First and foremost, the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia is terrible and heartbreaking. The violence in Charlottesville should be condemned as fast as it happened and justice should be swift and harsh as well.
With that said, events of this nature are generally addressed swiftly by government, especially the White House. President Obama spoke to the nation soon after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012, in a prepared and very poignant manner; not the case with President Trump.
President Trump has proven, again and again, his inability to work with his advisers and cabinet members on issues of national interest, especially when addressing the news media; and Charlottesville is no different. With President Trump’s initial comments concerning Charlottesville, the White House was once again scrambling to explain what the president meant. This after-the-fact response is becoming the norm rather than the exception. However, not before the media and other political figures quickly jumped on the bandwagon to criticize and politically capitalize, good or bad, on President Trump’s comments.
The tendency for President Trump to speak on the fly keeps his White House staff on their toes. This causes the White House to come back with prepared statements to clarify the president’s message and perform damage control. This after-the-fact, reactionary response only serves to convey the dysfunction at the White House and a president out of control. This chaotic display undermines not only President Trump, but the country as well.
What this comes down to is simple, President Trump does not know how to be a president. A president should convey the sentiment of the nation concerning events like Charlottesville. President Trump does not seem to realize the need to condemn such activities quickly and the very important need to rally the spirits of the country in the face of a national tragedy. This is further compounded by President Trump’s off-the-cuff nature and the lack of a centralized strategy when addressing the nation, as well as the world.
The nation looks to the White House during events like Charlottesville for leadership, direction, and the appropriate message. The communication from the White House should be coordinated, compassionate, and strong in situations like Charlottesville. Not a mixed message that undermines the President of the United States. At this point, one would think President Trump would learn from his mistakes and work with White House staff to address sensitive national issues accordingly. This brings to light the underlying issue of Donald Trump’s ego and narcissistic persona which does not allow him to see or believe he can make mistakes.
President Trump’s lack of understanding in a centralized, coordinated, and professional White House is alarming. Furthermore, the president’s inability or outright disregard to confer with his staff should be a major concern for all American’s. The message President Trump needs to hear, this is not about Donald Trump, it is about an entire country and the need for unity when addressing the nation, as well as the world. President Trump should understand this is about something much larger than himself, something Donald Trump’s ego is incapable of understanding. Only time will tell, hopefully Donald Trump will not only learn something about himself but what it means to be the President of the United States.