Presidential historian demands Trump’s resignation: ‘No normal person’ would react to coronavirus like this

Presidential historian demands Trump’s resignation: ‘No normal person’ would react to coronavirus like this
President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence, takes questions from reporters during a Coronavirus Task Force update Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo D. Myles Cullen)

When President Donald Trump addressed the coronavirus pandemic during a ten-minute Oval Office speech on Wednesday evening, March 11, his somber tone was a big departure from the weeks he spent downplaying its severity — and he even acknowledged that coronavirus is a “pandemic.” But Trump should have been emphasizing the severity of coronavirus long before that. Many of Trump’s critics are denouncing the March 11 speech as too little too late, and historian Chris Edelson is asserting that Trump should resign immediately because he is unfit to handle a crisis of this magnitude.

“What would a normal president say and do in response to this crisis?,” Edelson writes in an op-ed for Market Watch. “It’s painfully obvious that no normal person — let alone any typical president — would respond in the way President Donald Trump has. At each stage, he has lied, he has created confusion, he has made reckless predictions, and he has, once and for all, demonstrated his manifest unfitness to serve.”

Edelson, an assistant professor of government at American University’s School of Public Affairs, cites some specific examples of ridiculous things Trump has said in response to coronavirus.

“On February 29,” Edelson explains, “Trump confidently predicted that the number of infected people in the U.S. would ‘within a couple of days (be) going to be down to close to zero.’ Ten days later, states reported 571 Americans had tested positive for the coronavirus.”

The professor also notes that “last Friday, when Trump spoke to reporters at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the president incorrectly declared that ‘anybody.… that needs a test gets a test.’ That is plainly untrue, as Vice President Mike Pence had conceded a day earlier.”

Edelson goes on to say, “We may not be able to fix the damage that Trump has already caused, but at least we can stop him from doing any more harm. Public figures ought to be calling on the president to resign from office, to get out of the way and let competent people step in.”

Obviously, Trump’s apologists in the Republican Party and the right-wing media aren’t going to ask him to resign — regardless of how many Americans coronavirus kills. They are Republicans first and Americans second. And realistically, Edelson doesn’t expect the coronavirus pandemic to turn Trump’s loyalists and sycophants against him. But the president’s critics, Edelson asserts, should call for his resignation anyway.

“One step toward restoring normalcy — admittedly, a symbolic step — is insisting that ordinary standards still mean something, that Trump’s failure cannot be glossed over or be set to the side,” Edelson stresses. “In calling for Trump’s resignation, we are refusing to accept the assumption that Trump exists outside of normal rules — and that this is something we simply must accept. We know he isn’t up to the job. The question is whether we, as citizens in a constitutional democracy, are up to ours.”


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