No one knows until it happens how they'd react when confronted with a crisis, though it's often amusing to hear some describe the heroism they think they'd display when the pressure's on.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R), for example, appeared on Fox News this morning and reflected on what she would've done if she were in Parkland two weeks ago during its mass shooting. "When you have a school full of students, and your duty is to protect those students, if I was there and I didn't have a firearm, I would have gone into that scene," Bondi said.
Apparently, this hypothetical bravery extends to Bondi's ally in the White House.
President Donald Trump is telling the nation's governors that he would have run into the deadly Florida high school shooting "even if I didn't have a weapon."The president is again finding fault with officers who didn't stop the Florida gunman who carried out the massacre earlier this month. Trump said the deputies "weren't exactly Medal of Honor winners."He told 39 of the nation's governors, "I really believe I'd run in there even if I didn't have a weapon."
To borrow a Chris Hayes line, there is such a thing as "down-the-block tough." As Chris put it on his show several years ago, "You're familiar with the concept of down-the-block tough, if not the phrase. Down-the-block tough is when you start jawing with someone or get into a little fisticuffs, and once it's all over, and you've walked a block away from that person, you say, 'Yeah and your mother.'"
Given an opportunity to actually be tough, Trump shows weakness. But given an opportunity to reflect on the greatness of his imaginary toughness, Trump has quite a tale to tell.
For example, Donald Trump was a multiple-deferment draft dodger, claiming "bone spurs" kept him from serving heroically in the military. Decades later, the president divides much of his time between watching television and playing golf.
But in Trump's mind, he's effectively an action star. We're supposed to believe the 71-year-old president when he boasts to a room full of people that he'd run into a mass-shooting crisis, where he'd confront a teen armed with an assault rifle, carrying with him nothing but his wits and his bare hands.
Obviously, it's difficult to take such delusions of grandeur seriously, but I wonder, do Trump's loyalists actually believe such boasts? Do the president's supporters in uniform find such ridiculous chest-thumping compelling?
How is it, exactly, that Trump's toughness never emerges when it matters, but he's eager to tell us how tough he is when his boasts cannot be tested and come with no consequences?