“The Buck Stops Here,” was the sign that President Harry Truman famously kept on his desk in the Oval Office, as a symbol of the awesome responsibility placed on the shoulders of the …
“The Buck Stops Here,” was the sign that President Harry Truman famously kept on his desk in the Oval Office, as a symbol of the awesome responsibility placed on the shoulders of the President of the United States. It was a symbol, as well, of an era in the U.S. when people took responsibility for their own actions. Real men, and women, didn’t blame others for their failings or mistakes. That was an America that believed in personal responsibility.
How times have changed, particularly at the White House.
“I don’t take responsibility at all,” which was Trump’s answer to a reporter’s question this past Friday during a White House press briefing, was the perfect encapsulation of Donald Trump’s life and his presidency. It was, oddly enough, one of the few true things uttered by President Trump during that news conference in which he, again, made numerous false statements.
In this instance, Trump was talking about the federal government’s slow response in making testing available for the COVID-19 virus. More than three years into his administration, the president still attempted to blame the lack of test kits on his predecessor.
It was, of course, classic Trump. This is a man born wealthy, who shirked military service during the Vietnam War, repeatedly broke his marriage vows, and cheated countless investors over the years. Trump structured most of his real estate deals to put his investors’ money at risk, while he made his money on exorbitant management and consulting fees even as he declared bankruptcy multiple times. This is the same man who conned thousands of prospective students by pitching worthless degrees from Trump University, who used a so-called charity for his private benefit, and who has been sued thousands of times by contractors who completed work they had promised, only to be stiffed.
While Americans might have hoped Trump could change in the White House, the past three years have demonstrated how truly unfit he remains for his high office.
The seemingly bottomless shirking of responsibility has become a hallmark of the Trump presidency. Anyone with honor or integrity has the shelf life of mayonnaise in the hot sun in the Trump White House, which is why the grown-ups all vacated the place long ago. What is left behind are the loyal incompetents, who are now desperate in their efforts to portray a White House in control of a national health emergency despite all the evidence to the contrary.
The lack of COVID-19 testing in the U.S. isn’t the fault of President Obama, as Trump has tried to suggest. Numerous news accounts have detailed how it was Trump himself who has sought to limit testing out of fear that it could reveal many more cases than the current official estimates. After all, the only health emergency that Trump actually cares about is the health of his re-election effort.
Other countries are testing far more extensively than in the U.S. because their political and public health leaders are eager to understand the extent of their own outbreaks, so they can better address them. Trump, on the other hand, bemoaned having to allow Americans on a cruise ship to disembark on U.S. soil because it would make the official number of confirmed cases rise. As with all things in the Trump White House, the facts don’t matter, only how they can be spun to fit the stage-managed reality TV show that we’re now forced to rely on in a time of crisis.
Trump’s constant distortion of reality is just another example of his chronic shirking of responsibility. And when his falsehoods are called out, the toadies gather round to make excuses, or grab a Sharpie to adjust the weather map to fit the storyline of the moment.
We can forget about “Make America Great Again.” If Trump stood for truth in advertising, “Pass the Buck,” would be the perfect motto of his re-election effort.