Cuomo’s MO is often to deflect, divert, distract

Jerry Moore

WATERTOWN — There is no longer any question about Donald Trump’s character — or, more specifically, his lack thereof.

Charting his activities over the past few weeks reveals an individual who cannot separate what he wants at any particular moment from what the country needs. He’s incapable of adequately responding to the challenges we confront. Rather than show that he’s able to lead Americans through a disturbing incident, he cowers in his man cave with a smartphone in one hand and a TV remote in the other.

There have been some well-known instances during Trump’s time in the White House of his utter cluelessness about how to manage a difficult situation. The violence between white supremacists and civil rights activists more than three years ago in Charlottesville, Va., is a prime example. He simply couldn’t resist the temptation to backpedal and soften his criticism of the racists who showed up that weekend.

How hard of a choice could that possibly be? Neo-Nazis, Klan members and white nationalists chanted “Jews will not replace us” while marching around a statue of Robert E. Lee. They wanted the community to maintain a symbol of the Confederacy, which took up arms against the United States to preserve the atrocious practice of slavery.

There’s much that could be said about Trump’s tone-deaf response to the novel coronavirus pandemic for the past 10 months. He often downplayed its severity, ridiculed people who wore masks, spread false information, dismissed infection experts and expressed his annoyance of how the crisis made him look bad. He actually admitted publicly that he recommended conducting fewer tests so that the number of infections wouldn’t be so high!

At times, he approached discussions with state authorities who desperately needed medical supplies like he was engaged in a real estate deal. The only question he should have asked them was, “What do you need me to do to help out?” But he came at it like, “Come on, guys, what’s in this for me?”

Trump’s behavior since the Nov. 3 general election has been, to say the least, alarming. First of all, he’s wallowed in delusions about how the election was “rigged” and that it was “stolen” from him. His repeated insistence that Joe Biden’s victory wasn’t legitimate and prolonged refusal to cooperate with the incoming administration have been both unprecedented and perilously counterproductive.

The United States experienced a major cyber-attack last year; security authorities within the government believe Russia was responsible. Trump has said very little about this, essentially dismissing it (I’m sure Vladimir Putin was pleased with his tepid response).

On Christmas Day, an act of domestic terrorism occurred in Nashville. Once again, Trump’s attention was elsewhere. He seemed more concerned over his golf game than with comforting Americans during this catastrophe.

The sharp rise in coronavirus infection cases has accompanied a tragic number of deaths. Many days, more than 3,000 people lose their lives.

This is of little concern to Trump. He recently groused that the death totals were likely inflated. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s primary expert on infectious diseases, advised that they were not.

It’s hard imagining any other president being allowed to largely ignore such national emergencies. About the only thing Trump has seen fit to comment on is his “landslide” win in the general election and all the “evidence” his team was uncovering about the massive voter problems.

Of course, both contentions are utter nonsense. Lawsuits filed across the country challenging election results in states won by Biden have routinely been dismissed because of a lack of evidence. Members of the Trump administration along with election officials in numerous states have confirmed there was no widespread fraud.

As repulsive as these acts on Trump’s part have been, they pale in comparison to how he behaved Wednesday following the attack on the U.S. Capitol by his beloved gang of violent insurrectionists. He spent the preceding two months enflaming an already volatile situation by telling them they got screwed by the Democrats who “stole” the presidential election. He also urged them to join in his “fight” to remain in office.

Following a rally where Trump egged on his supporters further, angry thugs overwhelmed officers with the U.S. Capitol Police and stormed the building. According to a tweet by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, White House staffers reported that Trump seemed “pleased by what he was seeing on TV at the Capitol, as he repeatedly refused requests to get him to say something clearly rejecting the violence.”

Sometime later Wednesday, he released a video on his Twitter account politely asking the rioters to “go home.” While he began it by (once again!) whining about the “stolen” election and how he won it in a “landslide,” he told the vandals (some possessing firearms and pipe bombs): “We love you. You’re very special.”

The last time I checked, the proper term for people who took up arms against their own government was “traitor.” And yet here’s the president of the United States telling the people trying to carry out a coup d’état that he “loved” them.

The attack resulted in five deaths including Brian D. Sicknick, an officer with the Capitol Police. Numerous injuries also were reported.

People around the globe watched this appalling spectacle with utter shock. The seat of authority of the most powerful nation on the planet was under siege, and federal legislators were scrambling for safety.

And where was Trump? Certainly not in front of a TV camera declaring his outrage at this seditious act and assuring the American people that the criminals will be apprehended and prosecuted.

No. He and his No. 1 toady, Rudy Giuliani, spent that evening calling U.S. senators, urging them to continue objecting to the slate of electors from various states.

So as our country’s reputation is being torn to shreds on the world stage, Trump can only think of himself. He persists on pushing the egregiously false claim that the election results are bogus, the very lie that set the stage for the attack on the Capitol.

Trump released another video using harsher language against the violence and finally acknowledging that “a new administration” will take over (he never referred to Biden). But this message came on Thursday.

It took the president a full day to decide to publicly denounce the attack against his own government. Wow! Let that sink in for a minute.

Proving to be the spinless weasel we know he is, he later regretted delivering this message. As with his white supremacist buddies in Charlottesville, he didn’t want to alientate the violent insurrectionist among his supporters.

Clearly, Trump does not have the intellectual rigor or emotional stability to serve in this position. How did we ever get to the point where he was allowed to ascend to this level of power? I figured that a Dumpster fire of a presidency would end with a train wreck, but I never imagined this.

Jerry Moore is the editorial page editor for the Watertown Daily Times. Readers may call him at 315-661-2369 or send emails to jmoore@wdt.net. They also may follow him on Twitter: @WDT_OpEd.

