Early Trump Administration Response To The Corona Virus

Imagine the main street in your town was completely shut down.  On this street, 140,000 pedestrians are standing in the road, oblivious to anything going on.   Now imagine there is a group of cars heading for the pedestrians.  At this point, you realize that each of those cars is driven by an individual that is asleep at the wheel.   You watch in horror as the group of cars plows through the unsuspecting individuals standing in the road.  In the aftermath, the cars keep driving forward and the 140,000 pedestrians have been killed.  Unfortunately there is another large group of pedestrians about a mile down the road.

Not a pretty picture is it?  Unfortunately, there are parallels to the Trump Administrations response to this pandemic.  Initially, they were asleep at the wheel.  After six months, some are awake but have no clear vision of how to move forward because they are following the lead of a President that show little interest in waking up.

Reports from within the Administration indicate that there was initial skepticism about whether the virus would spread from China to other parts of the world.  Getting back to our initial scenario, there were no warnings to the pedestrians in the road that the cars were headed that way.  In fact, a late February pronouncement from the White House was that the Corona Virus was very much under control.  In other words, there was no way those cars were going to continue moving forward into the crowded streets.

One response of a concerned administration should have been to prepare hospitals for the coming onslaught.  This never really happened so hospitals were overcome rapidly and continue to be overcome to this day. 

The President showed a lack of interest in the potential for disaster.  In a corona virus briefing at the White House he changed the subject to complain about why those involved had put a limited ban on flavored e-cigarettes.  The President was unhappy of how this could affect his political environment at the time.   Again….the President is showing that he is uninterested in the reality of the situation. 

The President makes many false claims about his response.  The one he particularly spews is that his travel ban on people coming to the U.S. from China saved thousands of lives.  Here we go again.  There is no validity to that claim (who among you is surprised?).  By the time the travel ban was instigated, the virus had spread all over the world.  For example, the horrendous infection rates in New York was largely caused by European travelers flying into New York and spreading it there.  The travel ban did nothing to protect the hardest hit region of the country.

In the last week of February, Larry Kudlow stated that “we have contained this”.  On February 26th, Trump said “the number of cases is going to be down to close to zero.”  

The 140,000 are still dead, and the response from this Administration, particularly the President, is still a matter of disinterest.  Even today, in July, reports from individuals trying to get the President’s attention are that he is showing no interest.  He is paying a huge political price for his lack of attention.

At this point one can wonder what a legitimate response from the President and his Administration should have been.  Here are some things that would have been effective.

  1.  The President should have actually listened to the medical establishments’ greatest minds right from the start.  Unfortunately for the country, President Trump has no ability to understand anything remotely related to scientific inquiry.  On the contrary, his ignoring the advice from those who have spent a lifetime battling disease has resulted in the car crashing through the pedestrians.
  2. The President should have instructed those responsible in his Administration to prepare for a battle of horrific proportions instead of making false claims to the contrary.  Even to this day, he constantly says things are better than they are.   (He said in an interview this weekend, “eventually I am going to be right”.)
  3. The President and the rest of his Administration should all have been wearing masks right from the start!   Why is it that the vast majority of those resisting wearing masks now are members of his base?  The answer to that is very simple.  The Presidents’ actions are being mimicked by those who believe in him.
  4. The President should refrain from his ignorant ranting regarding supposed cures!  All that has done is elevate ignorant ideas with no real value into the discussion of how to solve this issue.   “My President says I should take this drug, if he says it, it is good enough for me”.   I distinctly remember my father trying to influence my sense of individualism by asking me more than once “If someone told you to paint your butt green would you do it?”  Of course that is hilarious to someone who is 7 years old, but there is a truth there that he was trying to get me to learn. 
  5. The President should cease all efforts to pass this responsibility down to the State level.  A unified scientifically generated national response is in order.

This pandemic has virtually ruined the President’s campaign at this point.   The part that he and his followers don’t seem to realize is that he could have increased his chances of being elected again had he responded in ways that showed he cared, that he was listening to the experts, that he was in charge.   Instead, he is facing massive deficits in the polls because so many in the country don’t trust him.   Among those are those of us who never did, and a growing number who trusted before but trust no more.

I remember there was quite a bit of discussion right after his election about the fact that people were unsure that this President had the mental capability to rationally handle a national emergency.   We have our answer.

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