The day Joe Biden made an arduous and risky flight to Israel, I rubbed my eyes to read the account of another president’s mission to a remote land.
This one was to North Dakota.
Enroute to a campaign rally in Fargo, N.D., then-President Donald Trump had the ear of the state’s junior Republican U.S. senator, Kevin Cramer.
A good time for policy talk, you’d imagine. But no. Trump wanted Cramer to do some crowd-size spitballing.
Elton John had just played the arena where he was to appear, Trump observed. What gate did he get? Did Cramer think Trump would outdraw him?
The anecdote is in the 2022 book, “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future.” Authors Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns dissect the end of Trump’s presidency and his bid to nullify what democracy wrought in 2020.
In recent days we have observed what it means to have a statesman in charge when statesmanship is in order.
“Rarely is the contrast between the leadership of the two political parties as clear,” writes Washington Post columnist Dan Balz.
Balz was comparing Biden’s urgent sense of mission to Republicans’ flaming derogation of duty in a paralyzed House.
Balz could just as well have been comparing Biden to the undisputed and barely challenged GOP front-runner for the presidency.
While Biden was delivering a solemn message as leader of the free world in his Israel visit, Trump was being threatened by a judge with jail food for violating his gag order.
While Biden called for the people of Israel not to be consumed by blind rage, Trump was a full-color portrait of it.
Whether in Washington and Florida under federal charges, in Georgia or New York under state charges, or in a civil trial where fraud has put the Trump Organization in mortal peril, Trump cannot resist comments that have alarmed judges and targeted civil servants.
Speaking of civic service: When the Gaetz mob in the House says it seeks to do “the people’s business,” it is thinking only of one person, really, the man who birthed the Big Lie in advance of being trounced at the polls, the man who couldn’t win legally and who now faces organized crime charges over his attempt to rewrite reality.
In the House, Rep. Jim Jordan might have harvested a few more votes toward being speaker had he gulped hard and acknowledged Biden’s victory. It was one olive too far.
Well, thank goodness for that. The last person we need sitting behind Biden at his next State of the Union is a perspiring insurrectionist who has never passed a bill and lives only to serve as inquisition master for MAGA fantasists.
Thank goodness we have a president who takes his job seriously, who reads the intelligence, who asks tough questions, who doesn’t need grade-school illustrations for this policy stuff to make sense.
In the face of the horrors wrought by terrorists on the people of Israel, thank goodness that Biden was on the scene to speak to them and for suffering innocents of Gaza.
His advocacy, our advocacy, is a key reason why aid is now flowing into that fear-torn land. May these events cause the world to focus even more intently on addressing needs on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide.
Trump hasn’t said a constructive word about these events, though he’s worn out his shift key on his phone; The attack on Israel “WOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED IF I WERE PRESIDENT.” How so? He has no idea.
At this point, let us return to North Dakota and what Sen. Kevin Cramer thinks of Trump today.
As Martin and Burns report, the senator was aghast at what Trump did leading up to Jan. 6, and that Trump did nothing to protect the Capitol and all of the civil servants therein.
In Cramer’s anger, he bucked Trump and voted to certify Biden’s election, telling the authors that Trump “had behaved in a grossly irresponsible manner.”
Grossly irresponsible, yeah. But do you think Elton John could draw a mob sufficient to overturn an election?
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.