Mayors, Generals, and Journalists Vie for Most Dishonorable Response to Nation’s Crisis

June 9, 2020 Updated: June 10, 2020


In the chaos of the past two weeks, most of the corrupt, interminably incumbent Democratic municipal regimes were exposed as useless and cowardly.

Minneapolis’s pathetic adolescent mayor, Jacob Frey, panicked and whetted the appetites of the urban terrorists of whose presence he had formerly been unaware, by abandoning a police precinct and effectively encouraging the immediate destruction by fire of almost 200 businesses.

Having tolerated an inferior police force that should have screened out the killer of George Floyd, he deserted them with the precinct abandonment, and then was booed out of a general meeting of his ostensible partisans for declining to pledge to abolish the police.

This was the upstart who told Trump that Minnesota was a Trump-free zone last year; the sooner that it’s a Frey-free zone, the better.

Washington’s mayor, Muriel Bowser, is proud of her “mural,” the painting of “BLACK LIVES MATTER” on two blocks of the principal road approaching the White House. Black Lives Matter includes a branch that is proud of having murdered white policemen; spelling words in paint on a street isn’t a mural, it’s nothing to be proud of, and the mayor of the capital city of the United States should know that all lives matter.

The antics of New York’s incompetent mayor, Bill de Blasio, generated a public blow-up with the governor, Andrew Cuomo, who has plenty to answer for on his own account, and with the police commissioner, Dermot Shea, who accused the mayor of inciting attacks on the police by his appeasement of the urban terrorists.

De Blasio and Los Angeles’s mayor, Eric Garcetti, both announced cuts to police budgets in the week that saw the worst riots in the history of either city (in terms of quantum of damage, not fatalities).

Counter-intuitively, in Chicago (where 18 people were victims of homicide on May 31), Mayor Lori Lightfoot accurately said that police unions are an obstacle to progress.

U.S. police generally often harass African Americans excessively. The Democrat Party has governed Chicago without interruption for 91 years, and the city is so corrupt, it’s a wonder that the roofs haven’t been stolen off the public buildings. The murder rate is stupefyingly large, some predominantly African American sections are no-go areas, and the prosecution rate is very low, even for the most heinous crimes.

The infamous Jussie Smollett case is indicative of the cesspool in the Chicago courthouses. Reform from the ground up isn’t going to come easily in any of these cities. While the congressional Democrats’ new police reform bill has some merit, most police activity isn’t a federal jurisdiction. Defunding the police is an insane concept.

Visiting St. John’s Church

I am one of those who thought the president’s pledge in his address of June 1 to use the military if necessary to restore order in the country’s cities and to protect peaceful protest, and his walk to the presidents’ church carrying his family Bible, the day after the church was the target of an arson attack, were appropriate.

He was instantly and spontaneously denounced for a “photo-op,” and he was attacked for tear-gassing the demonstrators in Lafayette Park and for fusillades of rubber bullets to clear them. Ivanka Trump was denounced on CNN for being “in high heels and carrying a purse.”

Of course, there was no tear gas, there was pepper-sprayed smoke, which isn’t remotely as offensive, and there were no bullets of any kind. The crowd was not “peaceful”; they were aggressive, had no right to monopolize the park, and Attorney General William Barr ordered the park cleared when he was the target for a smoke-bomb hours before the president’s walk-through.

CNN didn’t explain why the president’s daughter needed to alter her attire; not everyone has to dress like a ninja and carry a baseball bat when they go out of doors.

Television commentator Chris Cuomo earnestly asked: “Where does it say protesters have to be … peaceful?” In every relevant statute; this is the same Cuomo who referred to Antifa after its debut in 2017 at Berkeley and in Portland, Oregon, as “legitimate reformers.”

This is the great liberal death wish in action.

The president made the right speech and the right gesture: Churches and people’s right to use them, peaceful protest, public and private property, and the public spaces of the country will be protected; riot, arson, looting, and general assault will be discouraged with whatever means are required.

When the local authorities fail, as most of them did, the federal government will fulfill its Constitutional mandate to assure “domestic tranquility” and, in accordance with the statutes dating from Jefferson’s Insurrection Act of 1807, will maintain order in America.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of that, and the momentary hysteria that caused the normally judicious anti-Trumper Peggy Noonan to announce that the president was doomed and should resign, and others to caterwaul even greater idiocies, was mainly the puling of hypocrites and the howls of those who sympathize with lawlessness.

The Generals

The Democrats were ingenious in organizing so many retired military officers to speak out impetuously against what they represented as the temptation of the president to use the Armed Forces against the American people as if the people were, in the words of retired Clintonite Adm. Michael Mullen, “an enemy of the state” (as if Trump had ever suggested that).

One expected more than the sour grapes of recently fired cabinet-level officials from such formerly distinguished officers as Gens. James Mattis and John Kelly. President Trump did them the high honor of appointing them secretary of defense and of homeland security and White House chief of staff. They apparently had both policy and personality differences with the president, but they owed him the courtesy not to be useful idiots for Democrats, with whom they disagree on every conceivable national and domestic security issue.

Their conduct in this crisis is, like that of so many others from whom one expected more, a disgrace.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper should be fired as soon as convenient, for gross and gratuitous insubordination. Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who was a hundred times more distinguished than Esper, was dismissed by President Harry Truman for much less egregious dissent (and he was correct, strategically—“in war, there is no substitute for victory”).

The roll of dishonor from eminent people is lengthy. The Episcopalian bishop and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington both made gratuitous and insolent remarks about the president’s visit to St. John’s church and to the St. John Paul II shrine. All such places should always be honored by the visit of any president of the United States and the outbursts of these two leaders of their faiths in Washington are an ecclesiastical outrage.

Fortunately, it’s inconceivable that any of their followers will pay any attention to them. Colin Powell shouldn’t count on swaying many votes either; he’s entitled to his laudations of Joe Biden, but should not imagine that he’s now remembered for much except his pledge that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

The Journalists

We naturally expect less from journalists than we do from generals, bishops, and admirals. But we do expect some level of intelligent reflection from some senior commentators. David Brooks’s solemn dismissal of the president indicates that his judgment isn’t much improved since he was so impressed 12 years ago with the sharp crease in Barack Obama’s trouser leg, which satisfied him that Obama would be a fine president.

George Will’s dislike of Trump is well-known and is understandable, but the origins of his confidence that the president and his party will be easily defeated in the election are harder to discern.

Last week’s champion for asinine remarks by a commentator who normally knows better is a draw between David Gergen of CNN for writing that Joe Biden’s battle with his own inadequacies is heroism on the scale of Franklin Roosevelt’s struggle with polio, and Mara Liasson of NPR for her comments equating, on its 76th anniversary, the Allied landings in Normandy with an Antifa riot.

This is the most fanatically fought American election in history and the protagonists represent radically different courses for the country. The idea that those whom I’ve just mentioned would be so zealous in their desire to elevate a party that committed the greatest constitutional crimes in American history to try to deny this president’s rightful election is a stirring confirmation of Trump’s motive in running for the office originally: to drain the swamp and dismiss the entire governing political class of Washington.

To quote Oliver Cromwell: “They came here to resolve the nation’s grievances and they are now the nation’s greatest grievance. In God’s name, go.”

Conrad Black has been one of Canada’s most prominent financiers for 40 years and was one of the leading newspaper publishers in the world. He is the author of authoritative biographies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, and, most recently “Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other.”

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.