Commentary: Trump is No. 1, at least in some situations

By Daniel Pritchett

Unless you are living in the bizarro world of Fox News and right-wing talk radio, it should be beyond question that Donald J. Trump is totally incapable of performing the job that he was unfortunately elected to almost four years ago.

I believe that he is going to go down in American history as our worst president ever, as he is dealing with major catastrophes (economic, public health and social/cultural) and making each of them worse. We would literally be better off if he would go into seclusion at Camp David for the rest of his term, or even better, if he would resign.

This should not be that surprising, as we have known for years that he literally does not read anything (except when he struggles through the words on a teleprompter), which includes his briefings about topics like pandemics and Russian payments to the Taliban to kill American soldiers. We have also known for years that he knows literally nothing about American history or the U.S. Constitution.

But in recent weeks, it has become obvious that he cannot understand basic principles of math or science and is putting our lives at risk through his total botching of our national response to the coronavirus. Even worse, of course, is that in his amazing arrogance and self-absorption, he refuses to listen and learn from those like Dr. Anthony Fauci, who do understand these things. He recently talked about how his doctors were “amazed” at how well he did on a basic test of cognitive ability. I think everyone should be amazed. It is now obvious why he paid someone to take his SATs for him to get into The Wharton School. He is not only ignorant, but stupid.

But, maybe, he will be proud that he is going to be remembered as No. 1 in one respect, and that is as the worst president in American history. He is now running far ahead of his competitors for that dubious honor. He is more paralyzed and impotent in the face of a national crisis than James Buchanan, but Buchanan did not have 150,000-plus Americans dying during the secession crisis of 1860-61. Trump is the most racist president since Andrew Johnson, but even Johnson would not be standing up to preserve statues of Confederate generals and leaders, whom he considered traitors. Trump’s administration is even more corrupt than that of Warren Harding, but even Harding appointed an excellent secretary of state and had a fairly good record in foreign policy. Finally, Trump is an even more dangerous threat to the Constitution and the rule of law than Richard Nixon. Attorney General William Barr is now doing things that would cause John Mitchell, Nixon’s attorney general, to blush in shame (and Mitchell went to prison).

But it should be added that Trump’s enablers, the Republican Party, will share in this appalling record of infamy. The GOP has been stoking racial divisions ever since it adopted the “Southern strategy” of Richard Nixon over 50 years ago, and it long ago stopped following the basic tenets of math (saying that tax cuts skewed to the rich will pay for themselves and not increase the deficit) and science (saying that global warming is either a hoax or a foul conspiracy of scientists to force some kind of “socialism”). Trump is not an outlier for his party; he is its exemplar.

But at least Trump might wind up with some vindication. By mishandling our response to the coronavirus so badly and making the United States No. 1 in infections and deaths, we may now find that Mexico will build the wall to protect itself from being infected by visiting Americans!

Canada might be well-advised to do the same thing. Trump, no doubt, will see this as vindication and proclaim a victory.

One final point: If the Republicans were in political control of this state, we would be looking like Florida, Texas and Arizona’s COVID-19 numbers. Gov. John Carney has done an excellent job dealing with this crisis, and he deserves profound thanks from each of us.

Daniel Pritchett lives in Dover.