Protests, fear, and uncertainty are sweeping across the country. Americans are looking for someone who can lead, listen, and heal. The murder of George Floyd is the sign of a broken system, one that does not work for every American. To end the protests and begin fixing the system requires a president who seeks to unite all Americans, not through fear but through understanding and compassion. Unfortunately, we do not have a president up to the task. Instead of trying to calm fears, he causes them. President Trump’s response to George Floyd’s murder and the ensuing protests has been atrocious. His response not only divides Americans now, but is also likely to hurt him at the ballot box this November, making the chances of him pulling off an unlikely victory much lower than in 2016.
President Trump was presented with a golden opportunity to show the nation that he could be a good and strong leader, maintaining peace during a time of crisis. He squandered that opportunity and instead chose to divide. Instead of recognizing why protesters were taking to the streets, he threatened to shoot Americans for looting.
In another instance, the president forced his way to St. John’s Church in Lafayette Square in Washington D.C. to pose holding a Bible. To make the photo-op possible, police officers and other security personnel used tear gas and other weapons considered to be “non-lethal” against a group of peaceful protesters. The president got his picture and the peaceful protesters got tear gas.
President Trump is now facing attacks from unlikely sources, over his unacceptable response to the protests.
Twitter, President Trump’s preferred mode of communication, took action against Trump’s tweets for the first time in the last few weeks. President Trump became incensed when Twitter added a disclaimer fact-checking the president’s incorrect and inflammatory statements about the vote-by-mail.
Twitter went further when it flagged President Trump’s tweet about shooting looters for “glorifying violence.” Instead of taking it down, the platform restricted the tweet from being retweeted or liked.
Taylor Swift, one of the most influential women in the world, never once directly mentioned President Trump in a tweet until 2020. She, like many Americans, was disgusted by the president’s rhetoric. Swift, with a Twitter following larger than President Trump’s, shared an impassioned response seen by millions.
Taylor Swift is not the only one that sees President Trump’s poor response for what it is. Current and former military leaders have spoken out against President Trump’s response to George Floyd’s murder and racial injustice. The Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley spoke out against his presence at Trump’s photo-op in front of St. John’s Church. Defense Secretary Mark Esper broke with Trump over using active duty troops to quell protesters. In an op-ed, 89 former defense officials spoke out against Trump, saying the military must never violate our constitutional rights. President Trump’s military leaders continue to distance themselves from the president and his policies.
Americans have an unfavorable view of President Trump’s response to the protests. A recent Morning Consult poll of 1,624 registered voters found that former Vice President Joe Biden leads Trump 47% to 30% among all voters when it comes to addressing racial inequalities. Biden leads Trump among all voters on the issue of police reform 44% to 32%.
In the Morning Consult’s daily presidential tracking poll, it found that only 32% of voters give President Trump positive marks for his response to the protests, while 56% of voters rated his response as “only fair” or “poor”. Only 14% of black voters gave Trump positive remarks for his response to the protests.
In a recent Monmouth poll, Biden leads Trump among all voters 52% to 41%. The gap of support between Biden and Trump continues to widen. Biden’s lead, which was only by 3 points in March, has now grown to 11 points. Moreover, 52% of voters polled expressed confidence in Biden’s ability to handle race relations, while only 40% of voters expressed confidence in Trump’s ability to handle race relations.
The year 2020 is shaping up to be different from previous years, especially 2016. In 2016 President Trump was running for a vacant seat against an unpopular Democratic candidate, with no crises to address and no responsibilities as president. President Trump now has to carry four years’ worth of baggage of division, anger, and lies to the 2020 election. He is now receiving criticism from people with platforms arguably larger than his own, such as Taylor Swift, he is losing the support of his generals in his response to protests, and is facing roadblocks to tweeting whatever lies and threats he wants from his own Twitter account.
The presidential election is quickly approaching. The most salient issue for Americans right now is racial injustice. President Trump is performing dreadfully on addressing that issue. His failed leadership on other issues such as the mishandling of coronavirus and its economic effects demonstrate that when the country needs him to stand up and lead, he cannot. His ineptitude as a leader and his inability to heal the country at this time of great crisis will only continue to hurt his chances of reelection. As we approach the halfway point of this year, 2020 is looking nothing like 2016 for Donald Trump, and that should make him very nervous.
We’ve had enough of Trump’s failed leadership. One of our efforts to defeat him in November is our campaign, Republicans for a New President. Join us in helping restore good and moral leadership to the White House.