The Invisible President

Invisible may seem an odd word when describing a man with his face on television, actions in headlines, and name on the tip of every tongue every day of every week. Sure, he is present at well attended rallies frequented by those who approve of this presidency. However, holding rallies is the job of candidates, not the elected President/Commander-in-Chief. Once elected, duties change.

We in the U.S. don’t have royalty to cover the ceremonial duties of running the country. The president is the top official, so pageantry falls on those shoulders. Some are traditional like the Thanksgiving Turkey Pardon and the Easter Egg Roll. Mr. Trump has managed to officiate over those home-based duties even if he looked like he was going to push First Lady Malania off the balcony trying to distance himself from the costumed rabbit with whom he shared the stage. There has been widespread lack of interest and cancellations of traditional White House champion sports team celebrations. Mr. Trump cannot even muster the courage to face a good-natured roasting, then returning the fun at the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner. He just isn’t being seen in public.

More compelling duties are to spread comfort or joy around the country when occasions arise. It is in this stage of the job that Mr. Trump has been especially AWOL. He was invited to neither the funeral of former First Lady Barbara Bush (one of the most stalwart Republican families) nor the funeral of Sen. John McCain, our recently deceased war veteran, hero, and six-term Arizona Senator. Neither did the president get an invite to the Royal Wedding in England. His detractors claim that this is a stain on traditional and historic activity where presidents are charged with showing leadership and grace. His supporters say, “Great! He was elected to shake-up the status quo and what better way to do so than to break with old, shallow traditions.”

Beyond those examples of invisibility, the Commander-in-Chief has not visited one active duty soldier in any deployment zone. He gives a lot of lip service to service members, but will not show his face to them in any effort to rally support and boost morale. Most common citizens, soldiers included, long remember any encounter with a sitting president, retelling their stories with pride. This president is not offering many of those opportunities beyond the campaigning events he continues to hold for a select few.

Mr. Trump did manage to travel to Puerto Rico to witness, first-hand, the devastation of Hurricane Maria in the fall of 2017. His discomfort was apparent and the lasting visual is one of a president throwing paper towels into a crowd of victims while nearly 3,000 had been killed or were in the throes of dying within miles of where he stood. Let’s say he’s not in his element when trying to show empathy.

While other presidents have faced these tasks head-on, Trump has not. Other presidents have traveled to churches and communities where the all-too-often tragedy of gun violence has erupted and lives were lost. There have been numerous opportunities to show up but, instead

of walking the streets dispensing hope and hugs, Mr. Trump chooses to remain invisible. To his credit he did visit Parkland, Florida mass shooting victims in the hospital and invited several to Washington for a roundtable, but he never set foot on the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Again, his supporters think this break from norms is exactly what Mr. Trump was elected to do.

However–we can all recall, as kids in school, having to practice fire drills and lockdowns just in case. Some of us of more advanced age recall getting under our desks to be ready for the day a nuclear bomb went off in our neighborhood. The wisdom of doing that escaped me at the time and continues to this day, but the point is, we were practicing. If the need should arise and an actual disaster came to be in our schools, we would know what to do to improve our situation.

These seemingly cosmetic exercises of hosting an Easter Egg Roll, taking time away from governing to honor the heroes and national figures who have either passed on or are in celebration of a family event, visiting war zones, and meting out comfort to stricken families and communities are all practice. The presidential offerings must be sincere, and boosting the morale of soldiers and victims should be long remembered and cherished by the recipients, but the president is also practicing–getting better as a leader of the country, gaining the necessary respect of the people by being among them. Why? There will be a time when that president will need to gather all 230 million of us under his wing, and steer us out of a national situation demanding pure leadership from a person who commands respect and knows how to salvage, perhaps, an entire country as was the case with Washington, Lincoln, and FDR, or comfort a nation in great loss like Reagan with the Challenger explosion and Bush after the 9-11 terrorism. It happens to every president, some greater, some more poignant, but presidents must be ready–armed with skills and personal respect to keep the country going forward when many want to give-up.

