At the age of 12, I remember excitedly boarding a United flight from Cleveland to Miami with my father. He was going to preach at our family home parish the following day and invited me along.
During the flight, I explained to the flight attendant that I wanted to be a commercial pilot and asked to visit the cockpit. Returning a few minutes later, the flight attendant invited me to follow her. As I exited my seat, my father grabbed my arm and said sternly, “Now, listen here, Mr. Hard-headed. When you get up there, keep your hands in your pockets. Got it?”
Once in the cockpit, the captain asked my name and introduced the crew. He then said, “If you want to fly commercial, you have to be proficient in several subjects,” and proceeded to write down algebra, calculus, geometry and trigonometry. Stunned because I hated math, I responded, “Why do I have to be good in math? I just want to fly the plane like you.”
The captain laughed and began drawing a diagram showing the length of our departure runway. He explained how the knowledge of math and computers were critical in calculating his takeoff speed, which was based, in large part, on the weight of the aircraft. He then calculated how much fuel he expected to use during the flight and how that revised aircraft weight, along with the length of the assigned runway in Miami, would determine his landing speed.
Handing me the sheets of paper, he wished me luck. I returned to my seat, very sad with the realization that in order to become a pilot, I would have to embrace math. My father asked me what was wrong, and I shared my conversation. He simply said, “Well, damn,” and went back to sleep.
So, what is the difference between that 12-year-old child in 1974 and the 73-year-old current occupant of the White House? Donald Trump believes he can fly a plane, be an epidemiologist, economist or scientist. Trump is also pretending to be a president. He is as clueless in the Oval Office as I would be in a cockpit.
Just look at where we are as a nation because of a president without common sense. Had President Barack Obama publicly uttered even one sentence of the nonsense that comes out of his successor’s mouth, he would have been impeached and removed from office. Indeed, the process would have been instigated and led by rightfully indignant Democrats. A Republican majority in both Houses would have had to scramble to lead the charge. Democrats would never tolerate such craziness and disrespect for the Constitution and blatant abuses of power. The GOP Party of Trump will.
Contrary to what the president was saying as recently as a few weeks ago, the coronavirus was never a “Democratic hoax.” Truth be told, developing countries have counted votes more quickly than Democrats did after the last Iowa caucus. If Democrats could not release final results in under two weeks, how could we have possibly pulled off a hoax of this magnitude?
The U.S. unemployment rate jumped to 14.7 percent in April, the highest level since the Great Depression. As many businesses shut down or severely curtailed operations to try to limit the spread of COVID-19. The Labor Department has reported that 20.5 million Americans abruptly lost their jobs, wiping out a decade of employment gains in a single month.
Today, more than 80,000 Americans are dead from COVID-19. In response, President Trump has encouraged scientists to explore injecting Americans with Lysol and other disinfectants. In the funeral industry, that is called embalming. On May 7, we were told that a vaccine is not needed and that “it will simply go away.” When asked how he knows this, President Trump pointed to his brain, as if that is comforting to anyone. Communities without test kits are being encouraged to reopen.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, now under “modified quarantine,” and other pandemic and health experts are selectively muzzled or dismissed by the administration. Secret Service agents and senior White House staff have tested positive for COVID-19. The president, however, refuses to lead by example and wear a mask either publicly or privately.
President Trump blames his predecessor for not developing tests for a virus that did not exist when he was president. The wannabe emperor in the White House has no clothes, brain, compassion or empathy. He also has no common sense. But do we as Americans? November will tell. No American should not be comfortable with Donald Trump in the cockpit of United Flight USA.
Cooper is president of Cooper Strategic Affairs, Inc.