President Donald Trump. Picture: AP/Evan Vucci
President Donald Trump. Picture: AP/Evan Vucci

No one seriously looks to the US for leadership any more

It feels like this would be a good time for a bit of leadership.

A global pandemic is terrifying millions, share markets are plunging, an oil war has erupted between Saudi Arabia and Russia. It's becoming increasingly difficult to buy a roll of dunny paper.

It would be a good time to be able to trust and rely on those whose job it is to manage such fast-moving, unpredictable, dynamic crises, whether it be at local, national or international level.

Even if you hadn't voted for them, even if they were from a different political flavour. It would be nice to believe they possessed a basic baseline intelligence, compassion and vision to steer us through these troubled waters.

All of which brings us to US President Donald Trump. And also to the two blokes who want to replace him, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

It's got to the point where it doesn't really matter what Trump's politics are. He could be left, right, up, down. It doesn't matter. He is beyond morals and ethics.

He is beyond politics in the fundamental sense that he cares for nothing other than his own ego and what a plunging stock market or a coronavirus means for his re-election chances.

Trump gave a press conference on the weekend at the US's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.


He was there to talk about the US response to the coronavirus. A response which many experts have declared to be wholly inadequate so far.

Let's start with the fact he wore one of his red campaign hats while discussing something this serious. Then he managed to refer to the "perfect" phone call to Ukraine's president which led to his impeachment when talking about a test for the coronavirus.

Then he started talking about how clever he is, because he had an uncle who was a top scientist. Like the gene for science has somehow been handed down the generations. His quote is worth repeating.

"I like this stuff. You know my uncle was a great person. He was at MIT. He taught at MIT for, I think, like, a record number of years. He was a great supergenius, Dr. John Trump. I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors said, 'How do you know so much about this?' Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president."

What do you do with that? It's deranged. And it's dangerous. This is a bloke who shouldn't be allowed to operate a kettle without adult supervision and he's, allegedly, in charge of America.

Despite a truly questionable track record, Trump looks set to win the 2020 election. Picture: AP/Mike McCarn
Despite a truly questionable track record, Trump looks set to win the 2020 election. Picture: AP/Mike McCarn

Yet, there's every chance that November will see him re-elected for four more years at age 74.

No matter that, just in this term, Trump has, among many, many other things, been ordered to pay $US2 million for misusing charitable funds, paid a $US25 million settlement to victims of his fraudulent university and seen many of the people who worked on his campaign go to jail.

And why is he still a chance? Because the US is deeply divided and because the Democrats will turn to either Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

After Tuesday's latest primaries, Biden is warm favourite to become the nominee. But Biden is 77 and appears to be undergoing severe cognitive decline.

He struggles to complete entire sentences, last week confused his wife and sister and managed to mangle possibly the most well-known sentence in US history: "We hold these truths to be self-evident. All men and women created by - you know, you know, the thing."

Then there is Sanders. He is 78, had a heart attack last year and, by US standards, is much too left wing. Yet he still seems the sharpest mentally of the three old men still running to be president.

For as long as anyone can remember, the US president has been referred to as the leader of the free world.

No one seriously looks to the US for leadership any more. And the world is a poorer place for that.