Presidents Forge Their Legacies in Crises

Historians in the News
tags: president, Donald Trump, national emergency, coronavirus, crisis

Riding Air Force One with President Trump back to the nation’s capital on Monday afternoon felt eerily like that grim day in 2005 when President George W. Bush was flying to the White House to confront the catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina.

As the legendary blue-and-white Boeing 747 soared above the clouds, the televisions on board were tuned to wall-to-wall news coverage of a country in crisis below. The ravages of the coronavirus and the market meltdown this week, like the ravages of that storm 15 years ago, played out on the screens for hours — urgently, relentlessly, inexorably, inescapably.

Then and now, there was a palpable sense of a besieged leader confronting a whole new reality, that the world had suddenly changed and so had his presidency. Seen fairly or not as out of touch so high in the sky, Mr. Trump like Mr. Bush before him landed and headed to the White House to take on a challenge he had not fully recognized at first. In each case, the president then headed to the cameras to reassure a country that was not at all convinced.

Read entire article at New York Times

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