Yes, Wehner makes an ad hominem argument, but he supports it by actions that demonstrate a problem with character. He couldnâ€™t make the argument if Trump had acted otherwise. And Wehner places the argument in a larger social context in which character matters. This is not vituperation. Itâ€™s epideictic for a time of reflection.
Taken together, this is a massive failure in leadership that stems from a massive defect in character. Trump is such a habitual liar that he is incapable of being honest, even when being honest would serve his interests. He is so impulsive, shortsighted, and undisciplined that he is unable to plan or even think beyond the moment. He is such a divisive and polarizing figure that he long ago lost the ability to unite the nation under any circumstances and for any cause. And he is so narcissistic and unreflective that he is completely incapable of learning from his mistakes. The presidentâ€™s disordered personality makes him as ill-equipped to deal with a crisis as any president has ever been. With few exceptions, what Trump has said is not just useless; it is downright injurious.
The nation is recognizing this, treating him as a bystander â€œas school superintendents, sports commissioners, college presidents, governors and business owners across the country take it upon themselves to shut down much of American life without clear guidance from the president,â€ in the words of Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times.