Richard Elzey compared former president Donald J. Trump to Washington and Lincoln in a recent letter to the editor. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mr. Elzey’s arguments included Trump put America first, did not take his pay like Washington, and made other countries pay their fair share.
A strong part of Mr. Elzey’s argument is tied to his military service in the Korean War, reverence for the American flag and disagreement with those in the sports world who “should be shipped out or flown out” for not honoring our flag. He elaborated on his time aboard ship and feelings when he returned. I respect Mr. Elzey’s service, but also realize that we who serve protect free speech, regardless of whether we agree with it or not. I served as a Marine for 25 years, from Vietnam to Desert Shield.
As for Mr. Trump’s worthiness to be compared to our greatest presidents, he doesn’t pass muster. Donald Trump won a keenly contested election in 2016, over a very unpopular opponent. He quickly demonstrated he represented only his base and continued to hold rallies throughout his term. The financial situation at the beginning of 2020 was so strong that reelection was likely. Then the bottom fell out – the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Trump first called the pandemic a “Democrat hoax,” downplayed the advice of his medical advisors and told us “a miracle would happen.” As the hospitalizations and deaths piled up, he be- came more distant and reverted to a proven strategy of appealing to his base. This resulted in people not wearing masks and attending “super-spreader” events. One at the White House resulted in the president testing positive. He received treatment that included medications not approved for the general public. The president exhibited little interest in the pandemic and totally stopped attending meetings of his team or briefing the nation. He became focused on the upcoming election, vowing he would only accept the results if he won.
Mr. Elzey wrapped up his analysis with his own spin on “the big lie.” Trump actually won the 2020 election. His rationale– President Trump held rallies with “thousands and thousands” and he was way ahead at 3 p.m. on Nov. 3. In fact, casual voters count as much as enthusiastic ones, and no one ever set 3 p.m. as closing time for counting the votes. Using Mr. Elzey’s logic, it was rigged because all the votes were counted. He then castigated the Supreme Court for not overturning the vote. After all, “This is what we put them in for, not to shy away from their duties.” First, “we” do not put them in, the president nominates them, and they are confirmed by the Senate. Mr. Trump actually appointed three of the nine justices during his one term in office. The Supreme Court cannot violate the law to placate a president who does not understand it.
To make matters worse, after President-elect Biden was declared the winner, President Trump just complained about the results and played golf. The low point in his final two months of office occurred on Jan. 6, 2021, when he incited a mob to attack the Capitol, for which he may still face prosecution.
If Mr. Elzey wants to make comparisons, I suggest that he read Washington, A Life by Ron Chernow, about our first president; and Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, about our 16th president. Then he could read Rage by Bob Woodward about former president Donald J. Trump.