President Trump is a genius at making decisions — but only after the fact.
He’s the real-life Rambo who would have run into a school to confront a heavily armed shooter. (“I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon,” he said after the Parkland, Fla., school shooting.) He’s the omniscient terrorism analyst who would have gotten “Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than” the SEALS did, and even claims that “I pointed him out in my book just BEFORE the attack on the World Trade Center.” He’s the modern-day John Muir who would have raked the forests of California to prevent forest fires. He’s the reincarnation of Casey Stengel who would not have taken out Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill in the seventh inning of Game 4 of the World Series.
This is not called leadership. It’s called second-guessing. And, needless to say, it has no basis in fact.
There is nothing in Trump’s life as someone who received five draft deferments and even now refuses to visit U.S. troops in a war zone to suggest that he would ever voluntarily put himself in harm’s way — much less risk near-certain death by rushing with his bare hands to confront an active shooter.
There is no evidence that he ever advocated early action against bin Laden. (As noted by Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler, the sum total of Trump’s writing about bin Laden consisted of a brief reference in a 2000 book: “One day we’re told that a shadowy figure with no fixed address named Osama bin-Laden is public enemy number one, and U.S. jetfighters lay waste to his camp in Afghanistan. He escapes back under some rock, and a few news cycles later it’s on to a new enemy and new crisis.”) If it was so easy to find bin Laden, why hasn’t Trump, now that he is president, tracked down the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, or the leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri?
There is no evidence that Finland prevents forest fires by raking the forest — that is, as the Finns say, #RakeNews. Nor is there any evidence that California’s wild fires are due to state mismanagement of its forests. State and local agencies own only 3 percent of California’s forests; the federal government owns 57 percent. There is, however, a lot of evidence that global warming has raised the fire danger — but Trump remains in denial about that.
And, of course, there is no indication that Trump advocated keeping the starting pitcher in Game 4 before the Red Sox went on to score the game-winning runs off Dodgers relief pitchers. All you need to know about Trump’s athletic perspicacity is his abysmal mismanagement of the New Jersey Generals, the long-forgotten football team that he bought in 1984.
Trump is Walter Mitty in the White House: a milquetoast and an ignoramus in real life who is a dashing hero and “very stable genius” in his own rich fantasy life. He has claimed to know more than anyone on earth about, inter alia, renewable energy, social media, debt, taxes, banking, money, the U.S. system of government, trade, jobs, the “horror of nuclear” — and, of course, the military in which he has never served.
So convinced is President Second Guesser of his own superior virtue and perspicacity that he does not hesitate to cruelly mock those who have displayed actual heroism in real life. In 2015, he attacked John McCain for being captured by the North Vietnamese — an implicit second-guessing of the split-second decisions McCain made as a Navy pilot flying over some of the most heavily defended airspace in the world. A few months later Trump attacked the generals who had failed to defeat ISIS and suggested that he would do so with torture and indiscriminate bombing.
And on Sunday, he attacked retired Adm. William H. McRaven, the Navy SEAL who supervised the raid that killed bin Laden and who now has the temerity to criticize Trump’s attacks on the media. “Wouldn’t it have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than that, wouldn’t it have been nice?” the president said. Trump showed no awareness that it’s not the job of Navy SEALs to find wanted fugitives. That’s the responsibility of the intelligence community — and as soon as the spies had found bin Laden, McRaven’s men were spinning up for the mission.
Trump’s entire political career is based on second-guessing. For years he has been claiming that every major challenge faced by the U.S. government is “easy” to solve — including trade deficits, health care, empty factories, gasoline prices, China, Russia, illegal immigration. His assumption has always been that the only reason a solution had not already been implemented is that he was not president. Well, now he is. So, how’s that working out? Has he solved a single one of those problems? Nope. But he shirks responsibility in favor of second-guessing the decisions made by others. So much for his boasts about how easy it is to act “presidential.” That’s a feat he still hasn’t mastered.