America is at low ebb and Trump adds to the distress

America is at a low ebb. Pain and destruction strangle hopes and dreams of people across the country. People are dying — alone from a terrible virus or from a knee on the neck in full public view. Cities burn, destroying businesses and inflaming divisions. Tens of millions are out of work. The president makes it all worse.

This is the state of the union as the nation reels from multiple blows, each one arriving with swift and overwhelming force. Long-standing, untreated inequalities have been exposed anew, and they, in turn, have highlighted the country’s real vulnerabilities. What has been just below the surface, known but barely acknowledged and rarely addressed seriously, is now impossible to ignore…

Through all this, President Trump has spewed division with ill-chosen tweets about looting and “shooting” or “vicious dogs” and overpowering weapons. He has attacked Democratic leaders as their communities burn. He flails rather than leads, his instincts all wrong for what confronts the country.

At a time when presidential leadership is most called for, at a time when Americans look to a president for words to unify and heal, many hope this president will resist that call — an extraordinary condemnation of the way he leads in crisis.