By now, most of thinking Americans know that the forthcoming presidential election is going to be a referendum about almost four disheartening years of Donald Trump’s presidency. On the other hand, the White House electoral machine is certainly trying to make the election a rejection of the presumptive Democratic candidate whom Trump besmirches as “sleepy Joe”. In the meanwhile, the polls indicate that Joe Biden will prevail. Yet, it is still too early to tell and the president is desperately clinging to two developments, the production of a vaccine against the coronavirus and a stupendous recovery of the American economy.
Undoubtedly, the vaccine and the recovery will come, but not soon enough to save Trump’s compromised presidency.
The other big question that many people ask is what America can expect from a disruptive and unpredictable president who has not hesitated to defy the constitutional order by invoking military strength against people demonstrating in the streets through peaceful marches that were unfortunately marred by the violence of small extremist factions and vandals. Amongst the worst civil disorders in a generation, America did not hear an expression of empathy or exhortations to unity by its president. When Trump addressed the cold-blooded murder of George Floyd on a Minneapolis street, what he said in a so-called “press conference” (no questions by reporters were allowed) sets a new record for chutzpah. “Hopefully, George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that’s happening in our country. This is a great day for him, it’s a great day for everybody. This is a great, great day in terms of equality.” As if this pharisaic message were not enough, the president went straight to the core of his only concern: “we’re going to have the strongest economy of the world.” In other words, George Floyd was not killed in vain.
All that the nation has heard from its president on the cruel Floyd killing is that his death was a tragedy. In the same breath, Trump declared himself “the president of law and order” and condemned those who looted shops. The country did not hear a word about the reforms that lawmakers and community leaders are calling for. Right now, the job numbers count more that the broad appeal for equal treatment under the law for all Americans, white, black and brown. In the eyes of Trump’s spokesmen, the fault is once again with the media that “incorrectly” framed the president’s comments on George Floyd being happy about the job report. A better comment on Trump’s stunning insensitivity would be that George Floyd, just buried, must be turning over in his grave.