Donald Trump forfeited the moral authority of his presidency from day one

President Donald Trump forfeited the moral authority of the presidency from his first day in office. The iss...

Posted: Oct 26, 2018 3:02 AM
Updated: Oct 26, 2018 3:02 AM

President Donald Trump forfeited the moral authority of the presidency from his first day in office. The issue has not been that Trump doesn't know about this important presidential role -- for our commander in chief to stand as a guide during times of crisis -- but rather it has never been of interest to him. For Trump, the presidency is a raw tool he has used to achieve political power, and the office is a partisan bludgeon to keep the other side on the defense. The presidency is about power for its own sake.

This aspect of the Trump presidency is not as consequential on many days as it is on others. But during those moments when the nation does turn to the President for moral guidance and support, it is triply stunning to observe a leader who cares so little about filling this role.

Donald Trump

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2018 Political package bombs

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Most presidents who have been in office during these kinds of traumatic moments have lived up to the challenge. President Ronald Reagan brought many people in the nation to tears with a speech after the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986 that killed everyone on board.

President Bill Clinton had poignant words following the terrorist attack on the federal government building in Oklahoma, while President George W. Bush stirred a grieving country when he stood at Ground Zero in 2001 with first responders and promised them he would take action.

When President Barack Obama sang "Amazing Grace" at the 2015 memorial service for the African-American churchgoers who were brutally killed by Dylann Roof, he used the power of his office to bring some feeling of healing and calm.

We have never seen this from Trump. From Charlottesville, Virginia, to the pipe bombs, he never lets anything stand in the way of his raw political instincts. He can only contain his feelings for a few minutes, at best, before devolving into the kind of barnstorming partisan rhetoric that makes him feel so comfortable.

He can't ever see any issue outside the prism of his political lens. Even when American citizens and institutions are threatened with deadly violence, his instinct brings him back to the attack dog-style response that we would hear on almost any other given day.

On Wednesday night, Trump simply couldn't contain himself. Soon after the nation learned that explosive devices had been sent to some of his top political targets -- Obama, Hillary Clinton, CNN and George Soros -- the President blamed the media for creating so much anger in society. He returned to his attacks on Democrats and mocked the notion that he was attempting to be nice. It was as if the incidents had zero effect on his midterm campaign strategy. The next morning, the media reported that Joe Biden and Robert De Niro (also a major Trump critic) were the intended recipients of suspicious packages as well.

None of Trump's response at Wednesday's rally should surprise, even if it still shocks.

Although there are many other parts of our government that will work hard to find out what happened and to make certain those responsible are brought to justice, something is lost in this moment of political history when a frightened nation turns to the commander in chief for solace, only to see him give back the kind of vitriol and anger that helped create the current environment to begin with.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 895229

Reported Deaths: 9462
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1749772017
Ramsey722701040
Dakota66032572
Anoka62513568
Washington39357355
Stearns32821275
St. Louis28761399
Wright25354211
Scott25329181
Olmsted21750127
Sherburne18478126
Carver1629166
Clay11923103
Blue Earth1126366
Rice11234138
Crow Wing11003122
Chisago974676
Kandiyohi9660106
Otter Tail9611126
Benton8815124
Beltrami801794
Goodhue786596
Douglas7689100
Itasca752796
Mower721349
Winona702756
McLeod694483
Isanti681383
Steele669431
Morrison663479
Becker620873
Polk591684
Freeborn550846
Carlton529474
Nobles521654
Lyon518761
Mille Lacs516573
Nicollet510960
Pine500641
Cass491252
Todd483642
Brown465057
Le Sueur445933
Meeker422357
Martin378143
Wabasha366010
Waseca365132
Dodge351511
Hubbard349848
Roseau307931
Fillmore299115
Wadena298239
Redwood277845
Houston266817
Renville264151
Faribault253032
Pennington247529
Sibley246917
Kanabec241536
Cottonwood225032
Chippewa216342
Aitkin215850
Pope203210
Watonwan194920
Yellow Medicine185423
Rock174728
Swift169322
Koochiching168123
Stevens164511
Jackson159216
Clearwater155720
Marshall151122
Murray150911
Pipestone148329
Lake129824
Lac qui Parle120025
Wilkin119416
Mahnomen104714
Norman10389
Grant9719
Big Stone9365
Lincoln8705
Kittson71523
Red Lake70710
Traverse5996
Unassigned572124
Lake of the Woods5235
Cook3020

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 516453

Reported Deaths: 7289
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk80319799
Linn32142424
Scott26637292
Black Hawk21974378
Woodbury20490258
Johnson19778105
Dubuque18515241
Pottawattamie15890213
Dallas15320113
Story1380258
Warren8450104
Cerro Gordo7964123
Clinton7725114
Webster7326122
Des Moines7098105
Marshall669093
Muscatine6645117
Wapello6441144
Jasper619591
Sioux610177
Lee5908105
Marion557897
Buena Vista502149
Plymouth488388
Henry418655
Benton404859
Jones404862
Bremer395372
Washington391463
Boone389739
Carroll367755
Mahaska365365
Crawford353747
Dickinson314655
Jackson307747
Buchanan305741
Clay295536
Delaware294654
Kossuth289077
Fayette286353
Hardin284353
Tama279777
Page272533
Wright266149
Cedar265527
Hamilton259857
Winneshiek258143
Floyd255449
Clayton244459
Poweshiek237243
Madison234525
Harrison234379
Cass233466
Butler232744
Iowa229634
Jefferson223043
Mills220930
Winnebago215938
Hancock214639
Cherokee211347
Lyon206142
Appanoose205357
Allamakee203955
Calhoun196919
Shelby196442
Union191141
Humboldt185130
Grundy183637
Franklin183029
Mitchell182043
Chickasaw178922
Emmet178246
Louisa176953
Sac171026
Guthrie168137
Montgomery161745
Clarke160829
Keokuk150839
Palo Alto150532
Howard146824
Monroe142739
Ida130141
Greene127517
Davis124625
Lucas124426
Monona122939
Worth12139
Pocahontas120724
Adair114337
Osceola104818
Decatur101913
Taylor98514
Fremont95913
Van Buren93222
Wayne84525
Ringgold76729
Audubon74917
Adams5748
Unassigned480
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