Friday evenings we go to church for ten minutes. That’s when the duo of Mark Shields and David Brooks speak with PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff about the events of the prior week. Almost every week we are buoyed by the thoughtful analysis.

Last night, on the topic of national leadership, Shields commented that a president has two opportunities to shine as a leader: 1) when everything is coming up roses — the economy is pumping, we are not at war, employment is high and happy days have come again; and 2) when there is a national catastrophe not of the president’s making and people are looking to the White House for solace from the Consoler in Chief.

Trump has blown both opportunities.

Donald Trump has failed at leading the country and failed miserably. He has been a sniper on the sidelines.

Mark Shields, PBS NewsHour

Even when a dire emergency calls for traits other than bellicosity, fighting is all he knows how to do.

Mona Charen, Ethics and Public Policy Center

Four years into the Trump administration, this fellow’s unsuitability to the job has led to the deaths of more than 125,000 Americans, the rapid unemployment of one out of every four Americans, and a crashing economy. This tin pot ruler even wanted to bring the military into American cities to fight unarmed citizens.

With a nation on edge, ravaged by disease, hammered by economic collapse, divided over lockdowns and even facemasks and now convulsed once again by race, President Trump’s first instinct has been to look for someone to fight.

Peter Baker, The New York Times

Just as the baffoon allowed entry to the cool kids’ club might prance in the outfit for a while, his unsuitability to the position wears out its welcome. It comes time to show the joker the door.

Suddenly, electing a television entertainer with no knowledge of history or experience of the world seems less amusing. Suddenly the desire to apply a wrecking ball to American politics seems less responsible and appealing amidst the ruins….This is the main and rather obvious lesson of Civics 101: if you elect a politician who is professionally incompetent and emotionally unwell, you will pay a price.

Michael Gerson, The Washington Post

It’s time to call this guy’s bluff. As Republican commentator David Brooks said in his recent op-ed column:

I thank God that Joe Biden is about to be nominated by the Democratic Party. He came to public life when it was about crafting coalitions and legislating. He exudes a spirit that is about empathy and friendship.

David Brooks, The New York Times

Empathy and friendship. Those sound like just the qualities that we need right now as individuals, locked in our homes and hidden behind our masks.

Empathy and friendship sound like just the qualities that the states need right now as they struggle to balance economic needs and the health of their resident Americans. And that Congress and the White House will need in order to craft real solutions that address our losing fight against the coronavirus, the economic depression, and a powerful new push for cultural change.

And empathy and friendship are certainly the qualities our international relationships need right now. More on that soon.

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