The Costs of Presidential Candor

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Predictably, Donald Trump was attacked both by the establishment and the media as “crude,” “unpresidential,” and “gratuitous” for a recent series of blunt and graphic statements on a variety of current policies. Oddly, the implied charge this time around was not that Trump makes up stuff, but that he said things that were factual but should not be spoken.

Trump’s tweets and ex tempore editorials may have been indiscreet and politically unwise, but they were also mostly accurate assessments. That paradox revisits the perennial question that is the hallmark of the Trump presidency of what exactly is presidential crudity and what are the liabilities of presidential candor?

Concerning the catastrophic California Camp Fire (150,000 acres) and the Woolsey conflagration (100,000 acres), which in turn followed prior devastating California fires in spring and summer of 2018 (perhaps charring 1 million acres in all), Trump tweeted: “There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”

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