Friday's HOT MIC
Roger's point about Trump and presidential morality is probably close to being correct. Trump's personal morality is no better and no worse than most modern presidents.
But I don't think you can link personal morality with the moral leadership of a president. The latter brings in civic virtue and qualities like honesty, prudence, courage, and a sense of justice. Possessing that kind of moral leadership allows a president to convince citizens of the righteousness of his cause and builds support for everything from his domestic agenda to war fighting.
I don't think moral leadership is as important as it used to be. Good thing, too, as I believe it to be Donald Trump's most serious deficiency as a president. This may be significant going forward as only the kind of moral leadership that most citizens recognize in a president can head off what is shaping up to be a war of extremists fought in the streets of America.
Antifa thugs and white supremacists are arming themselves, growing in numbers and organization, and more than eager to confront each other violently. At present, it's with clubs, rocks, and other hurled objects. But with both sides now bringing guns to rallies and protests, how long will it be before the bullets start flying?
What is desperately needed from Trump, he cannot give. He no longer has credibility as a leader and is not recognized as a moral figure. He makes zero attempts to unite us, preferring to play patty cakes with extremists, who have raised him up to be a hero and savior.
Is that his fault? Yes it is. Any number of conservative leaders over the past 40 years have refused to play the extremists' game and have categorically, without reservation, condemned them. Trump is not singularly responsible for the rise of the radical right. But he's done nothing to try and force them back under the rock from which they crawled.
Antifa is a law enforcement problem and they are immune to any kind of moral argument or appeal to moral authority. But the white supremacists can be marginalized by a president who not only rejects their agenda, but rejects them as well. Can Trump convince ordinary Americans that he means it? Not likely.