So when his campaign made the decision to hold a campaign rally inside Nevada on Sunday night, Trump was primarily looking for No.1.
Trump’s sentiment is not surprising given his ‘me’ centric worldview. But that’s yet another piece of evidence that shows how little he understands what it means to be president.
Being president is not looking for numero uno. It’s about putting what you want behind what you believe is the right thing for the country. Trump never has – and never will – like this.
(Box: This underlying goal of pursuing the common good as opposed to what is good for you doesn’t guarantee success, of course. Human nature always tends to come back to what it all means to me and if Past presidents tried to do the right thing for the country, that doesn’t mean they always did it right.)
Consider the Sunday night scene. The chances of Trump getting Covid-19 to speak at an indoor campaign rally are pale compared to the chances of thousands of attendees getting it. Trump is, as he notes in the Review Journal interview, “on a stage and it’s a long way off.” He is also tested regularly and travels in a bubble which should reduce his chances of contracting the coronavirus.
The real danger was for the attendees of this event, many of whom, according to photographs and videos from the event, were not wearing masks or practicing social distancing. These people spent several hours near thousands of other people – all inside. It literally does the opposite of everything we know to help mitigate the spread of the virus.
To which some – including, no doubt, many of those present on Sunday night – will say: America is a free country! No one can tell me where I can go and where not to go!
But remember, your rights only extend as far as they can until they start to infringe on the rights of others. And since I’m going to make a crazy guess and say that most of the people who attended the Nevada event won’t be in quarantine for the next 14 days, their decision to attend Trump’s rally means they are running a risk. anyone they come into contact with over the next two weeks.
It is possible – and we can hope – that no one who went to the Trump rally on Sunday night has coronavirus or gets it being among so many other people. But we can’t find out, and neither is anyone who was at the event and is back interacting with a lot of people who didn’t attend.
The point of all this is that we expect leaders to lead by example. The bar for staging an indoor rally as the coronavirus continues to infect more than 40,000 Americans a day and kill more than 1,000 should not be whether Trump feels safe there. It should be a question of whether public health officials believe it has the potential to be a very common occurrence.
Sadly, Trump doesn’t seem to grasp this important distinction. He wants to put the coronavirus behind him, politically speaking, and again address large and noisy crowds. The Sunday evening gathering therefore took place.
But that’s not the leadership we should expect from a president. It’s the contrary.
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