Trump Shirks C-in-C Role Because He Fears Someone Might Kill Him.
Fails to Follow Presidential Precedent
Since World War II, and especially since 9/11, American presidents have often dropped in to share holiday meals with U.S. troops deployed in combat zones or potentially dangerous areas.
But don’t expect that from Donald Trump.
The man who couldn’t venture out in the rain to honor fallen Americans in France on the centennial of the World War I armistice has admitted being afraid to visit U.S. troops deployed in hot spots around the world.
According to a Washington Post report, an anonymous White House insider reportedly said, “He’s never been interested in going. He’s afraid of those situations. He’s afraid people want to kill him.”
Wow! Way to inspire confidence, Donald!
Here again, Trump fails to measure up against modern presidents who have been in office during wartime.
Franklin D. Roosevelt set the modern precedent when he visited Casablanca in January 1943, even as Allied troops were advancing on Tripoli and preparing for a cross-Mediterranean invasion of Sicily. FDR showed his brass twice more during World War II when he attended the Tehran (Iran) Conference of Big Three leaders later in November 1943, and the second Big Three conference in Yalta in February 1945. FDR was visibly sick at Yalta — he went anyway.
As president-elect, Dwight D. Eisenhower went to Korea in December 1952. Obviously, Ike was no stranger to war zones, but he added the combined power of his military reputation and new civil office to seek a way to end the two-year-old Korean War.
Lyndon B. Johnson visited Cam Ranh Bay in South Vietnam twice, once in 1966 and again in 1967. His successor, Richard Nixon, visited American troops in Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, in 1969. Only a year earlier Saigon had been a target of the North Vietnamese Tet Offensive.
Ronald Reagan, who campaigned on building up American military strength after the Vietnam era, visited troops in the Korean demilitarized zone for Thanksgiving in 1983.
Reagan’s successor George H.W. Bush dropped in on troops deployed for Operation Desert Shield in Saudi Arabia for Thanksgiving in 1990. In January 1991 Desert Shield became Desert Storm as those troops went on the offensive to drive Iraq out of Kuwait.
Bill Clinton, who took political flak for not serving in the Vietnam era, visited troops not once, but three times — once in South Korea, twice in Bosnia.
George W. Bush, who presided over the start of America’s post 9/11 wars, visited troops in South Korea three times, Iraq four times, and Afghanistan.
And Barack Obama, whom Trump seems to consider his personal political nemesis, visited troops in Iraq once, South Korea three times, and Afghanistan three times.
Let’s not forget those early presidents who took their roles as commander-in-chief seriously.
In 1794 George Washington led troops against domestic unrest during the Whiskey Rebellion; James Madison attempted to rally Americans against British troops who were about to capture Washington, D.C., in 1814; and Abraham Lincoln went to one of Washington’s many forts in 1864 as Confederates were attempting to enter the city.
They understood that even the momentary presence of their president in a combat zone could inspire troops to steadfast action.
Sure, the United States has enemies around the globe. No doubt some of them would like to do harm to the American president.
But the CIA, FBI, and the intelligence agencies of our allies around the globe constantly work to intercept and thwart those threats.
Of course Trump has repeatedly said how he doesn’t trust those agencies, and he’s angered most of those global allies. That doesn’t mean they’re not doing their jobs, just that Trump doesn’t trust them.
And anything can happen — remember the guy who threw his shoes at George W. Bush?
But the point is, even surrounded by the best security, intelligence, and military forces in the world, Donald Trump is still afraid.
He seems to lead from a position of fear. He’s afraid someone won’t like him, that somebody has more money than him, or that another president had a bigger inaugural crowd.
Leadership is not something to be practiced from a position of fear. Fear transmits itself to those you’re trying to lead.
Hope and optimism work much better.
In 1933, at the worst moment of the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt gave the inaugural address Americans needed to hear.
Certainly you’ve heard this: “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”
Trump would do well to look at the examples of his predecessors, then re-examine his own style of leadership.