Even the most powerful office on the planet requires a level of humility and a willingness to admit when something goes wrong. President Donald Trump didn't get that memo.
Whether it's on Obama, the "fake news media," traitorous Republicans, the impeachment "hoax," or anything within even the most laborious reach, Trump can always find some person or entity on whom to pass the blame.
Such is the case with the global pandemic that's upended daily life in the United States. Trump has blamed Obama, China, state governors and others on what, ultimately, was his administration's failure to act despite numerous warnings that an outbreak of the virus in the United States was inevitable.
Conservative columnist David Frum—a speech writer for former President George W. Bush—isn't letting him forget it.
In a new column for The Atlantic titled This Is Trump's Fault, Frum points out all of the ways that Trump's actions—or lack thereof—created a national health crisis.
Frum listed all the ways in which responsibility for the crisis rests on Trump's hands, and that list is long.
"That the pandemic occurred is not Trump's fault. The utter unpreparedness of the United States for a pandemic is Trump's fault. The loss of stockpiled respirators to breakage because the federal government let maintenance contracts lapse in 2018 is Trump's fault. The failure to store sufficient protective medical gear in the national arsenal is Trump's fault. That states are bidding against other states for equipment, paying many multiples of the precrisis price for ventilators, is Trump's fault.
Air travelers summoned home and forced to stand for hours in dense airport crowds alongside infected people? That was Trump's fault too. Ten weeks of insisting that [the virus] is a harmless flu that would miraculously go away on its own? Trump's fault again. The refusal of red-state governors to act promptly, the failure to close Florida and Gulf Coast beaches until late March? That fault is more widely shared, but again, responsibility rests with Trump: He could have stopped it, and he did not."
But wait! There's more.
"The lying about the [virus] by hosts on Fox News and conservative talk radio is Trump's fault: They did it to protect him. The false hope of instant cures and nonexistent vaccines is Trump's fault, because he told those lies to cover up his failure to act in time.
The severity of the economic crisis is Trump's fault; things would have been less bad if he had acted faster instead of sending out his chief economic adviser and his son Eric to assure Americans that the first stock-market dips were buying opportunities.
The firing of a Navy captain for speaking truthfully about the virus's threat to his crew? Trump's fault. The fact that so many key government jobs were either empty or filled by mediocrities? Trump's fault. The insertion of Trump's arrogant and incompetent son-in-law as commander in chief of the national medical supply chain? Trump's fault."
A common Conservative talking point is that Liberals are hysterical for blaming Trump for a virus.
As Frum points out, they're not blaming Trump for the pandemic's existence, but for how his unwillingness to listen to trust anything other than his gut left the United States woefully unprepared.
People agreed: This is Trump's fault.
People commended Frum for the concision with which he pointed out Trump's ineptitude.
Time will only tell what other atrocities Trump's ineptitude will cause.
For more of David Frum's work, check out his book Trumpocracy: Restoring American Democracy, available here.