It’s a surprise to no one when the New York Times writes, “Tensions persist between Trump and medical advisors over coronavirus.” We already know our president is a moron and gets a failing grade for how he is handling the coronavirus crisis.
Trump talks about filling sports stadiums while thousands are dying from a virus we know is passed by close contact. We also know despite Trump’s total incompetence the United States will survive this pandemic. We will mourn the loss of lives caused by Trump’s failure to effectively address COVID-19. Despite his efforts to blame others — whether the Chinese for lying or the Democrats for impeaching him — the reality is he has failed us.
The LGBTQ community has seen a president put his head in the sand during a crisis before. The first cases of AIDS in the United States were seen in 1981 and the term AIDS was first used in 1982. President Ronald Reagan would not use it until 1985 and it was 1987 until he declared it “public enemy number one” in a speech to the College of Physicians.
Today we look at various timelines on what and when Trump did anything about COVID-19 and they all point to his refusal to act soon enough. PolitiFact details Trump’s response from the time we heard about the cases in China. Other timelines detail more of his activities in between responses when he spent his time golfing or holding mass political rallies where he insisted it was a Democratic hoax. No matter what timeline you look at, it’s clear Trump refused to deal with the pandemic. Still today he makes light of it while people are dying by the thousands claiming it will be like a ‘miracle’ when it suddenly ends. His responses can be explained by one thing: He is seeing his second term in office slip away from him.
We must be thankful some Democratic governors like Jay Inslee in Washington, Gavin Newsom in California, Andrew Cuomo in New York and Republican Larry Hogan in Maryland, among others, were willing to act on their own to try to save as many people in their states as possible. They called out the president but that is all they could do. Trump is still lying about the national stockpile of equipment and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the quintessential know-nothing, is making statements like, “It’s our stockpile” in response to governors’ requests for help with materials.
Some of the federal government’s failure to lead goes back to the days after Trump was elected in the surprising results of 2016. He never expected to be president and every day since has proven what an error the country made when it elected a failed businessman turned reality TV star. Many key positions in government remain unfilled or are filled with acting officials hampering response to the coronavirus. There was never a full transition of government after Trump fired all the Obama appointees as soon as he took office.
I agree with former President Bill Clinton who recently said, “I have always believed that our country’s strength is our people. We see that every day, in the heroic work of health care workers, first responders, and everyday people reaching out to lend each other a hand. The rest of us must take care of all the workers who are taking care of us and keeping our country going, and our families and loved ones, however we can.”
Americans as a whole are showing we can and will do that. Let’s not focus on the few who selfishly pretend this epidemic is not real or the rules for co-existence and shared responsibility for each other are not something they have to consider. Those few governors who still refuse to issue ‘stay at home’ orders or the outrageous pastors who are still asking their congregants to come to their churches. Thankfully they are in the minority and most of the rest of us will manage to survive them.
Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBTQ rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.