In a sad week for America, Trump has fled from his duty

But our President was mostly busy with other things: getting into a public fight with Twitter, condemning China over Hong Kong and terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization — an entity that once looked to the United States as the world’s leading institution in fighting pandemics.

President Donald Trump also took time, of course, to send out a stream of new, controversial tweets. He called protesters in Minneapolis “thugs” and repeated a racist line from a Miami police chief years ago, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” He even retweeted a video in which a supporter says, “The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.”

But other than a brief tweet in the midst of another storm, Trump remained silent on the most sensitive issue of his presidency: the pandemic that is killing so many older Americans and people of color living near the edge. Understandably, with the rash of other news, the press is moving on. But we should pause for one more moment to recognize how sad and sharp a departure his silence is from past traditions of the presidency.