It may seem silly to some — there are definitely other issues that we can put our focus on — but the week-long spat between President Donald Trump and the media over his refusal to admit fault in predicting Hurricane Dorian was heading toward Alabama showcases one tried-and-true trait that he exhibits:
He cannot, for whatever reason, ever say he’s sorry, or even admit fault when he’s wrong.
That’s a problem, as many observers have recounted in the past few days.
“Great presidents admit when they’ve screwed up, they fix it, and they move on,” presidential historian John Meacham said, in an opinion piece authored byAssociated Pressfrom the
In other words, the small misstep by Trump could have dire consequences, especially in the future. As for right now, it could induce a panic within a state where no such reaction is necessary.
The attention of the president could also be put elsewhere, and his continued rants about who was right or who was wrong over the projected trajectory of the storm may result in him ignoring its real impact.
Nine tweets. Five maps. A sharpie-doctored Oval Office display. A national security council statement. Lots of presidential griping. As Dorian crashes into SC, POTUS is focused on defending his inaccurate claim about a threat to Alabama. W/@ToluseO: https://t.co/3MWoO3mMSr
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) September 6, 2019
“There’s a very real, a very real humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Bahamas, and a dangerous hurricane is threatening the mainland U.S.,” late-night host Seth Meyers explained, per reporting from Mashable. “Meanwhile, the president is obsessing about a map he doctored to defend an embarrassing mistake that he is now repeatedly lying about.”
This sort of behavior isn’t new for Trump, of course. As a Netflix series detailing the lives of the so-called Central Park Five became popular earlier this year — and even several years after the five were exonerated of any wrongdoing within that case, through DNA evidence and many other reasonings — the president still insists they’re guilty.
“You have people on both sides of that. They admitted their guilt,” Trump said in June, Deadline reported (the five men, then teenagers, were reportedly coerced by investigators to admit they had been a part of the act so they could go home to their families, unaware that what they were doing would result in long-term prison sentences).
Trump hasn’t even admitted fault, or said he was sorry, for his role in promoting birtherism, the conspiratorial and errant claim that former President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States. Trump did, in the 2016 campaign, say that Obama was born in the country, but shifted blame, wrongly, to his political opponent for supposedly starting the rumor.
Months after he won and became president, he reportedly also restarted the lie, again insisting that he had doubts about Obama’s citizenship status to individuals he spoke with at the White House, reporting from Vox detailed.
Again, for some issues, Trump’s refusal to apologize or admit he’s wrong doesn’t change much. On others, however, it wrongly deviates the attention in a place that isn’t deserved, and diverts resources toward promulgating Trump’s lies in order to placate his ego.
Having a humble individual, one that admits when they’re wrong or have messed up, should be a trait that every American insists the occupier of the White House exhibit. For Trump, it’s a sign of weakness — but many citizens, I suspect, view such a trait as not only strong, but as needed, in order to promote good and decent causes, rather than personal vendettas.