opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, the weakest presidential candidate in my lifetime, by 10 points in national polls as we approach November's crucial presidential election. "In 2016 voters were presented with an unprecedentedly unpalatable choice," Will wrote. "Now, however, voters have watched him (Trump) govern for 40 months and only 40 percent of them approve of his sordid conduct."
Well, there you have it. As I've written before, the American electorate is polarized as never before and faces a gut-wrenching choice between a rude, crude bully who suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder and a frail 77-year-old career politician who has difficulty stringing two coherent sentences together. One is a hateful person who diminishes the presidency and the other is an amiable if deeply flawed shadow of his former self. I don't know what I'm going to do in November. How about you?
Primary Election Results: If you didn't vote in last Tuesday's Primary Election, you have no right to comment on the election results or criticize candidates who won or lost. By not voting, you forfeited your right to participate in the democratic process and allowed those of us who voted to choose the public officials who will guide us into an uncertain future.
Guy W. Farmer is the Appeal's senior political columnist.