Editorial: Trump’s outrages of the week
While governors, health care workers, first-responders, essential businesses and many others have rolled up their sleeves to help Americans meet the Covid-19 pandemic as adeptly as they can, President Trump continues to undermine the nation’s efforts to reduce the number of American fatalities or to put the appropriate measures in place to get the economy re-opened.
To see Trump’s failings so blatantly is to truly understand how incapable he is for the office he holds.
Consider that just this week:
• He lashes out in a coronavirus meeting on Monday that he’s going to reopen the nation’s economy by May 1, and he’s going to force all the states to follow his orders, claiming (without proof or any grade-school understanding of the Constitution) that he has the “absolute power” to do it. Of course he doesn’t and over the next two days, he backpedaled and admitted governors would make those calls.
• Even worse, in that same briefing on what was supposed to be an update on how the nation was confronting the worst pandemic to hit this country in a century, Trump turned it into a campaign event. Before playing what was a campaign-style video that fabricated a story line about the decisive actions he had taken to mitigate the viruses impact on Americans, he belied the real reason for the briefing: “Most importantly,” he said, “we’re going to get back to the real reason we’re here, which is the success we’re having.” Almost at the same time, the United States surpassed Italy with the number of deaths from the virus, now at over 35,000, mostly due to Trump’s early denials, delays in procuring needed medical equipment for front-line workers, lack of a timely social distancing strategy, and the abysmal lack of testing or tracking (or the ability to do either) that continues to this day.
Trump’s self-promotion and misinformation at these press briefings has sparked a discussion among the major broadcast networks about the wisdom of carrying them live. More and more are not.
• As to the statement made during the briefing in which he said, “Everything we did was right,” it’s notable that he refused to repeat it when a reporter questioned him on the facts. The facts, by the way, have been recorded in two excellent investigative pieces done by the Washington Post and New York Times, in which Trump’s words and actions clearly downplayed the severity of the virus even as it shut down China’s economy and engulfed Italy, Spain and France, and report his failures to take actions to prepare America’s medical system for the onslaught.
• By midweek he had the gall to deny U.S. funding for the World Health Organization, an action that will only make the world’s response to this pandemic that much worse. Why would he do that? As with everything else, it’s to try to cast the blame on others (WHO, China, U.S. governors, Democrats, the media), anybody but himself.
• On Thursday, his threats to reopen the economy before medical precautions were in place ended up being a muted response, summing up that each state’s governors would make their own calls and would need to implement testing and their own criteria for opening up on their own. The lack of any federal help or coordination on implementing testing or contact tracing was a major criticism by governors of both parties.
• By Friday, he was back to his antagonistic self, encouraging conservative demonstrators in Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia to violate lockdown orders by tweeting in all caps: “LIBERATE MICHIGAN, LIBERATE MINNESOTA, LIBERATE VIRGINIA… adding save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!” In case you missed the backstory, earlier this week as many as 1,000 protestors assembled in Lansing, Michigan (the capital) complaining that the lock-down orders were bad for small businesses in Michigan. Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has been the target of these Trump-supporting protestors chanting, “Lock her up.” The president, in another outrageous display of irresponsible behavior, couldn’t help but egg them on.
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