This morning, March 30, 2020, I listened to portions of an exchange between President Trump and members of the Fox & Friends morning news team. This session convinced me more than ever that our President is terribly inept in expressing his thoughts in a tight, cogent manner. Each question addressed to him resulted in a virtual avalanche of words flowing on and around the subject at hand. It was as if he were asked to fire a rifle at a target, and, instead, he opened up with a shotgun or machine-gun; and when he finished firing the entire target frame was destroyed, whether or not he had actually hit the bullseye being uncertain. I did not disagree with the general thrust of his responses, but I was saddened by his tendency toward braggadocio and inability to be precise.
The President’s handicap in communicating thoughts and ideas is a definite impediment to his effective leadership, and it makes him more vulnerable to criticism. As often as possible he should stick to prepared statements. The more words he uses and the more he wanders off script, the more his words can be twisted; and Trump’s enemies love to twist anything he says. I believe, however, that Trump’s communication failures are not a reflection on his basic intelligence. I see it rather as a handicap, much like dyslexia, dysgraphia, or a speech impediment. The fact that he has achieved so much with such a handicap is a tribute to his determination, energy, and overall abilities. By the way, Trump’s communication style is actually helpful in his great political rallies in which emotions are more important than rhetoric.
I believe that Trump is probably aware of his weaknesses, touchy about them, and excessively sensitive to personal attacks. When criticized, he responds with even more scattergun like responses, often with ill-chosen words against those who assault him.
Despite his handicap and sometimes errant ways, I am convinced that our President is fundamentally a decent man who desires the very best for our nation.