Trump's "play it down" debacle

If a Kinsley gaffe is when a politician tells the truth, the Woodward book is a Kinsley revelation, confirming what everyone already knew to be true. Trump obviously wanted to accent the positive on the virus from the beginning, and, besides a brief period of greater sobriety, has done it ever since.

As a result, he’s fallen down on a key aspect of presidential leadership in a crisis, which requires serious and credible communication. The president’s most fervent defenders might dismiss this as “just words,” but what leaders say matters a great deal, or we wouldn’t remember how Lincoln, FDR and Churchill rallied their peoples at times of testing.

If anyone appreciates, indeed overestimates, the power of words, it’s Trump himself, who thought he could bend the virus to his will by diminishing it and predicting its imminent rout.