In the midst of a crisis, Trump issues playground taunts

The first note, sent by the White House to Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), is simply childish. Written in response to a note from Schumer asking the president to invoke the Defense Production Act to direct more manufacturing of key equipment needed to fight the coronavirus, Trump’s note starts by calling Schumer’s request a “Democrat public relations letter.” It descends from there to attack the minority leader for pursuing “the ridiculous impeachment hoax” and mention rumors that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) might primary Schumer in 2022. The putative leader of the free world concludes by saying “I’ve known you for many years, but I never knew how bad a Senator you are for the state of New York, until I became President.”

This is a grown man’s version of third-grade playground taunts. Let’s grant that Schumer’s note might have had political motives and that he always intended to leak Trump’s reply to the media. There’s a reason that a long-standing joke in Washington says “the most dangerous place in Washington is between Chuck Schumer and a camera.” This still does not excuse Trump’s words…

I’ve long hoped that a president who so clearly seeks to convey an image of virile masculinity could just grow up and become a real man. Instead, he is what he is: a deeply flawed man who nonetheless often does things that I and many others believe are in the nation’s interest. Unfortunately, those flaws are hurting his ability to lead us through this crisis just when we need him the most.