by Steve Adubato, PhD
Once again Donald Trump offers a classic "Lesson in Leadership" on how not to lead. Trump continually says and does things that make it clear he lacks the temperament, demeanor and the emotional intelligence to lead this country. Now,
I’m not comparing him to Hillary Clinton who clearly is challenged when it comes to the need to be truthful and honest about her own mistakes, particularly regarding the use of a private email server when she was Secretary of State. Rather, I’m talking about comparing Trump to any reasonable standard of decent human conduct for a person in a position of leadership and responsibility.
In this latest example, Trump is aggressively trying to make the case that a sitting Federal Judge named Gonzalo Curiel should recuse himself from hearing the Trump University case – a suit which has been brought against Trump for allegedly running a scam that fleeced people out of their money while offering no real educational value. The reason Trump argues Judge Curiel should not hear this case is simply because the Judge’s parents are Mexican and, as Trump keeps saying, his proposal to “build a wall” on the Mexico border somehow conflicts the Judge. What Trump ignores is the fact that Judge Curiel was born in Indiana and is a bonafide American citizen just as much as Trump is. Further, Trump argues that a judge with Muslim heritage – even if he or she is an American citizen – would be biased against him as well.
His logic isn’t just flawed, it is downright un-American. It’s also racist and bigoted. Further, when you look at his temperament and demeanor as a potential leader of this country, consider that he is taking a private business matter and playing it out in the media as a candidate for President of the United States even though this case has no bearing on the lives of millions of people (many of whom are looking to Trump for a reason to have hope – not for him to settle personal vendettas.) It’s pathetic.
Trump is actually saying that a judge shouldn’t hear a case simply because of his or her ethnicity – even though this particular judge has received nothing but praise while on the bench. Think about that. By those standards a female judge shouldn’t hear any case involving a female defendant. What about Italian American judges? Should they not hear a case involving a defendant accused of Mafia activities because, of course, that judge would be inclined to be lenient on the defendant? Drawing that conclusion is crazy and either Trump knows it and makes his outrageous comments any way or he is so dense and ignorant that he doesn’t recognize the error of his ways. I don’t know which is worse, but either way, what is particularly scary on the question of leadership is that even though he’s been roundly criticized from every circle – including conservative Republicans who endorsed him like Newt Gingrich, Paul Ryan (who said this is “the textbook definition of a racist comment”) and Mitch McConnell – none of the backlash matters to Trump.
Bloomberg News has reported that Trump even insisted his staff and surrogates double down and go after Judge Curiel as well as any reporters who challenge them on the Curiel issue and told them to ignore any advice about backing down or changing course. So here’s the leadership problem… even if Trump is dead wrong, even if all of the evidence makes it crystal clear that he made a terrible mistake, Donald Trump says; “Screw you. I’m staying the course. I’m sticking to my guns because I don’t apologize!” Some people call that being strong or not being “PC.” I call it simply being arrogant and stubborn. I call it the height of hubris.
Could you imagine if he were president making mistake after mistake, yet choosing to stay the course – even when it was abundantly clear the course was wrong and that bad things would happen by continuing to move forward – all just because; “Donald Trump doesn’t apologize.” Truly exceptional leaders admit their mistakes and learn from them so they don’t make the same mistakes again.
Like I said, I’m not a fan of Hillary Clinton’s and she has real problems when it comes to recognizing the truth and she would be a very flawed leader, but this situation with Donald Trump is a very different story. This is no isolated incident. Trump has been refusing to apologize for his mistakes for almost a year. In fact, he did it when he accused President Barack Obama of not being a citizen. Even after the President produced his birth certificate, Trump still refused to say he was wrong. We’re talking about something very dangerous and scary. It’s a pattern. It’s a character flaw. It’s a real leadership deficit to say the least. A lesson in leadership? Absolutely. Donald Trump offers the most graphic lesson of everything you DON’T want in a leader.