Some people will blame President Donald Trump for everything.
An editorial in The Washington Post this week declared Trump is “complicit” in Hurricane Florence and in extreme weather in general.
This is delusional, as is the underlying motivation to attribute all bad things to Trump.
But Trump is guilty of the reciprocal delusion of refusing to accept fault for anything at any time.
“You just never give an inch or admit any mistake in public,” a Trump adviser said about the president’s thinking. That explains Trump’s comments about Hurricane Maria just as Hurricane Florence was bearing down on the Carolinas.
Trump wrote on Twitter that the federal government “did an unappreciated great job in Puerto Rico” after the 2017 hurricane demolished much of the island, “even though an inaccessible island with very poor electricity and a totally incompetent Mayor of San Juan.”
When commentators noted that thousands of people are estimated to have died as a result of the storm and its aftermath, Trump responded with petulance. He called the finding of 3,000 deaths a Democratic fable.
Trump is not the first president to shirk accountability. President Barack Obama only admitted failures of messaging. But Trump takes it to another level. And he was supposed to be different.
A lack of accountability is the biggest reason voters couldn’t stand Hillary Clinton. She and her husband never paid for their misdeeds, unless you count losing the election, and she always deflected blame. This habit was on glaring display after the 2016 election, when she attributed defeat to everything from A to Z except her unappealing self.
The tendency of politicians to pass the buck and dodge responsibility was one reason voters chose Trump. Business owners rise or fall on the merits of their decisions and execution. If you flop, your company flops, too.
The market doesn’t give points for good intentions or virtues signaled, and it doesn’t give a pass to the well-connected.
When discussing the handling of the Puerto Rico storm damage,Trump is ducking and weaving like a typical politician. Dodging accountability is morally repugnant and unstatesmanlike. The public wants a leader who will accept blame for failures and mistakes.
Trump ought to admit that the federal government’s Puerto Rico response was inadequate. It sent too few people and too little food. Instead of dodging, the president should explain what lessons we learned from Maria, and assure the country that he will apply these lessons in the Carolinas.
Not everything bad is Trump’s fault. Not all of those 3,000 excess deaths from Maria could have been prevented. But the federal government could have done better getting people what they need.
Admitting as much would be a refreshing change from a politician.
The Washington Examiner