David Brooks: …I found it an enraging week. We sat here many years ago, when we saw images of Katrina and bodies floating in New Orleans. And I think both Mark and I felt a deep sense of anger.
And I feel a deep sense of anger that our government has responded so badly.
And, frankly, it’s — this is what happens when you elect a sociopath as president, who doesn’t care, who has treated this whole thing for the past month as if it’s about him, how do people like me, minimizing the risks, does the stock market reflect well on me, and he hasn’t done the things a normal human being would do, which was to, let’s take precautions.
Let’s do the backup things we need to do. Any president would sit down with his team and say, people will suffer here. Let’s get ready.
And he’s incapable of that. And he’s even created an information distortion field around him. Even today, the press conference today was all his propaganda. It wasn’t honest with people.
And then with Yamiche’s perfectly good question about an agency, maybe he didn’t know when that part of the National Security Council was shut down, but he should know about it by now.
And so the fact that he wasn’t even aware of this is a sign that nobody is willing to tell him bad news. And we have got a dysfunctional process at the heart of the administration at a time of great national crisis.
Mark Shields: …America First fails. If there’s ever a time for international cooperation, collegiality at a personal and national level, professional level, this is it.
I mean, I think if Americans were informed and put to the test, whom do you want — who do you want in charge of this, this epidemic, Dr. Tony Fauci or Donald Trump, they would — anybody who have watched would say Dr. Tony Fauci.
I mean, he’s knowledgeable, he’s straight, he’s direct, he’s candid, he’s thoughtful. He’s everything that we want.
The president is impulsive and uninformed. He has misled the people that it was contained. Any president of the United States saying he’s going to leave Americans on a boat docked off of California, rather than bring them ashore for treatment because they might — because it would increase the number of people, would hurt his numbers, would hurt my numbers, that’s somebody not lacking in empathy.
That’s somebody with an empathy void. And it just — to me, it’s — I think it’s a seminal moment in the Trump presidency, when we realize, in spite of my 401(k) having been terrific, now all of a sudden it’s at jeopardy, and he really puts the nation at jeopardy and the health of my family and my friends at jeopardy [links added; “Shields and Brooks on Leadership in a Time of Crisis,” PBS NewsHour, 2020.03.13].
Leaders with conscience would resign over leadership this bad. Family and staff with conscience would push such failed leaders to resign and let competent, caring professionals take their place.