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If you think Donald Trump is a bad President, you are giving him more credit than he’s due.

Trump is not only a bad President, because he is uniquely unsuited for the office he holds, his being President poses a far greater danger to the security of the United States and the entire world than most of us care to think about.

Here’s why I say that.

“Hope Through History” is the title of an informative podcast by Pulitzer prize-winning historian, Jon Mecham.

The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 is one of the subjects he discusses, and as I listened I realized that under Donald Trump’s leadership the unthinkable might well have become reality. That’s how dangerous he truly is.

For 13 days in October the world stood on the brink of a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union. To this day it is unsettling to consider just how close we were.

On October 16 President John Kennedy was awakened in the early morning with the news that American intelligence had irrefutable evidence that the Soviets had built several nuclear missile sites in Cuba.

For days Kennedy, his Cabinet, his national security staff, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and selected members of Congress discussed and debated what to do.

The dominant view, especially that of the military, was to bomb the sites followed by an invading force to secure the island.

General Curtis LeMay, Chief of Staff of the Air Force and commander of the Strategic Air Command went so far as to suggest that if the President did not agree to an attack he would be guilty of appeasement just as his father had been as the U.S. Ambassador to England when he supported Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement policies toward Germany.

According to eyewitness reports, JFK did not react to this inappropriate and provocative statement by LeMay. Instead, he kept his cool and continued to solicit the counsel of others, including his civilian advisors, several of whom were opposed to a military response.

We cannot take out every site in one bombing, they said, something the military agreed was correct. That meant the Soviets would have time to launch a strike on Washington and other cities and likely kill between 60 to 80 million people. It was also likely that they would immediately attack US nuclear sites placed in Turkey in 1961, a move to which our NATO membership required the US to respond with an attack on the Soviet Union itself.

In short, bombing the nuclear sites in Cuba might well ignite a nuclear exchange that could destroy civilization itself.

This story is a window into what governments do and the incredibly complex and dangerous decisions leaders of nations must make.

In the end, President Kennedy offered Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev a deal wherein the Soviets would remove its nuclear missiles in Cuba in exchange for the U.S. removing its nuclear missiles from Turkey. Putting those sites in Turkey in the first place had been interpreted by the Soviets as an unacceptable provocation that had led them to put their missiles in Cuba.

But here’s the key lesson the Cuban Missile Crisis teaches. The critical person at a time like this is the President. All decisions of this nature are made only by the person occupying the Oval Office. No one tells the President what to do. They give advice and then he or she decides, and when the decision is made, it must be carried out.

Fortunately for us and the world, John Kennedy was up to the responsibilities his office placed on him. He was smart enough, informed enough, mature enough, and had the temperament to sift through all the counsel he received in order to make the right decision.

Now imagine Donald Trump in that position, deciding the fate of the United States and the world.

Does anyone honestly believe we would have been in good hands? I shudder to think what would have happened.

Trump is not only not smart, and shockingly immature, he has no regard for facts and, thus, no interest in the counsel of others. He prides himself in following his own gut.  As he said in a Washington Post interview last year, “I have a gut, and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else’s brain can ever tell me.”

I supposed that is why he announced just this week he was removing US troops from Germany (a NATO ally) without any consultation with the military or NATO, just as he did in removing troops from Syria that led to General James Mattis resigning as Defense Secretary.

Had Trump been President in 1962 he would have likely followed “his gut” in deciding what to do about nuclear war with the Soviets. What could have gone wrong with that?

Now you see why the Trump presidency is far more dangerous and ominous than most of us imagine. What is more, we are hardly out of the woods yet. Crises are what Presidents deal within a regular basis. We have seen Trump’s failures regarding the pandemic and the protests that erupted after Geroge Floyd’s murder. Thus far his “gut” has not worked very well for the nation.

Making matters worse, Trump has made it clear he has no interest in doing the work presidents do. He likes the power that comes with the office, but actually governing is not something he shows much interest in, as John Bolton’s book apparently confirms. The only time he pays any attention to what his cabinet secretaries are doing is when they say or do something that reflects poorly on him.

In short, we have a man holding the office of the presidency who is not only unqualified, but has no interest in doing the work he is charged to do.

So this is where we are in June of 2020, and why when it comes to the election in November, liking or not liking Joe Biden is far less a concern than having Donald Trump as the man who gets to decide the fate of the nation and the world.

His voters, of course, don’t care about that. The rest of us must.