With his invisibility, I’m not confident that, two years into his presidency, Donald Trump has either skills or respect needed when the bell of national challenge tolls for him.

 

All editorials, Letters to the Editor, columns and comments are the sole opinions of the authors and do not reflect the views or opinions of Mesquite Local News.

Comments

  1. CHARLES E RATLIFF says:

    YOU CANNOT SEE THE FOREST FOR THE TREES.

    WHY DO YOU INSIST ON THINKING YOUR OPINIONS ARE IMPORTANT. THEY ARE NOT.

    GO AWAY PLEASE.
    AMERICA DOES NOT NEED YOUR NEGATIVITY.

  2. Gorton Anthony says:

    Mr Donnelly
    You Sir must be blind deaf
    Illusionary,this President has done more fo this Country than the Last Three combined,your assessment of McCain was full of Media bull,I’v lived in Az for 20 years and seen McMain glorify his POW status and used it to get Elected,he wasn’t a Maverick,he was a RINO WHO EVEN WROTE THE SCRIPT FOR HIS FUNERAL how narcissistic ,carried his Hate for Trup to his grave

  3. Herb Calhoun says:

    MR. Donnelly
    If you had nothing but negative media coverage for the past two years I wonder what your reaction would be like? Democrats can not get passed the election and work with the administration in governing our country. It is sad when hatred has consumed all logical reasoning and it shows in your writing.

  4. Wallace Wilson says:

    While seated in your safe space, a salty tear stains your bathrobe, hands trembling, clutching the last of your precious “I’m with Her” memorabilia, remember this; Trump won the election, America placed him there, and he is doing a great job! No hugs needed, just turn this mess around.

  5. Sid Lawrence says:

    Is this writer serious?

  6. SONGBIRD john mccain WAS AND IS A TRAITOR.
    I am ashamed the United States lowered our flag to half mast for this pile of excrement. God forgive me but I’m glad he is gone, wish it was sooner…
    Now for his sidekick and war mongering fool graham, I wish him the same fate.
    Do just a little research on this vile person terry and write a new articular.
    Trump was RIGHT. HE WAS NEVER A HERO, the President just didn’t go far enough to inform the people of this TRAITOR.
    Funny how your side hated him then and HERO him now.

    • David Petrillo says:

      Great sarcasm. I did not vote for McCain but I always respected him. I worked for his father for three years back in the late 60’s and early 70’s and never knew his son was a prisoner of war. John McCain always put the country first. His biggest mistake was giving in to the Tea Party and bringing in Sarah Palin.

      Hang in there Terry. You can not make this stuff up.

  7. Mike Young says:

    Terry, Two kinds of Presidents, one that shows up at social events and smiles and one who makes things happen! Great things are happening, havn’t you noticed?

    • David Petrillo says:

      Great things sure are happening. He has destroyed what was left of the GOP. He is destroying clean air and water. He is hostile to women and minorities. He has alienated our friends in Canada, Mexico, the UK and Germany. He befriends our enemies. He is taking us out of the world economy. If left in power, he will destroy Social Security and Medicare. He is going to open up Yucca Mountain to nuclear waste. He is trashing our Justice Department, our FBI, the CIA and other agencies that will not kow tow to him. He has set a record, that will never be broken, for lying to the American people. He has pledged to destroy the American free press. He is going to take away NBC’s license even though it does not have one. All the while he is making money off our government in violation of the emoluments clause. Yes, he is such a great president – NOT!

  8. Beth Fletcher says:

    I want to know which one of you are going to pay for Trump’s bail when he is arrested for his crimes and which one of you are going to pick up the pieces when the stock market crashes and the economy goes belly up and which one of you are going to help the farmers get out of bankruptcy when they lose everything from the new trade deals. I really think you are living in Trump world and are so brainwashed from him that you can’t see the real picture. Anyone that says bad things about a man who is a HERO and has passed away better sleep with one eye open cause you never know what ghosts are lurking under the bed and in the closet.

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