Writing in Rolling Stone this Monday, Sean Wilentz contends that the worsening fallout from the coronavirus pandemic coupled with the worst racial unrest in decades has confirmed Donald Trump to be the worst president in history. But according to him, “two incidents amid the turmoil suggest that Trump, having made a career out of shafting justice, might finally pay the price.”
First was the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers — an event that “may prove the equivalent, for this generation, of the pictures from a half-century ago of police dogs attacking peaceful black protesters in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963, or of the tear-gassing and beating of black voting-rights marchers at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, two years later,” Wilentz writes.
Then there was the “battle” of Lafayette Square on June 1st, which “dramatized the authoritarian essence of Trump’s presidency” which “may well be a turning point that leads to his downfall and repudiation.” That was followed by Trump’s infamous photo op in front of a vandalized church where he held up a bible as a “prop.”
According to Wilentz, Trump had “misjudged the moment.”
“Trump may wish — and many pundits suspect — that the politics of 2020 will repeat those of 1968, and that the president can channel Nixon, deploying fear and racial resentment in order to win re-election,” Wilentz writes. “In fact, though, the battle of Lafayette Square and the politics surrounding it evoke a very different time and a very different Republican president, not a winner.”
Read the full op-ed over at Rolling Stone.