Since his inauguration before a tiny crowd of sycophants in January, we’ve all wondered how Donald Trump would respond in the face of a crisis.
Of course, he failed his first big test two weeks ago when he enthusiastically dropped napalm on a tiki torch.
Before Charlottesville, the greatest oratory performance in American history was Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, and the worst was David Hasselhoff drunkenly eating a cheeseburger on YouTube. With his response to the neo-Nazi-inspired violence in Virginia, however, Trump somehow managed to plumb new depths.
A nation that was desperately looking to its president for wisdom, gravitas, dignity, and healing was treated to the political equivalent of Phil Robertson drinking out of a bidet.
Now another — potentially even deadlier — tragedy is heading for our shores. Can Trump successfully reset and rally the country behind him while giving the victims of Hurricane Harvey reason for hope?
Recent history would suggest we’re in trouble, but all Trump really needs to do is get out of his own way — trust his advisors, stick to the teleprompter, and try to sit still for 10 minutes without making fun of any disabled people, or calling anyone stupid, fat, or ugly.
It’s a low bar that any reasonably well-adjusted high school sophomore could easily clear. But we’re not dealing with a normal 15-year-old. We’re dealing with the president of the United States.
We should all hope for the best but prepare for the worst. History suggests that Hurricane Katrina was George W. Bush’s Waterloo, as ordinary citizens finally woke up to the fact that their president was pretty clueless about most things, as well as self-absorbed, dangerously incompetent, and focused on all the wrong issues. Well, Trump is George W. Bush times 100. That said, the federal government has had 12 years to learn the lessons of Katrina. Hopefully, the only thing that will be left to screw up after the storm subsides is the messaging.
In case you hadn’t noticed, we have just the right leader for that.