Harry S. Truman, the 33rd president of the United States, served during difficult times – the dramatic nuclear end of WW II, the re-building of the post-war European economy, the Berlin airlift, the beginning of the Korean War.
On domestic issues, bills endorsed by Truman faced opposition from a conservative Congress. But Harry Truman never complained or whined.
One of his most quoted statements was, “The buck stops here,” an indication that he would take full responsibility, and not “pass the buck” to others – that is, blame someone else for anything that goes wrong.
Another similar quote was, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” a folksy way of acknowledging that those in high office should expect criticism, and be able to deal with it without flinching.
Contrast that with the behavior and utterances of Donald Trump.
Anyone who criticizes him is fired or attacked or both. His mentor, corrupt lawyer Roy Cohn (Google him if you are not familiar with Cohn), taught young Donald never to admit a mistake and to hit critics back 10 times harder.
Of course, everyone makes mistakes, so a person who denies them will be forced to construct lies to provide cover, and forced to find someone else to blame for his errors.
There’s no other way out.
So the president has blamed the World Health Organization, the free press, Democratic governors, immigrants, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and China for his own failings.
With regard to his COVID-19 blunders, the president has said, “I don’t take responsibility at all.” (press conference, March 13).
That is the problem. Instead of dealing with the nation’s crises, he invests substantial amounts of time calling people names on Twitter.
His language and actions reveal an unusually fragile, insecure and needy man, one who deserves our sympathy. But not our vote.