Almost everyone I talked to mentioned timing: editorial boards’ reluctance to urge Trump to resign so close to the election. One editor (who preferred to remain anonymous) at a major daily said his editorial board came close to calling for Trump’s ouster during his impeachment, but added “my question is why now, when the election will be decided in six months.”
On one level that argument makes sense: the voters should have the final say on the President’s future. But it misses the mark, given that many editorial pages have already excoriated, for example, the President’s handling of the pandemic, a tragedy that has cost more than 78,000 American lives so far, without addressing his fitness to continue to serve. Any CEO who was deemed responsible for allowing a massive tragedy to unfold would be immediately called upon to resign or be fired, even if he or she were six months from retirement.
When I asked my question of Margaret Sullivan, the media columnist for the Washington Post and former public editor of the New York Times, she responded by speculating, or spit-balling, as she called it: “It may have something to do with the knowledge that such a call would not be effective but would also deepen the rampant polarizations among citizens. And for some, it would exacerbate the resentment of the traditional press, if that’s even possible at this point.”