John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign manager Steve Schmidt said Monday on MSNBC that President Donald Trump lacked the moral and mental leadership required to guide the nation through the coronavirus pandemic.
He was very critical of Trump’s response, arguing the president will be responsible for more deaths.
Schmidt said, “The term you would use is dereliction of duty. That’s what Donald Trump has been. He has been derelict in his duty since the beginning of this. And the reality is that the amount of misinformation that’s come out of his mouth over the course of the last month, month and a half, in the end, has made this situation immeasurably worse. He displays every day all of the qualities that you do not want to see in any type of leader in a life and death circumstance. And so, we have an Alpha and an Omega of leadership virtues on display and in competition against each other in this country. We see the absolutely brilliant leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo in the city of New York with compassion, with empathy, with knowledge, with facts. Somebody who has his hands around the deadly situation, is delivering tough news honestly. And then you see the 6 o’clock follies that play out in the briefing room where you see the grievance, the sense of self-injury, the self-pity, all of the qualities that are anathema to the iconography of American greatness and American heroism which fall throughout our entire history. There has never been a president more mismatched, more outmatched, more not rising to the occasion in a critical moment than Donald John Trump the middle of this historic crisis.”
He continued, “Look, it’s been said for a long time that the presidency, what it does is it elevates, or it exaggerates your character. And so we see all of Donald Trump’s character deficiencies playing out in a magnified sense in the middle of this crisis. And what you see is someone who is clearly interested in himself, in his re-election and the lack of discipline, the lack of focus—just extraordinary to see the American president attacking political foes, to attacking the senior Democrat in the House, to attacking governors who are on the line in the states. It’s a ship of fools being run from that White House in a deadly moment. And we remember now the consequences of elections. And we have another election. People will say I think incorrectly that this isn’t a moment for politics. It’s not a moment for politicization where people use the virus to elevate themselves in our politics, but it’s certainly a moment for politics because we understand the deadly consequences of having people that are incompetent, that are ignorant, that are completely unprepared for decision making. We see his vacillations. We see the misinformation. We see the deadly missteps accumulating now for a month, month and a half, and the consequence will be a lot more dead Americans than there otherwise would be.”
He added, “When we look at the casualty numbers from coronavirus on the right of the screen, 2,874, we’re very quickly approaching now the casualty numbers that will exceed the 9/11 totals as we get up to around that 3,000 number. Then very quickly, we’ll see all of the totals that exceed the total casualties for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 20 years. We’ll see that. When we talk about numbers of 100,000, 200,000, I think it’s important to remember we lost 58,000 men in the Vietnam war. We lost 400,000 Americans in the Second World War. So the scale of the tragedy that we’re in the front edge of is really hard to overstate this historic moment. This is the biggest moment that’s occurred in this generation. And the government has shown itself completely outmatched by this crisis. Where we needed bigness, we got smallness across the board, and the president I’m sure later today will once again demonstrate that he is simply not up to this at a moral level, at a mental level, and at a basic competency level.”
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