Stannard: Watch your step
"She's supposed to fight all these different things, and she can't make it 15 feet to her car" — Donald J. Trump criticizing Hillary Clinton for stumbling when she had pneumonia.
They say politics are not for the faint of heart. It's a tough business made tougher today with every living soul in possession of a camera on their phone and at the ready to catch and exploit weakness.
We didn't need the masses to capture moments of weakness of a president who prefers to think of himself as some sort of super hero straight out of Marvel Comics. Instead, we were able to watch the president's sad performance at West Point a week ago. You may recall that all of the cadets were sent home, because of COVID-19. The president demanded that they all pack up their gear and return to West Point so that he could address the cadets. He did not do this for them. He did this for him. He's obsessed with portraying himself as a strong authoritarian, much like Kim Jung Un. Much like Kim he's not strong at all. He's a coward.
Kim was recently in hiding so long that reports were that he died. He inherited the job of ruler over North Korea and was raised to be a tough guy. He's not a tough guy. He orders others to be tough guys for him. He orders people to be killed yet he's too cowardly to pull the trigger himself. Kim Jung Un is the perfect idol for our authoritarian president.
When he had finished his speech at West Point — a speech mostly about him and the bashing of Obama — the president was escorted down a ramp. The same ramp Joe Biden dashed up a few years ago at the age of 73, the same age as the president. Vice President Biden didn't need a military escort to hold his elbow to support wobbling knees. The president did. Watching the video it was hard not to see how weak he really is. He looked like he was returning to the nursing home from his outdoor time. Once the video was released he went on the attack, as he is wont to do. He said the ramp was steep. It wasn't too steep for Biden to dash up. He said it was wet and slippery. The weather was hot and dry. And why would West Point have a wet, slippery ramp for their Commander-in-Chief? The ramp was not steep. The ramp was not wet. The ramp was not slippery. The president is weak.
Then there's the drink. You may recall during the blistering Republican Presidential Primary of 2016 then candidate Trump criticized Sen. Marco Rubio for his rather awkward reaching for a bottle of water. The reach caused Rubio to actually go off camera. Not his most shining moment. Yet shortly thereafter Mr. Trump did pretty much the same thing. He, too, grabbed a bottle of water for a much needed quenching. The difference between the two slurpings was that Mr. Trump had to hold the bottle with two hands, much like a baby holds its bottle.
Fast forward to 2020. The president is getting thirsty as he's addressing the West Point Cadets. Maybe it's because it's so hot and dry, or maybe it's because when one is not truthful they tend to get dry-mouth. Either way he clutched the glass in his right hand and raised it almost to his mouth. No go. He was unable to get the glass to his mouth. Realizing he was stuck he solicited the help of his left arm, which came to the rescue. Placing the tiny fingers of his left hand on the bottom of the glass he was able to tilt the glass upwards and get a much-needed drink, much like a baby holding a cup for the first time.
There is clearly something awry with the president. Maybe he's just worn out. That's understandable. It must be agonizing to try and keep track of all of the fabrications, dishonest statements, misrepresentations and myths he has told us over the past 3 years. He has every right to be tired, because as the nation has learned, the man is exhausting. He's worn us down and in the process it appears as though he's worn himself out.
He's turned America upside down by bringing in some of the worst people imaginable to serve in our government. His pledge to "drain the swamp" turned out to be just the opposite. He's a man who has always been fixated on himself. He cares not for those he is supposed to serve. He's polarized this nation to the degree where we're now arguing over the wearing of a mask. He had to grab his wife and son and go hide in bunker for fear his constituents would tear him limb from limb. His response was that he was not hiding but inspecting the bunker. He was hiding in fear.
The fact is that he is right where he is supposed to be; barely able to drink, stumbling down a ramp and hiding in a bunker. Watch your step. You may discover that there's no one there to catch you.
Bob Stannard writes a regular column for the Journal.
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