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Tue Sep 1, 2020, 02:44 AM

Trump Is a Coward, by William Saletan (Slate)

Trump Is a Coward

Biden calls the president weak on crime, Russia, and the coronavirus. Trump proves him right.

One of Trump’s biggest frauds is that he’s a strong leader. He says he’s tough on China, tough on borders, and tough on looters and anarchists. But when toughness really counts, he’s craven. He sucks up to Vladimir Putin, writes love letters to Kim Jong-un, begs Xi Jinping for help in getting reelected, and causes thousands of deaths by refusing to face a catastrophic virus. On Monday, Joe Biden launched a frontal assault on Trump’s cowardice. And Trump, in a press conference afterward, validated Biden’s indictment.

Trump thinks the recent wave of violence in certain cities—some of it related to protests against shootings by police—can help him change the subject from COVID to law and order. Biden, speaking in Pittsburgh, directly addressed that issue. “If Donald Trump wants to ask the question, ‘Who will keep you safer as president?’, let’s answer that question,” said Biden. “When I was vice president, violent crime fell 15 percent … The murder rate is up 26 percent across the nation this year under Donald Trump.”

Biden argued that in street clashes between left- and right-wing extremists, real political courage consists of standing up to the miscreants on your own side. Trump hasn’t just failed that test, Biden said; he’s ducked it. “He’s got no problem with right-wing militia, white supremacists, and vigilantes with assault weapons, often better armed than the police,” said Biden. Trump’s “failure to call on his own supporters to stop acting as an armed militia in this country shows how weak he is.”

Biden coupled this attack with a scathing assessment of Trump’s appeasement of Russia. “The Kremlin has put bounties on the heads of American soldiers,” said Biden. But “instead of telling Vladimir Putin … that there’d be a heavy price to pay if they dare touch an American soldier, this president doesn’t even bring up the subject in his multiple phone calls with Putin.” Biden also pointed to reports that “Russian forces just attacked American troops in Syria, injuring our service members. Did you hear the president say a single word? Did he lift one finger? Never before has an American president played such a subservient role to a Russian leader. It’s not only dangerous. It’s humiliating.”


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