Dodging real problems only plunges America into deeper chaos
First Voice
U.S. President Donald Trump in the White House in Washington D.C. /AP

U.S. President Donald Trump in the White House in Washington D.C. /AP

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One week on, anger over the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American, still rages in the United States. 

Unfortunately, at a moment when the country needs to be united and shown a path forward, its leadership offers nothing. If anything, Trump's leadership or lack thereof, has plunged the nation into deeper chaos.

Destruction of property and widespread social turbulence would not be tolerated anywhere in the world. However, to many critics within the country, the approach the president has taken to address the issue has been deeply troubling.

To start with, there is no semblance of cool-headedness or any well-devised plan when it comes to how he has been responding to the widespread protests. In the article "Trump Has Gone AWOL During America's Crisis" published in National Interest magazine, the president is criticized for not having a "coherent policy" while trying desperately to present himself as a Mr. Ruffy Tuffy. What is his strategy for answering the grievances and uproar triggered by Mr. Floyd's death? - "Upping the rhetoric," as the article points out.

Since the protests began, the president has been shouting frantically and hysterically on Twitter about "LAW & ORDER" and threatening to send in the National Guard. So far, his rhetoric has only served to anger protesters even more. Issues they demand get addressed seem to have been dismissed out of hand.

In this national moment of mourning and rage in America, the president has again picked the wrong fights. The Washington Post published an article "As cities burned, Trump stayed silent — other than tweeting fuel on the fire" on June 1 which identifies those that have been attacked by the president so far - the Democratic mayor of Minneapolis, the Antifa movement, the "lamestream media" as well as former Vice President Joe Biden.

Demonstrators take part in a protest in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, United States, June 1, 2020. /Xinhua

Demonstrators take part in a protest in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, United States, June 1, 2020. /Xinhua

By Trump's telling, his administration"has done more for the Black Community than any President since Abraham Lincoln." And therefore the issue of racial injustice is not one that should be focused on during the current social disturbances. Instead, Trump believes that what's unfolding in America is a result of Democratic governors not being hard or forceful enough on protesters. Or the radical-left represented by Antifa exploiting an opportunity to wreak havoc on American communities. Or the "fake media" fueling hatred and division so that they could discredit his presidency. In short, none of these have anything to do with the president himself.

It can be seen that Trump does not in reality have people's interests in his mind. Even during this painful period, he attaches more importance to his political survival and the symbolism of his leadership than what the nation really needs. By trying to distract people's attention from the real issues America is facing, and by framing the movement as nothing but looting, rioting and destruction manipulated by his political rivals and enemies, he has been eager to pronounce that he is the one combating those evil forces, hoping to score a major political gain. 

Another illustration of Trump's instinct for scoring quick political points was his Monday visit to St. John's Church which he had only visited a handful times previously. As critics have pointed out, Trump's appearance there was only to seek a photo-op and project an image of strength at a time when he's been criticized by many for his response to the protests. And to make way for him walking to the church, police and the National Guard had to deploy rubber bullets and tear gas to clear peaceful protesters.

The Washington Post article "Trump's naked use of religion as a political tool draws rebukes from some faith leaders," published after his visit, notes the White House quickly released a campaign-style video after the episode. The president's disingenuous use of faith and religion has invited criticisms from religious leaders. The article notes that some have been furious that Trump "has exploited religion for political benefit while holding little if any personal allegiance to religious tenets."

In the final analysis, with the president's non-conciliatory rhetoric towards the protests, eagerness to call protesters "thugs" and framing of the movement as something cooked up by his political opponents, he has been all too willing to ignore the country's real pain, and attempt to exploit the current protests in America to his benefit. This is not only a painful moment for America, it saddens the world.

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