If you were one of the millions of Americans who tune in at 5 pm for the daily White House briefing regarding the coronavirus outbreak, you surely didn’t find a single momentary lapse of reasoning with all the covfefe President Trump did or said from the podium.
It was simply another shameful episode representative of President Trump’s refusal to admit minor misstatements.
In a highly unusual move at the briefing meant to inform Americans about the pandemic, Trump asked for the lights in the briefing room to dim and a taxpayer-funded promotional video ran more than 3 minutes, showing a montage of officials offering laudatory comments about the president and of Trump discussing his steps to contain the virus that has infected more than half a million Americans and killed more than 23,000 people in the country as of Monday, April 13.
Trump complained at length about negative press coverage of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and said of the video, “I think I’ve educated a lot of people as to the press.”
Wrong, Mr. President.
Also, wrong if anyone else approved of his defensiveness step to persuade the public to look past his comments playing down the threat of the virus and to dismiss comments, including those by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, who said on Sunday: “You could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives. Obviously, no one is going to deny that. But what goes into those kinds of decisions is complicated.”
We are where we are, not because President Trump created the virus but because he—and the government under his leadership—failed to test suspected cases, and failed to prepare health workers and medical facilities to handle this public health crisis.
“This is a pandemic,” Trump said at a March 17 press conference. “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”
But before that, Trump had minimized the threat of the new coronavirus for weeks in statement after statement: “We have it totally under control…,” “We have very little problem in this country at this moment — five — and those people are all recuperating successfully….,” “the virus that we’re talking about having to do — you know, a lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat — as the heat comes in. Typically, that will go away in April….,” We have it very much under control in this country….,” “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA….,” “It’s going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.”
And to this date, Trump continues to manage wrongly and ineffectively the COVID-19 pandemic, unfortunately, failing to show almost any moral leadership when he decided to derail the medical press conference to play the video defending his reportedly late response. National television stations—CNN, MSNBC—were quick to cut him, while cable news rival Fox News carried it nonstop.
Unfortunately, the catastrophic coronavirus pandemic has also been politicized now, and the president is using all his power to speak from the podium in campaign mode. To his ‘right’ of the podium, his talking to an audience trafficking in lies, nonfactual statements, showing little sympathy to ailing fellow Americans—e.g., former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly recently sparked backlash online for saying that many of those who have died from the coronavirus “were on their last legs anyway.”
To his ‘left’, he’s not talking to an audience who wants to vote him out of office because of the way he has carried his political agenda and abuses his power of office.
If empathy is the question, the contrast is stark and the challenge for President Donald Trump may be steep moving forward.
Our editorials present our news outlet’s opinion on certain issues. They provide analysis of the news for a deeper understanding of current events and not necessarily a political endorsement.
As always, first read, then decide.