Wartime Leadership Then and Now
Upon becoming prime minister of Great Britain in May 1940, Winston Churchill confronted the reality of a German airborne assault and a shortage of the tools to oppose it.
In January 2020, President Donald Trump also faced an airborne assault—not from bombers but from a virus. Trump too was without sufficient tools. The glaring difference in their responses focuses our attention on what it really means to be a wartime leader.
Churchill’s shortage was fighter aircraft, and he acted immediately upon becoming prime minister to attack his shortage. Trump’s shortage was coronavirus test kits, and given ample advance warning, he dithered. Churchill moved to manage the problem, while Trump moved to manage the narrative.
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