But he wasted his chance to show leadership by turning his daily pandemic pressers into brawls with the bear-baiting press and any politician who didn’t praise him to the skies. Lately he has all but given up even talking about the pandemic when he might offer realism and hope about the road ahead even as the country reopens. His default now is defensive self-congratulation.
The country also wants firm but empathetic leadership after the death of George Floyd, but Mr. Trump offers combative tweets that inflame. Not long ago Mr. Trump tweeted that a 75-year old man who was pushed by police in Buffalo might be an antifa activist. He offered no evidence.
Americans don’t like racial enmity and they want their President to reduce it. Mr. Trump has preached racial harmony on occasion, but he gives it all back with riffs that misjudge the national moment. His “law and order” message might resonate if disorder and rioting continue through the summer, but only if Mr. Trump is also talking about racial reconciliation and opportunity for all.