(April 23) It’s time for President Trump to imitate Lyndon Baines Johnson and stun the world by announcing he won’t run for reelection.

President Johnson made his famous announcement on March 31, 1968, less than a month earlier in the election year than Trump is right now. He did so as the nation faced a major crisis, as his own poll numbers were declining but not yet disastrous, and as people were questioning whether his actions related to the crisis were made with as much consideration of politics as of the best policy choices. He did so while knowing many still saw him as a slight favorite for reelection in the fall despite it all, but that his participation in the race might divert some of his efforts from governing to campaigning.

Substitute the coronavirus for the Vietnam War, and Trump faces similar circumstances. Indeed, Trump repeatedly has likened the fight against the pandemic to a martial effort, calling himself a “wartime president.”

In fact, Trump could repeat LBJ’s statement almost word for word, merely substituting “health” for “peace.”


“With America’s future under challenge right here at home, with our hopes and the world’s hopes for peace in the balance every day, I do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal, partisan causes, or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office, the presidency of your country. Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president.”

The country would, therefore, know that Trump’s decisions and focus are more dispassionate rather than self-interested, more public service than self-service.

But why would Trump do this?…

[For the answer to this question, and for the rest of this column, please follow this link.]




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