Then there are those decisions that remain in our minds, on our lips and in our hearts. They become part of our collective whole, woven into our American sense of self.
It was Lincoln who decided to force a civil war. It’s the FDR that entered WWII after Pearl Harbor. It’s Truman who agrees to establish the State of Israel. It’s Kennedy who’s blocking Cuba. It’s Ford forgiving Nixon. It’s Reagan who moves away from Reykjavik and decides to end the Cold War. Such decisions can change the course of American civilization; even change the course of human history.
President Trump is now facing this type of critical decision regarding the control of the Chinese coronavirus and the reopening of the US economy.
None of Shakespeare’s great figures – Othello, Macbeth, Hamlet, King Lear – each famous for his tragic decisions – could have handled this moment as planned.
Neither Shakespeare nor any fiction writer would place this choice in front of their protagonist. Yet he is the one fate has chosen for this president.
This situation is much more unique than those encountered by the other presidents mentioned above. All of these had the historian’s pages to flip for reference. It’s a first. Never in our era of post-industrial revolution has an economy decided to stop (as it has), no government has asked it to do so (the other part of the case). There is no manual, there is no precedent. This is a scenario on which no other leader can call and offer advice.
Joe Biden said he wanted to be helpful. Even if that were true, he has no experience to understand the burden now weighing on the president’s shoulders. The same could be said of former presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, George Bush and Jimmy Carter. All remained relatively silent. This is because the only human being who has experience managing a government-induced economic coma is the current occupant of the oval office.
It’s really Shakespearian (maybe Scorsese) in the way this arc of history is played out to this point in the president’s tenure. A rough and grainy New York businessman who defies all expectations when taking office despite a deeply hostile political establishment. It was just the beginning. He then continues to survive deep state attacks, a two-year witch hunt investigating baseless allegations, and finally his opponents try to remove him from office in the bitterest dismissal in the history of the nation. He lives through all of this while successfully provoking an economic renaissance in the country, and just as he seems to have emerged victorious, an old enemy, China, is launching the greatest challenge to date.
What is the challenge it faces? Simply:
Does he decide to reopen the U.S. economy to avoid a cataclysmic decline in America’s economic health that could last more than a generation (recognizing that this will lead to more cases of virus and more death), or does it double the strategy of containment and “wait” for the virus, hoping that the mitigation of the spread of the disease does not completely destroy the country?
It’s time for the new moment of President Trump’s Wollman ice rink.
Popularized in the The art of the deal, the story of Wollman Rink is the one I share in detail in my recent book, The MAGA doctrine. The Central Park ice rink, which was originally opened in 1950, had to be completely renovated in the early 1980s. New York City decided to undertake the project, and typical of everything run by bureaucrats and politicians, the project experienced massive delays and cost overruns. In 1986, there was no end in sight.
Businessman Donald Trump approached Mayor Koch and said to the mayor, in essence, “Give me the project, give me the ice, and I’ll be done within six months.” The city took the deal and the Trump team completed the project two months earlier and $ 750,000 less than the budget. Today it is a wonderful leisure center for New York residents and tourists from around the world.
Now, as President Trump faces the most important decision anyone in his office has made in decades, he must view it as his “Wollman Rink” moment; the one where he delivers a result that nobody could have expected, in record time, against the projections of all the “experts”.
Much has surfaced in the past week as to how some of the predictions and models for hospitalizations, intensive care beds and the overall death rate from this virus may have been misleading or exaggerated. These are the models on which the administration currently bases a large part of its decisions. This is not the place to recite these reports. They are easy to find. But whatever the final cost of this virus is not the only cost to consider.
The economy is shutting down every day, which means more suicides, bankruptcies, broken families and future lost. I believe that providence and fate have put President Trump in power exactly for this place and time, and I am confident that he will make the decision that will amaze his detractors, turn skeptics into believers and restore greatness again. of the American.
It’s time to get back to work, Mr. President, let’s build this ice rink.
Charlie Kirk is the author of New york times bestseller “The MAGA Doctrine: The Only Ideas That Will Win The Future” (Broadside Books) and host of “The Charlie Kirk Show.”