As the leader of the free world during a historic pandemic, the president of the United States has his work cut out for him. Not only is he on the front lines of the war against COVID-19, he is responsible for uplifting the American spirit every day with positive reassurance and economic relief measures. Donald Trump is not only the nation’s president; he is effectively America’s pastor.
As a pastor, I preach to my congregation regularly, provide pastoral counsel to them in distressing times, and help arrange help for those in need. President Trump does the same thing for the American people through his frequent media events and briefings on our progress in the fight against the invisible enemy. It is a different anointing; he has his calling and I have mine but we both guide our flocks, therefore we both are shepherds.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the president has used every tool at his disposal to slow the spread of the virus and give our healthcare professionals a chance to care for its victims without becoming overwhelmed by a flood of critically-ill patients. His early restrictions on travel from China and other COVID-19 hot spots saved countless lives, and the emergency financial relief his administration brokered for individuals and businesses across the country has been instrumental in helping Americans weather the storm of business closures and stay-at-home orders necessitated by this virus.
The White House has also worked closely with state and local leaders, not only to provide critical assistance to shore up their healthcare capacity as COVID-19 cases surged but also to guide them as they work to return to normalcy. Here in Florida, our outbreak curve has been successfully flattened thanks to such cooperation, and Gov. Ron DeSantis is confident about our economy being able to fully reopen soon.
Government assistance and guidance are necessary, but America also needs a leader who cares for his people the way a pastor cares for his flock. We can only overcome these crises as a community, and President Trump’s unfaltering message of positivity, courage, and optimism gives the American people faith that there is, indeed, “light at the end of the tunnel,” and that America, under the blessings of our Lord, will emerge from this challenge stronger and more united than ever before. Just as a pastor strengthens a community through constant communication and engagement, the president lifts American spirits through his frank and upbeat messages conveying both the seriousness of the task at hand and the inevitability of our eventual victory.
Let us be frank, despite the usual harsh and baseless criticism, he has fulfilled promise after promise. Every American who needed a ventilator received one; millions of small businesses received forgivable government loans to help them keep workers on the payroll; workers who did find themselves temporarily unemployed are receiving generous emergency assistance, including an extra $600 per week in benefits; and working families received direct relief payments of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child to help them weather any disruptions the pandemic might cause in their lives.
The president also understands and values the importance of spiritual leadership in helping guide Americans safely through a crisis. That’s why he has spent time consulting with us religious leaders from all over the country to discuss a strategy to safely bring back in-person religious worship. Florida’s reopening process is not only about economic recovery, but about restoring the communities of faith that have been kept apart for so long — and President Trump understands that.
Achieving the perfect balance between serving as our president and serving as America’s shepherd (pastor) is a tough job, but Donald Trump has managed it marvelously.
Dr. Alberto M. Delgado is the Senior Pastor of Alpha & Omega Church in Miami, Florida.