Trump Tries On The Mantle Of 'Wartime President'

Consider the experiences of "wartime presidents" since FDR, including Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and both Presidents Bush, before deciding you want to be a wartime president.

On March 18, in the midst of a presidential news conference on the coronavirus, Donald Trump compared himself to a "wartime president."

This president has never been shy about casting himself in heroic roles. But his attempt to adopt the military mien raised more than a few eyebrows under the circumstances.

When a reporter referred to the battle against the virus as a war, Trump picked up on it immediately. "It is the invisible enemy," he said. "I view it as, in a sense, a wartime president."

Some of the commentary that followed dwelt on how Trump sat out Vietnam, the war of his own draft-age youth, with deferments for college and then for bone spurs in his foot (a diagnosis The New York Times has reported came from a doctor who was a tenant of Trump's wealthy father).

Others recalled candidate Trump : "I know more about ISIS than the generals do." Since then, he has been equally flattering." But the several generals who served in Trump's inner circle in his first two years in office — including chief of staff John Kelly, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Adviser and H.R. McMaster — are all conspicuous by their absence now.

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