Nov. 18 (UPI) — At first, comparisons between Woodrow Wilson and Donald Trump as presidents a century aside would appear misplaced. The one commonality was that each have been confronted with pandemics: the Spanish flu of 1918-20 and COVID-19 of 2020.
The primary got here on the finish of World Conflict I at a time of nice disruption and civil unrest in America with huge arrests underneath the Sedition and Rebel Acts used to repress all types of dissent. By the point the Spanish flu dissipated, almost 700,000 of 106 million Individuals died.
Up to now, over 11 million Individuals have been contaminated and a quarter-million have died in 2020. However vaccines are coming into the distribution part. The world just isn’t at conflict. And Individuals usually are not topic to deprivation of civil liberties for criticizing the federal government, the flag or males in uniform.
Wilson was an mental, faculty president, governor and an internationalist. Trump may by no means be thought-about an mental as an actual property developer and tv superstar. And his coverage of “America first” and withdrawal from quite a few worldwide organizations and agreements put him within the firm of isolationist Republican senators who rejected Wilson’s League of Nations and the Versailles Peace Treaty.
But, each Wilson and Trump had an awesome deal in frequent. Each have been contaminated by their respective pandemics, Wilson way more severely. Each have been in denial. Wilson refused to acknowledge the Spanish flu pandemic. And probably as an after impact of contracting it, suffered a debilitating stroke. For the final 12 months of his time period, his spouse, Edith Wilson, was appearing because the de facto president.
Trump additionally was in denial. He first selected to downplay the seriousness of the virus in order to not “alarm” the general public. Through the presidential marketing campaign, he repeatedly claimed we have been “turning the nook,” though report ranges of infections and hospitalizations have been being surpassed on daily basis. Given month-to-month manufacturing charges for essentially the most promising vaccine of 25 million to 30 million doses, with two doses required for over 300 million Individuals, it may take almost two years to finish the vaccination program, even when a second drug got here on line.
Up to now, regardless of failed authorized makes an attempt to reverse the election outcomes, the president has not accepted his defeat. Not like Wilson, who had many months left in workplace, Trump has 9 weeks. As Wilson couldn’t accomplish something, what would possibly Trump determine to do earlier than President Joe Biden takes workplace on Jan. 20?
A number of constructive actions may improve the president’s legacy. First and most significantly, he may authorize the transition course of to start out. Denying the president-elect intelligence briefings and the sources mandated by the Presidential Transition Act is infantile, petty and harmful. The teachings of the 2000 election by which 5 weeks have been misplaced earlier than the Supreme Court docket awarded George W. Bush Florida and the election are related. Because the 9/11 Fee tartly concluded, that delay harm the transition and the nation.
Second, in 2016 when Trump took workplace, the state of the union was sound. President Barack Obama prolonged the president-elect each courtesy. And, required by legislation, the brand new crew was briefed on potential crises, together with a pandemic. Trump may emulate that and particularly chorus from taking any actions reminiscent of ordering a hasty, 12 months’s finish exit from Afghanistan or signing govt orders that can complicate the following administration’s agenda, probably proscribing its choices.
Third, Trump could possibly be gracious and start the method of closing the massive political divides and animosities that divide America and each events.
The perfect consequence could be for Trump to emulate Woodrow Wilson and purposely incapacitate himself over the approaching weeks by refraining from making selections until a disaster intervenes. That extends to firing senior appointees that his 30-year-old director of personnel believes are insufficiently loyal to the president or who should be punished for previous transgressions.
Biden has sufficient on his plate. Mockingly, when he and Obama took workplace, each have been dealt the worst hand of any president since FDR and the Nice Despair. The monetary meltdown of 2008 and two unwinnable wars topped the record of these challenges.
By comparability, 2009 appeared like the great outdated days.
COVID-19, financial misery, two infinite wars nonetheless in progress, intractable political variations, a hostile Russia and China and America’s worldwide repute in tatters are what a Biden administration faces. However will that make a distinction? Or will Trump do his worst to make sure Biden fails by not following the instance of Wilson and let another person run the nation for the approaching weeks?
Harlan Ullman is senior adviser on the Atlantic Council and writer of the upcoming e book, “The Fifth Horseman and MAD: How Large Assaults of Disruption Endanger, Infect and Engulf Us and the World.”