On Wednesday's edition of MSNBC's "Deadline: White House," former GOP strategist Steve Schmidt laid into President Donald Trump for his leadership failures.
"What do you think of the fact that he has yet to show any capacity to grieve?" said host Nicolle Wallace. "I mean, we have lost thousands of American lives that would not have otherwise been lost but for this pandemic."
"Oh, his failure of leadership is nearly total in this," said Schmidt. "First, it's the obligation of a leader to be able to present facts to the people that he or she leads, to give a cold, clear analysis of the facts of the situation. When the British were forced to retreat from Dunkirk, Winston Churchill, in his famous speech where he said, 'We'll fight on the beaches, we'll fight on the fields, we'll never surrender' — he didn't go and say that the British had had a great victory. He leveled with the people. Trump, with his denial of this, is responsible, in the end, for worsening the problem and causing a lot of suffering."
"Two, he is dishonest," continued Schmidt. "His briefings are profoundly confusing. They're disorienting. They fuel panic. They fuel anxiety. He's uncertain. He's unsteady. He's an unsteady captain of the ship. He's unable to control his emotions. We've seen him lashing out in anger. We've seen him finger-pointing. We've seen him blame-gaming. We've seen him exhibiting all of the qualities that you don't want to see in a leader in a crisis."
"Lastly, he lacks the moral capacity to lead," said Schmidt. "He lacks the ability to reckon with the American people and ask them to do something. He abandoned any pretense a long time ago about trying to be the leader of all of the nation. He is a factional leader who's been at war, stoking a cold civil war by one faction of the country against the other for more than three years. And you see all of his incapacities for leadership, which include the ability to show empathy, to show love, and to put his self-interests behind the national interests."
"We've seen that time and time again," Schmidt added. "It is who he is. He is a person just profoundly deficient in the qualities of temperament, leadership, for the capacities that you need to have in a leader for this moment."