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(22) comments

Holmes

Spare me the sanctimonious drivel and ravage The media has become subservient to the democrat party This whole editorial is just the same old story of the media gaslighting America, which has reached new heights.

KRobbins

First, thank you. Great column.

He and his No. 1 toady, Rudy Giuliani, spent that evening calling U.S. senators, urging them to continue objecting to the slate of electors from various states.

Hadn’t heard this bit of callousness. Raises the question of Guiliani, tho. After being America’s mayor he could’ve rode those laurels to a distinguished legacy. Instead, he signed onto this. And then there’s our rep and all the others who decided a little political theater is alright. What’s the harm?

Baxter

I totally agree with this editorial although a little late.

zeitgeist

It's never too late. I'd call it slow... when "prudent" sabotages useful and opportune timing.

minder

[thumbup][thumbup]

hermit thrush

good column.

Charlie McGrath

Jerry, what do you think would have happened if Trump won? How would it have gone around the country? Trump won in 2016 because the people were sick of the people we just put back in power. It took a 5 year 24/7 blitzkrieg against the outsider by 99% of the media, all of the democrats, some republicans, and the swamp. They are close to victory. The election is secondary now. They are excited about the "lynching". They fear another leader who will ruin everything for them again. It was going so well before and then he showed up. Everyone was getting rich and nobody cared.

KRobbins

Jerry, what do you think would have happened if Trump won? How would it have gone around the country?

You can fantasize whatever you want but it would likely be the same as Hillary’s loss in 2016 because there would not be an authoritarian leader calling for an uprising.

On the subject of “lynching” with or without the scare quotes. These fine people that Trump loves had a gallows set up outside the Capitol. Also, some were talking of finding Pence and hanging him. As much as I dislike Pence’s politics, he could legitimately be in some danger for awhile. As with the French Revolution mobs are not easy to control.

Charlie McGrath

Nowhere in Trumps speech did he call for an uprising. That idea came from the left's interpretation of what they wanted his speech to have said so they could blame him. Where is the quote? There isn't one.

KRobbins

Charlie, you’re absolutely right. Trump bears no responsibility at all. He’s just the victim of a witch hunt again. I apologize.

Holmes

Ludicrous and who answers hypothetical questions?

Eagle24

CM... if Trump had won personally I wouldn't be happy...as in 2016...but would have sucked it up...wouldn't claim it was stolen..fraud without judicial evidence in and a court decision... Trump lost because he ignored Covid... blew the first debate... and would not stop causing chaos.. ...the GOP lost ... good people needed to balance the powers in Wash.. where's the Reagan GOPers? His legacy and success will be the mob because of 4 hours Wednesday..

KRobbins

Eagle, even with Biden having won by over 7 million votes, I see somewhere that if like 73,000 or so had gone for Trump in the right places he’d have gotten another EC win. There’s a rigged system for you!

djp29

Charlie you are spot on? And for Mr. Moore and this editorial and anyone who is saying this article is great... YOU ARE THE PROBLEM. The media has been and continues to divide this country. Shame on mr. Moore and the WDT for continuing to publish such divisive articles.

hermit thrush

if you are upset about calls for accountability for a guy who incited a murderous mob, then no, you are the problem.

KRobbins

YOU ARE THE PROBLEM. The media has been and continues to divide this country.

And after all Trump has done to unify it. Can’t we just all come together and make him President For Life because his and his followers’ feelings are hurting?

Officer Brian Sicknick was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher because of the big lie that Joe Biden didn’t win. That’s why that mob was there.

Ashli Babbit was shot in the neck and died of her injuries. She was there because she had the misfortune to fall under the sway of the QAnon nonsense. More lies. More conspiracy theories.

Disinformation is the problem. Maybe you believe Trump won or that Democrats are Satan worshipping, cannibalistic pedophiles. Yes, that’s QAnon belief. If you do I urge you to seek help but I have no idea where.

KRobbins

Oh djp, I forgot to mention the irony of that police officer being killed by people who undoubtedly are such strong supporters of law enforcement. Many of those who entered the Capitol likely have Back the Blue signs and thin, blue line flags.

But, I’m sorry. You just want to forget that this all happened like it was just a bad dream.

Hoosier

My god, its hard to believe you are a sentient being.

KRobbins

My god, its hard to believe you are a sentient being.

If I haven’t left that comment before, it’s not because I wasn’t thinking it.

Eagle24

Jerry, as usual, nailed Potus. Trump fed the DC crowd no different than any of rallies. The difference is, the rally wasn't in a far off convention center, it was in DC. The attendees weren't just his loyal supporters wearing MAGA hats carrying Trump flags. Mixed among were those in camo, flak vests, zip ties, pipe bombs...who, along with POTUS, encouraged the supporters to storm the capitol, to act as a feign allowing them cover. When's the last time at a Trump rally anyone openly carried zip tie hand cuffs? Certain member offices were targeted...others were ignored.. some in the mob were just caught up in the moment ... some were wing nuts... BUT, some had a more sinister game to play... I could care less about the wing nut half naked Buffalo man.. I'd focus like a laser on those carrying back packs, zip ties...dressed in camo... Are those the ones POTUS meant when he said they're hero's, or he loves them. Trump....you support the men in blue??? At least fly the flag at half mast for the policeman killed ... Good job Jerry...keep researching, they're more chapters to this story that'll be as ugly as the event... it ain't over.

rdsouth

He was a bad choice but a large plurality are devoted to him, reflecting on the judgment of many people. However, this is not evidence that the people cannot be trusted with decisions and that we have too much democracy. The actual majority know better and have known better. No, this is evidence that we don't have enough democracy.

hermit thrush

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