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A Disruptive President in a Storm of Crisis
President Trump speaks at the White House, May 22.
MANDEL NGAN/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

A Disruptive President in a Storm of Crisis

Walter Russell Mead

With less than six months until the November elections, the Trump administration faces a concatenation of catastrophes, crises and critics. The most dangerous pandemic in a century has kicked off an economic crisis more serious than the Great Depression, and it’s happening against the backdrop of a toxic political atmosphere, a global crisis of confidence among America’s leading allies, and the possible start of a cold war with China. We’ve never seen anything like it.

A normal president would be crushed under the burden; Donald Trump is still tweeting and playing golf. To some degree, the crisis enveloping the country and his presidency is his natural milieu. Theatricality has always been central to Mr. Trump’s political method. As an insurgent populist candidate, and as an incumbent who nevertheless wants to run as an outsider fighting an entrenched system, he thrives on conflict and drama.

Yet even for Mr. Trump there can be too much of a good thing. The cascading crises ricocheting across the world threaten to become so acute and so overwhelming that they upstage him. Manageable crises can make a president look big; unmanageable ones can make him look small. For Mr. Trump, looking small would be fatal.

Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal

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