Really? Trump’s thinking his “I didn’t want people to panic” equates to Churchill’s “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties” isn’t just b.s. – but delusions of grandeur. Again. And dangerous too.
Let’s start off with a direct comparison. We’ll start with what Churchill said to Parliament and was broadcast on the BBC when France fell and the British Isles were Hitler’s next goal, and then with Trump in his own words (you have to scroll down for the audio)
And heeere’s Donny!:
Listen to Trump admit that he intentionally downplayed COVID-19 in newly surfaced interview audio with Bob Woodward pic.twitter.com/hgrE3zskWL
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) September 9, 2020
Trump has tried before to cast himself as the new Winston Churchill. Although Churchill was an arch conservative on economics (and wrong!) he was exactly the kind of leader his nation needed during WWII. Before I forget, unlike Cadet Bonespurs aka Donald Trump who had daddy bribe a doctor to stay OUT of the military Churchill actually volunteered to serve in uniform. He even used his family connections to be posted TO a war zone and saw combat both in Cuba and later in India. Sorry Donald, you LOSE on the very first test! However this is about leading during a crisis, the kind of crisis that affects a nation for generations. A crisis in which at the outset you know lots of people will most certainly die and the job of the leader is to get us through it not only with as little life lost as possible, but to emerge into a better future. A crisis that will take everyone doing their part to help the country successfully meet the challenge.
Churchill, at his nation’s darkest hour in modern times and facing an enemy that had conquered continental Europe and would be poised to strike Churchill’s own country from twenty odd miles away across the English Channel was blunt with Parliament and his people about the challenges they faced, the fact there would be “blood, toil, tears and sweat” required of them and that things would get worse before they got better. Trump? He’s gone through various modes, from “no worries folks” to, when questioned about the rising death toll and the federal government’s anemic response to “I don’t take any responsibility at all” to now claiming he didn’t want to cause a panic! That last one is particularly rich given that it’s been clear for a while now he’s reprising his 2018 “The Brown people (although we all know privately “brown” was actually racial insults/slurs so often directed at Hispanics) with the added element The black people (although again, what he means and his followers “get” is the n-words) are coming!” Basically his strategy is to cause panic, but let’s get back to Churchill.
Winston Churchill gave a series of three speeches as France was falling, laying out what the nation could expect and he didn’t pull any punches on how grim things were going to get. The last of which was broadcast live the day France fell. On May 13, 1040 Churchill delivered what became known as the Blood, toil, tears and sweat speech to the House of Commons. A few weeks later on June 4, 1940 Churchill followed it up with another, more detailed speech laying out the situation, the challenges and how his nation, down to the last person was expected to respond in the “We shall fight them on the beaches” speech, an excerpt of which follows:
Sir, I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once more able to defend our island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty’s Government – every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation. The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength.
Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.
Like the first speech excerpts were read to the public by the BBC on radio. The third speech, delivered on June 18, 1940 came just after the French government had signed it’s armistice agreement with Germany, and it was now “official” that the Nazi war machine would be gathering on the coast of France to strike across that narrow strip of water that makes up the English Channel to take over Great Britain as well. Churchill again addressed his nation, and if you didn’t listen to it at the top his “This was their finest hour” speech which included the memorable:
What General Weygand has called the Battle of France is over… the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be freed and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands.
But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth[e] last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.“
THAT is how Churchill laid things out for the people of his country. I defy anyone to show how Trump did or said anything that favorably compares to Churchill. Oh sure, he and his hacks will spout their lying piles of excrement. However, anyone that supports him, those MAGAts out there that swallow Trumpian crap and ask for more are in fact as dumb as they seem. If they want to shove Trump’s burnt steak drowned in ketchup and fast food induced Shiite into their mouths with both hands they can complain all they want about being laughed at or looked down upon. I say to them turn off Fox, or OAN or Limbaugh and open a history book. Or go on YouTube and type Churchill WWII speech into the search bar. If they can’t see, or rather hear the difference between a real leader effectively rallying his country to meet a crisis and Trump then I say “Why yes. I’ll criticize and even make fun of you for your willful ignorance!”
There is nothing, NOTHING in Trump’s response (or more accurately lack of response) to the Covid pandemic remotely like Churchill’s leadership when Nazism was spreading like a cancer across the face of Europe, and reaching the shores of Churchill’s own country. Trump sat in his “safe space” and whined about how unfair it all was, how it would hurt the only thing he had to campaign on which was his belief he could sucker folks with his lies about how great the economy was. That all those farmers, factory workers, working class people (who did NOT get any 4k in tax breaks – closer to four bucks a paycheck!) would buy his shtick. Since the bulk of Americans don’t get that the stock market is NOT the economy he figured he could pull it off but he saw a real danger if the stock market took a hit during the year. As a result Trump’s “response” was to lie, try to convince people there was no real threat outside of a few places that at first anyway were “blue states” anyway and that the problem was Democrats were in charge. Play it all down was his strategy. Grift too – there was money to be made with no-bid contracts and it will take years to track down all the money wasted. When things exploded, and the number of cases and deaths was so big even Trump had to acknowledge that in some places at least there were problems, including promised federal help not arriving, lack of PPE etc. his response was that none of the problems were his fault.
And through it all he’s kept insisting it’s not been that big a deal, that it will magically go away “soon” and that we will have not just a vaccine, but the best, greatest vaccine that was ever created and not only that it will have been developed and proven completely, totally safe and effective in record time thanks to him – and his “Operation Warp Speed.” A new vaccine might actually be available in record time (about a year from when the need for one was becoming apparent – as in early next year) but we’re talking about Trump. Like the economy he inherited and took complete credit for the infrastructure to speed up vaccine development and manufacturing was his predecessor’s doing. Back when we got hit with H1N1 and also SARS & MERES Obama was somewhat incredulous to learn that the standard practice of using chicken eggs to grow vaccines hadn’t changed much. So he ordered a look into how improvements in medical technology in the (then) six decades that the chicken egg method was developed could improve things. The review came up with recommendations which of course Obama, who believes in science began implementing. So although Obama got the ball rolling on focused, sustained effort to develop faster and better vaccine development (if you look at the last paragraph of the link it notes benefits beyond influenza vaccines) but win or lose in November you can be sure Trump will take ALL the credit (and the GOP will genuflect as they too give it to him) for any new vaccine that comes out at the end of this year or early next year. And of course blame Obama, Biden, Hillary, Antifa, MS-13, the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street – anyone and everyone but himself. The guy who gutted every pandemic prevention and mitigation program that was brought to his attention!
But let me wrap this up. For all his faults Churchill was a great leader in a time of great crisis. Trump is not, and never has been. Anyone who doubts for a single second that if Trump had been in Churchill’s shoes during that crucial period in 1940 when not just members of his government but even leaders in his own conservative Party advocated surrender that TRUMP would have done so. Long before he became President he developed a long and sordid history of walking away from problems, be it contractors he didn’t, or sometimes couldn’t afford to pay, or lenders asking him to pay back the money he’d borrowed. Had Trump been in Churchill’s shoes he’d have done the equivalent of declaring bankruptcy, after ensuring he’d be taken care of by Hitler and selling out the British people.
I have no doubt that if he were alive to hear Trump trying to claim political kinship and equivalence Churchill would have, with that biting intellect and wit he was famous for taken great delight in (making sure it was live and on camera) verbally knocked Trump on his ass, and literally put out his cigar on Trump’s suit jacket for good measure!