President Trump ignited a firestorm of criticism following his comments Friday at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). After Trump explained, “I’d rather have the people stay” on the 3,500 person cruise ship anchored near San Francisco with 21 coronavirus cases “because I like the numbers being where they are,” Philip Bump of the Washington Post asked in astonishment, “Which is Trump more worried about: Coronavirus numbers or coronavirus patients?” Shocked that the President would refuse to evacuate stricken Americans because that “will make the numbers go up,” a disgusted Chris Hayes of MSNBC lamented, “This is what happens when you elect a BS artist to the most important job in the country.”
Unfortunately, this is what happens when you have a media that is out of touch with both the American people and American history. As it turns out, many of the greatest presidents in the history of the United States showed exactly the same concern with “the numbers being where they are.”
Consider, for example, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In the run-up to the invasion of France on June 6, 1944, America’s only four-term president expressed his concern over the horrific casualties expected on D-Day. When U.S. Army Chief of Staff George Marshall warned FDR that day one of Operation Overlord could cost the allies 5,000 killed and another 20,000 wounded (most of them American), Roosevelt suggested keeping the 5,000-ship armada anchored off the coast of Normandy. Even one landing craft lost was a frightening prospect for a president worried about his reelection that fall:
“I have great experts, including our vice president who is working 24 hours a day on this stuff. They would like to have the people come off. I’d rather have the people stay.
“I would rather because I like the numbers being where they are. I don't need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn't our fault. And it wasn't the fault of the people on the ship either, okay? It wasn't their fault either and they're mostly Americans. So, I can live either way with it. I'd rather have them stay on, personally.”
Instead, FDR explained his “Bluff on the Bluffs” would distract “Little V1 Rocket Man” (his nickname for Hitler) while the Soviet Red Army advanced from Poland into Germany.