- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the former airline pilot who landed the famous “Miracle on the Hudson,” penned an op-ed Monday attacking President Trump and the “cowardly” Republicans who enable him.

Mr. Sullenberger, writing for The Washington Post, boasted about his own courage and leadership in bringing all 155 passengers and crew to safety in an emergency water landing on the Hudson River in 2009. He compared that to where the country is today, purportedly being led by “fear, anger and hatred.”

“To navigate complex challenges, all leaders must take responsibility and have a moral compass grounded in competence, integrity and concern for the greater good,” the 67-year-old wrote.

“[The Hudson landing] was, in microcosm, an example of what is needed in emergencies — including the current national crisis — and what is possible when we serve a cause greater than ourselves,” he wrote.

Without naming Mr. Trump or any Republican in particular, Mr. Sullenberger attacked the “people in power” who lack “basic knowledge of history, science and leadership; and they act impulsively, worsening a toxic political environment.”

“Many are cowardly, complicit enablers, acting against the interests of the United States, our allies and democracy; encouraging extremists at home and emboldening our adversaries abroad; and threatening the livability of our planet,” he argued. “As a result, we are in a struggle for who and what we are as a people. We have lost what in the military we call unit cohesion. The fabric of our nation is under attack, while shame — a timeless beacon of right and wrong — seems dead.

“This is not the America I know and love. We’re better than this. Our ideals, shared facts and common humanity are what bind us together as a nation and a people. Not one of these values is a political issue, but the lack of them is,” he continued. “This current absence of civic virtues is not normal, and we must not allow it to become normal. We must rededicate ourselves to the ideals, values and norms that unite us and upon which our democracy depends.”

Mr. Sullenberger said he was a registered Republican “for the first 85 percent” of his adult life, but things have changed. He promised that on Nov. 6, he would vote for leaders “committed to rebuilding our common values and not pandering to our basest impulses.” He declined to name specifics.

“We cannot wait for someone to save us. We must do it ourselves,” he said. “This Election Day is a crucial opportunity to again demonstrate the best in each of us by doing our duty and voting for leaders who are committed to the values that will unite and protect us. Years from now, when our grandchildren learn about this critical time in our nation’s history, they may ask if we got involved, if we made our voices heard. I know what my answer will be. I hope yours will be ‘yes.’”

Mr. Sullenberger’s memoir, “Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters,” was adapted in the 2016 film “Sully,” starring Tom Hanks and directed by Clint Eastwood.

This isn’t the first time the famed pilot has spoken out against the president and his policies. Last August, he criticized Mr. Trump’s proposal to privatize air traffic control, saying it would make passengers less safe. In January 2017, he spoke out against Mr. Trump’s temporary travel ban on terror-prone countries.


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