Ratings Over Empathy, Economy Over Lives: Trump’s Coronavirus Debacle
The coronavirus crisis has had a severe impact on the health and economy of the United States and also politically on the Trump administration. Not long ago, an extremely strong economy had made President Trump almost invincible. He was able to overcome various incidents that arguably would have cost many other presidents their job.
The situation has now changed drastically, however. People are dying across the United States, and the stock market has been erratic and has already devastated some people’s savings. It is feared that the nation’s economy could be in even worse trouble than during the 2008 financial crisis.
Trump’s Other Priorities
The current scenario has always been a primary point of concern for many observers: what if the United States suddenly found itself in a major crisis but the Commander-in-Chief proved to be impervious to advise and more concerned about trivialities and his own delusions than saving the nation?
The US — and indeed the world — has gotten its answer, as Trump goes on about his fight against the “lamestream media” in the midst of one of the worst crises since World War Two. The only difference is that everything seems even worse than one could have imagined. When his own intelligence agencies warned of the coronavirus in January, the President downplayed the threat entirely. A few weeks later, when the virus spread unchecked in part due to a lack of tests, Trump spoke of having everything under control. He lied.
On February 24, he tweeted again that the virus was under control. Early warnings about the gravity of the situation were denounced as lies and fake news, propaganda by the Democrats in an attempt to win the presidency in November. For weeks Trump and his henchmen called the coronavirus the next “hoax” and argued that the virus would miraculously disappear. The experts had always had a different opinion and made that clear. The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci — who is also a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force — has openly admitted that the US has been failing to adequately fight COVID-19. The latest figures confirm Fauci’s assessment.
Trump’s Failure of Leadership
When Trump finally realized that the crisis could no longer be ignored, he tried to demonstrate leadership with an address to the nation. It failed miserably. Breathing loudly and visibly nervous, Trump blamed others for the crisis. It was a “foreign virus,” Trump emphasized. He then announced a 30-day ban on entry to the United States for Europeans – which has since been extended.
However, the speech was not just that of a man who radiates security and knows what he is doing. Instead — as is so often the case — the speech was riddled with inaccuracies and bizarre statements. In fact, the White House had to withdraw three Trump claims. For example, Trump had claimed that “a massive amount of trade goods” from Europe would no longer reach the United States which, of course, caused the already struggling financial markets to fall further.
Since that time, Congress has agreed upon a significant stimulus package, and the stock market has at least stabilized itself again somewhat. However, great leadership is still sorely lacking. This was clearly seen when Trump first announced he would reopen the country again on Easter. Of course, he later backtracked, stating that April 30 would be the earliest potential day to relax measures, likely after being warned by Fauci and others of the enormous likely death toll if he opened by Easter.
The President Often Spreads Misleading Half-truths
Now, the President conducts almost daily press conferences which are intended to demonstrate confidence and decision-making power. He often spreads half-truths or even pure lies and attacks the press when asked simple and fair questions. His messages are frequently contradictory, and his poor crisis management could cost the lives of many Americans.
In fact, it has cost many lives already.
No one outside the far-left is claiming that the President is responsible for the virus. He is clearly not, and arguing the opposite is either being dishonest or intellectually challenged. However, there is no doubt he should have reacted sooner and stuck to the facts.
South Korea has shown how crisis management can work effectively. They immediately initiated countermeasures and shortly afterward carried out up to 18,000 tests a day. The number of new cases has dropped significantly.
In the United States, extensive testing has only been in place for two weeks. There is no longer a single state in the US in which the coronavirus has not yet occurred. Yesterday the government announced it was and anticipating up to 240,000 deaths. So far, more than 4,000 people have died.
The Weakness of the US Healthcare System
COVID-19 has also revealed the weaknesses of the American healthcare system, which is not prepared for a pandemic. This is precisely why real leadership and early transparency about the severity of the situation could have made a genuine difference. Oriented towards the economy and maximum occupancy, the USA only currently has 2.8 beds per 1,000 inhabitants.
Experts are also raising the alarm in the US because there are only 160,000 ventilators available nationwide once emergency supplies are tapped. These ventilators can be vital for lung diseases and treating COVID-19. It is estimated that with a rapid increase in cases, up to 740,000 of these machines will be needed. Thus, the White House has been cranking up the rapid expansion of ventilation equipment production, with major companies manufacturing masks and ventilators every hour of the day.
Unfortunately, however, and partly due to Trump’s delayed actions, it seems the push to accumulate enough ventilators may be too little too late. A week ago, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stated that his state requires 30,000 ventilators but so far was provided with 400 from the federal government. The ongoing refusal to face reality indicates the lack of leadership in the Oval Office and the incompetence of Trump and his administration during one of America’s darkest hours.