In times of national crisis, people look to the president for direction, reassurance and confidence. President Trump’s Oval Office speech on Wednesday night provided precisely the opposite. From the misstatements to the omissions to his labored demeanor, the president sent a message that shook financial markets, disrupted relations with European allies, confused his many viewers and undermined the most precious commodity of any president, his credibility.
This is a crisis not of the president’s making, but Trump has become the government’s least credible leader in the response to it. He is a cheerleader by nature, a president who is more comfortable dealing in exaggerations than facts. Trained scientists and medical doctors in government have sought to provide realistic assessments to the public. Trump has made false predictions and statements that contradict the experts.