Around 1 a.m. Eastern time Tuesday, President Donald Trump tweeted four times about The Lincoln Project, a group of which I am a founder. Our crime, producing an ad called “Mourning in America,” produced in the style of a commercial of a similar name dating back to Ronald Reagan’s 1984 reelection campaign.
The ad is not uplifting. It does not predict a better future for Americans. In fact, it asserts that another four years of Donald Trump in the White House would spell the end of the United States as most of us have known it for decades.
While the coronavirus did not start here, Trump’s inability and unwillingness to heed warnings, listen to experts and be a leader in any sense of the word have doomed 70,000 Americans and shattered our economy. Make no mistake: The crisis was not inevitable.
If Trump and collection of misfit toys had any idea of just how outmatched they were, they would have allowed the professionals at agencies such as the NIH, CDC and FEMA to lead the federal response, coordinate supplies among states and serve as national healer.
A vote for Trump is November is a vote for decline, plain and simple. This president’s background as real estate swindler and reality television host never prepared him for office. We can trace our current position back to his inaugural address when Trump spoke of “American carnage.” Now we’re all living it.
What is he doing? Is he finally turning the ship of state around? Is he moving us toward a position in which we can keep Americans safe and determine safe ways to restart the American economic engine? No, he is not.
Instead, he’s up late at night watching his steady diet of Fox News and rage-tweeting at a bunch of political consultants who’ve had the temerity to break down the fourth wall of Trump’s reality-era presidency. The images in the commercial that sent the most powerful man in the world into hysterics resonate with Americans because they’re living it right now.
Too many of us have too few choices: There are those lucky enough to be able to stay and work from home with our families. Then are those, like the first responders, medical staff, delivery drivers and grocery workers who must go out into a dangerous world to keep what’s left of the economy moving.
Does Trump care about any of us? Based only on how he acts during his regular press conferences and what he says online, he does not. For someone who has claimed he comes ready to fight a new battle every day — to not look back or look forward, this president is singularly unsuited to dealing with a persistent, real-world crisis that will not be undone by his antics.
And his political opponents will not be so cowed, either. It is no small thing to stand up to the president of the United States, especially one that belongs to a political party for which many of us spent decades working. It is also no small thing to have your name featured prominently on that leader’s Twitter feed. We have committed to this fight, though.
When we began The Lincoln Project in December, we started with lofty goals of saving the Republic. COVID-19 and Donald Trump’s abject failures as a manager, leader and national conciliator have elevated this mission and reminded us that politics does indeed have life-or-death consequences.