Donald Trump is a pathological liar (18,000 to date and counting). He makes things up, believes, them and then pushes out his fabrications to his base. With the coronavirus, he is out of his depth. The virus is nature out of control attacking us with an invisible deadly killer that can’t be wished away with lies and fabrications.
Trump and his administration were briefed and warned by the outgoing Obama administration of a coming pandemic. Rather than heeding the briefing, he chose to disband the Global Health Security and Biodefense unit responsible for pandemic preparedness. It had the expertise and staffing capable of minimizing the more than 33,000 American deaths caused to date by the virus. President Trump saw it as part of the “Deep State” that was out to get him, so he closed it.
Trump’s latest foray into obfuscation is placing a 60- to 90-day freeze on U.S. payments to the World Health Organization (WHO), which is 15 percent of its budget, pending a review of its warnings about the virus and China. This action has not only been condemned universally, it is the same kind of illegal activity that got him impeached — withholding Congressionally authorized funding for a political purpose. Trump is trying to mask his own failure to lead on this issue by shifting attention to WHO and China, even though he’s been all over the map regarding China bouncing from praise to condemnation.
Trump is leading from behind. The buck never stops with him: “I don’t take responsibility at all.” In the midst of declaring a national emergency and himself a wartime president, he said the federal government was giving back-up support to the nation’s governors. A few weeks later, he shifted to saying he has absolute authority over their actions in re-opening the economy. The 10th Amendment to the Constitution denies him that authority.
Trump’s chaotic magical thinking, in the face of reality about the virus, is best understood through his own words. In January and February, when the U.S. had the opportunity to mobilize a defense of social distancing, sheltering, and testing — and it was obvious that the virus would infect the United States. He said:
“It’s going to disappear. One day like a miracle, it will disappear.” (According to medical science, it will not.)
“We’re very close to a vaccine.” (Medical science says we were and are not.)
Referring to his Easter target day for lifting shelter-in-place orders: “I just thought it was a beautiful time.” (No scientific basis exists for lifting shelter-at-home orders by Easter, or anytime soon for that matter.)
In the midst of the ravages of the infection, he continues to push the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine: “It’s not going to hurt people … What do you have to lose … I feel good about it.” (Medical science says it’s not been proven effective for COVID-19 and can cause heart problems.)
Indeed, on the last day of February, Dr. Anthony Fauci was still not advising people to change their daily habits to avoid the virus; and it wasn’t until March 14 that Trump began his daily briefings.
Science will, in time, develop a vaccine and adequate testing. We, the voters, on the other hand hold the antidote to Trump, which can be administered as soon as November.
Joe Biden is the Democratic nominee for President. His consistent comment on the virus has been: “We’ll lead with science. We’ll listen to the experts.”
When one looks at Biden’s plan for dealing with COVID-19, and the future pandemics that are sure to come, one sees an approach that fully integrates the expertise of the country’s administrative agencies (which Trump calls the Deep State).
A President Biden would work with the nation’s governors, and he would organize and deploy all relevant federal agencies in fighting viral attacks like COVID-19. In other words, he would deploy the full panoply of agencies Trump calls the Deep State.
While we watch Trump’s daily briefings wherein he baits, insults, and argues with reporters asking legitimate questions for a troubled, frightened country, we should remember our votes in November are the antidote to Trump’s infection of our democracy.