President Donald Trump’s inclinations to behave like a spoiled brat have long been known.
He frequently picks fights with elected officials, celebrities and journalists who dare criticize him. He fixates on petty grievances to satisfy his insatiable need to even the score. He seems unable to let any perceived slight — no matter how minor — go unanswered.
When he controlled only his own business empire, Mr. Trump could get away with such antics more easily. If he was willing to accept the consequences of acting like a child, that’s his choice.
But he doesn’t grasp that for the past three years, he’s held a much more important job than real estate magnate and reality TV host. He’s the chief executive officer of the federal government, and this demands he accept the responsibilities that go along with it.
The only way he can do this is to behave like an adult. He needs to put his own interests aside and consider what he must accomplish on behalf of all Americans.
This is particularly true now that we are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Numerous lives are at stake, and they are put at greater risk each moment that Mr. Trump fritters away on self-serving tirades.
The president has bickered with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and other state officials across the country about what they need to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus and treat people who have become sick. He publicly admitted that he recommended Vice President Mike Pence not return the calls of certain governors who do not appreciate what his administration provides.
Fortunately, Mr. Trump has some sensible people in his circle of confidants. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, assured governors they would get the resources they need.
Mr. Trump also felt it necessary to crow about the wonderful ratings that his press briefings are receiving.
“Because the ‘Ratings of my News Conferences etc. are so high, ‘Bachelor finale, Monday Night Football type numbers’ according to the @nytimes, the Lamestream Media is going CRAZY. ‘Trump is reaching too many people, we must stop him.’ said one lunatic. See you at 5:00 P.M.!” he tweeted Sunday.
This is not a popularity contest! People are frightened about what’s going on and want reliable information on how to best address the problem. Mr. Trump must focus on how he can be a trustworthy, calming presence for his constituents.
This means he also has to familiarize himself with the dynamics and nuances of this situation and tell the truth. But sadly, he often does not.
He quibbled with PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor on Sunday after she asked him about a statement he made. She reminded him that he claimed on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program that he didn’t believe state officials needed all the equipment they said was necessary.
Mr. Trump denied making this statement and told her not to be threatening. This certainly isn’t the first time the president has lied about comments he’s made that have been recorded on video and audio sources.
He periodically contradicts his own health care advisers on the state of the pandemic and how the government is responding to the crisis. He’s made assertions that are patently untrue. He also said he did not accept responsibility for mistakes made by his administration.
This is not leadership! We cannot afford to have our president wallow in self-delusions and petty squabbles during this time. Mr. Trump must arm himself with the best information from the professionals in his administration and level with us about how things are going.