A Leader is one who shows the way.
Listening to the wireless yesterday, I happened to hear part of a speech / response to a question by President Trump on the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Allegedly some 100 men, women, and children were killed by Sarin Gas / and or Chlorine Gas, on Tuesday of this week. This ‘massacre’ took place in Khan Sheikhoun, in the rebel-held Syrian province of Idlib, allegedly the ‘massacre’ was carried out by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
Russia says this atrocity was caused by gas leaking from a terrorist / Syrian rebel chemical weapons depot.
Sarin Gas is particularly nasty stuff, invented by Hitler’s boffins, odourless and deadly in 10 seconds, it’s a perfect terrorist weapon. The use of Sarin was banned in 1997 under the UN chemical weapons convention. Chlorine Gas will also kill you pretty quickly, and obviously chlorine isn’t banned, but chlorine stinks. The 1925 Geneva Protocol specifically prohibits the use of Gas in Warfare, but apparently allows the use of chemical weapons within a state’s own borders in a civil conflict. So it wouldn’t actually be completely illegal for Syrian forces to use Chlorine Gas on rebels in Idlib Province.
However, the rights, wrongs, culprits, retaliations, and possible solutions for this terrible incident wasn’t what struck me about President Trump’s words during his Rose Garden Press Conference. My first thought was that Mr. Trump didn’t sound ‘Presidential’. His presentation skills were, quite frankly, terrible.
Strictly speaking, this wasn’t a ‘presentation’ by President Trump, but anytime a President of The United States of America speaks, shouldn’t he radiate authority, clarity, confidence, gravitas, and complete command of his brief? For me, Mr Trump just sounded like an amateur speaker at a golf club tournament.
The President committed the cardinal sins of deviation, hesitation, and repetition. I have a strong feeling that Mr. Trump speaks totally ‘off the cuff’, and ‘shoots from the hip’. At the same time I believe that Mr. Trump has spent far too long using facile social media such as Twitter, and not long enough reading modern history written by statesmen such as Winston Churchill.
Listen to one of Mr Churchill’s great speeches, such as the ‘Finest Hour’, and then listen to Mr Trump on Syria, and note the differences. If you like, you can also listen to someone like the actor Morgan Freeman, who sounds far more ‘Presidential’ than President Donald Trump.
The question is; does sounding and acting like a great president, make you a great president? Well, partly it does. Some say that John F. Kennedy was a great president, and that his greatest speech was his 100 days speech. All I know is that Kennedy ‘sounds’ like a great President, and sadly Trump doesn’t, not quite, not yet. Although Mr Trump does have a pretty cool sense of humour, and maybe that’s why a woman like Hillary Clinton couldn’t get herself elected.
Some say that a man should ‘fake it to make it’, and that looking and sounding like a leader is nine-tenths of the battle. All I know is that presentation skills are part of urban survival skills and something every man should learn.