Donald Trump and George W. Bush
Donald Trump appears to be doing everything he can to fan the flames of anger with his threats of “shooting” and “vicious dogs.” It is basically the same attitude he took to the coronavirus crisis, going as far as saying that having the highest number of infections in the world was a “badge of honor.”
He also recently called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – the third highest official in the US political system, after the president and the vice president – a “sick woman” with “a lot of mental problems.”
With such talk, the US president shows himself to be devoid of political culture and respect for others. He is spoiling America’s international image. Try as the country’s diplomats across the world may to project a positive image, their task keeps getting harder. They are striving to serve their country in a hostile environment and trying to justify the unjustifiable. And their biggest obstacle is their president, not an enemy or rival.
Some Greek-American Republicans argue that the criticism being leveled against Trump is unfair and even “un-American.” The answer to these complaints is simple: The criticism is not directed at America, a great nation with many considerable assets as well as faults, or against the ideology of either of its two biggest parties. It has to do with this specific president.
Staying in the Republican camp, George H.W. Bush was always polite, affable and on good terms with almost every leader in the world. Even George W. Bush managed to maintain the standards of civilized political discourse, despite tensions with allies and others, mainly over Iraq. And even though he had a good relationship with the African-American community, he never had the temerity to claim that he had done more for them than anyone else since the time of Abraham Lincoln. After 9/11, he tried to unify the nation, while he has continued to champion consensus since, even working during these last few years with Bill Clinton on humanitarian issues.
Speaking to Americans on the issue of the coronavirus pandemic in a short Twitter video in early May, Bush said: “In the final analysis, we are not partisan combatants. We are human beings, equally vulnerable and equally wonderful in the sight of God. We rise or fall together, and we are determined to rise.”
Trump even found a bone to pick with the former president, attacking him for failing to support him over his alleged actions with Ukraine.
In this specific case the issue is not mainly politics or ideology: It’s Trump’s confrontational character. And when one is talking about the president of the world’s most powerful nation, there is every reason to worry, not just for the people inside America, but for everyone.