With Riots Threatening the Nation, Trump Navigates Multiple Crises

June 3, 2020 Updated: June 4, 2020


President Donald Trump spoke for 99 percent of Americans in denouncing the tragic and criminal death of George Floyd and for approximately 90 percent of Americans in denouncing, in about equal voice, the widespread looting and arson in more than a score of America’s greatest cities.

He avoided partisan reflections in his eloquent remarks from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on May 30 and from the Rose Garden of the White House on June 1.

Instead of allowing him to speak for the country, as is the customary deference to presidents, the wall-to-wall Democratic national media downgraded the very extensive violence, prattled on about the right to peaceful protest—which the president specifically upheld—and accused him of tear-gassing peaceful demonstrators in order to enjoy a photo-opportunity as St. John’s Church, beside the White House.

The peaceful protesters were protesting against a state of affairs—not one person in the entire country defends the actions that caused the death of George Floyd. The Democrats, led (in a stretched use of that word) by Joe Biden, effectively sided with the rioters, uttered the usual bunk about sources of discontent and comprehension of the frustration that causes righteous people to “lash out,” and railed at the president.

The president appropriately walked to “the church of the presidents” to demonstrate symbolically the accessibility of public places to the people that he has promised to restore. CNN accused him of tear-gassing the “peaceful protesters” and reproached him for not entering the church.

Anderson Cooper, Erin Burnett, and the venerable Bernard Shaw gave a rank, partisan, bowdlerized summary, imputed nasty motives, twisted Trump’s words, and failed to mention that the demonstrators had launched projectiles, refused to retreat when asked, and threw a water-bomb at the attorney general, who on his own authority ordered that the White House perimeter be widened.

There was no tear-gassing, mounted policemen did not ride into the crowd, and CNN did not mention that the church was boarded up because rioters the previous night had tried to burn it down.

In the vacuum created by the feeble Biden candidacy, the main networks apart from Fox have taken over the anti-Trump campaign and are emitting outright partisan fiction round the clock.

Their behavior highlights the gripping drama created by Trump’s unrelenting promise to smash the cozy bipartisan coalition that ruled post-Reagan Washington; took good care of Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Hollywood; and gave the “basket of deplorables” (Hillary Clinton’s term) of half the country the flat-lined “new normal” of no increase in real income.

Legal and political factors have become inextricably intertwined, and the jury of the electorate will have to sort it out.

Simultaneous Crises

It is for times so complicated and challenging as these that national leaders are chosen, and in such times that they prove their competence or reveal their inadequacy.

No president in U.S. history could have effortlessly navigated simultaneously a public health pandemic and consequent massive economic slowdown; a series of difficult and sometimes insolent challenges from the United States’ only serious rival among the world’s nations; followed by filmed exposure of such a disgusting act as the killing of Floyd, which raised the worst recollections of racial discrimination and police brutality; followed by large demonstrations and looting, arson, and assault on a scale not seen in the United States in more than 50 years.

Comparisons with the ’60s are misleading. Then, there were more than 500,000 conscripts in Vietnam, with 200 to 400 coming back in body bags every week and no national security rationale for the war nor any plausible exit strategy. There were terrible racial upheavals following the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, and the pent-up resentment of centuries—the legacy of slavery and segregation—erupted like a pressure-cooker.

President Richard Nixon is invoked because of his promise in 1968 to restore law and order, but the comparison is tenuous. Nixon was running against chronic general violence, in which hundreds of people were killed in racial and anti-war rioting that had been a regular and widespread phenomenon for over a year. The violence was generally confined to poor areas.

Now, after 50 years of immense progress by the African American community including the election and reelection of an African American president and relative public calm for decades, this outburst is the exploitation of unanimous public revulsion at a terrible act, super-charged by massive rioting and pillaging.

Coordinated Violence

It isn’t angry grieving over Floyd or even mob rage, but skillfully coordinated precision looting and vandalism, directed by cell phone and supported by pre-positioned weapons and Antifa medics.

It is a paramilitary operation mounted by a group that enjoyed the inane support for an unconscionable time of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Christopher Cuomo, and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (the former deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee and personification of the drift to the far left of the Democrats), who is prosecuting the police officer who killed Floyd. The president was right to brand Antifa as a terrorist organization.

Former President Barack Obama, Biden, Pelosi, Sen. Chuck Schumer, and the Democratic television networks have all whitewashed the hooligans and terrorists, tried desperately to blame it all on Trump, and attributed over-energetic agitation to America’s imperfections. The cowardice and incompetence of many Democratic big city regimes have been laid bare, especially the contemptible mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, who was accused of bungling even by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (who is far from blameless himself).

It’s a deepening chasm between two entire socio-cultural sections of the country. Somewhat as Trump wrenched the Republican Party away from the post-Reagan, Bush–McCain–Romney Dem-look-alikes, the Democrats have more quietly shifted, under Obama and his loyalists, from the New Democrats of the Clintons to the virulently anti-American far left, while trilling the virtues of the brave new socialist and anti-Caucasian America they conjure.

Right Course

Trump hasn’t been frazzled or overcome by the intensity of these crises. He has responded rationally and firmly to the Chinese, including their abrupt breach of their treaty with Great Britain over Hong Kong. China is a great power we have to abide. But the lassitude of previous administrations incited the Chinese to imagine that they could dominate central and eastern Asia, Australasia, and the Western Pacific while continuing to dump goods, manipulate their currency, and steal the intellectual property of other countries.

The patient firm course now being charted will disabuse them of that course.

The country is also on the right course exiting the coronavirus shutdown. Those with challenged immune systems who reside in homes for the elderly must be better protected, and those who act autonomously must be thoroughly warned to avoid situations in which they could be afflicted.

Everyone else should resume normal life as soon as the present disturbances have been quelled.

The test-and-trace regime that is supposedly going to be imposed will be an almost complete fiasco. Monitors are to call those who test positively and will require to know whom they have seen recently, then chase up those people and demand that they self-quarantine. No sane person could imagine that any such system will achieve anything except great public irritation.

The one important point the president has neglected to make was that the apparently imperishable scandal of still occasional police abuse of minorities must stop, and standards of police training and conduct must be improved and made uniform, backed by the incentivization of civilized behavior and the severe penalization of police brutality.

The president has a winning hand as long as he doesn’t become flippant or reckless; remains bulletproof on race issues; keeps crowding the Democrats into their corner of socialism, softness on crime, and open borders; and can bring the economy back quickly without a serious COVID-19 spike.

He is defending the America of everyone from Grandma Moses, Norman Rockwell, and Walt Disney to George Patton, Douglas MacArthur, and Ronald Reagan. He may not be the commander that all those whose interest he’s now leading would choose, but he is the commander the American people have chosen.

He’s all that stands in the way of a Biden presidency, and he must succeed.

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.