Donald Trump refuses to lead as pandemic worsens and allies leave him in masks

Trump is now virtually the only authority figure in either party, including his main Republican allies, who refuse to wear or endorse face masks that have been shown to slow down the spread of the coronavirus but have stigmatized as a liberal plot to harm politically

“We shouldn’t have any stigma, none, about wearing masks when we leave our homes and approach other people. Wearing simple face covers is not about protecting ourselves, it’s about protecting everyone we meet.” , said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Senate floor on Monday.

But Trump tweeted cryptically Tuesday “THE SOLDIER WARRIOR!” – apparently embracing their isolation from even political allies and the scientific approaches that have been shown elsewhere to at least slow down the spread of the coronavirus in the short term.

Undeterred by the deepening of the national crisis, Trump goes ahead with plans for an early July 4 celebration at Mount Rushmore that will place him symbolically and without irony alongside four of America’s most revered presidents, George Washington. , Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. The social distancing advised by the Trump government will not be enforced.
The White House held a briefing on Wednesday, but it appeared to be a premeditated attempt by White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany to tarnish the water around another drama that was shaking Trump: He claims he did nothing about a Russian military intelligence plan to put a reward on the heads of US troops in Afghanistan. McEnany left the meeting room before she could be questioned about the pandemic.
Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, whose current broad leadership in most general election polls can be explained in part by Trump’s performance during the pandemic, pounced on recent serious events to lash out at the president.

Taking advantage of Trump’s comment in April that he was now a “wartime president,” Biden adopted a scathing mocking tone.

“What happened? It is almost July now, and it seems that our wartime president surrendered, waved the white flag and left the battlefield,” the Democrat said in a speech in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.

In the void left by the determined guidance that only the person in the Oval Office can provide, the coronavirus is accelerating its deadly march across the country, with 36 states now seeing cases on the rise, and at least 16 slowing down reopening plans. defended by the President as hospital emergency rooms see an increase in admissions suggesting that a rapid increase in the number of deaths could be just a few days away.

Far from the four presidents whose images he will study in North Dakota, Trump’s perverse failure to launch a federal government effort to fight a growing pandemic that he has said the United States has “prevailed” in is beginning to look alike. to Herbert Hoover’s indifference during the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Refuse to lead

As the rest of the Western world moves forward with careful reopening plans after governments suppressed their curves, and bans American tourists due to U.S. infection rates, Trump appears to have made a political calculation of that the best approach is to refuse to lead.

Mounting a successful federal government response at this stage would require the ability to unite the country and generate innovative solutions, as well as a president who is a master of detail and can unleash the promise of science and empathize with his compatriots in a tragic moment. .

But Trump’s alternative method of presidential leadership has taken off. Dividing the country between Republican governors eager to open economies and Democrats concerned about a viral resurgence has been disastrous for the states that support it. Trump’s tactic of demonizing opponents, lying about the facts, and building an alternate reality in which all is well has been exposed by the pandemic.

And despite all his claims of being a builder, Trump has failed to build solutions in his nearly four years in power.

Many Trump supporters voted for the President in 2016 because they felt betrayed by the status quo and the political establishment. His still-healthy ratings of his base suggest that not all voters share the horror of many in Washington at his negligence or even think that Trump should be leading a role in the fight against the pandemic that almost all of his predecessors would surely have demanded of themselves. themselves.

And the President is not directly to blame for young Americans who continue to flock to bars or beaches or those who refuse to obey social distancing rules or wear masks in behaviors that could cause business or the reopening of economies become safer and more sustainable.

But Trump’s refusal to even set an example and explain the gravity of the situation, coupled with his habit of prioritizing his own political perspectives and interests over the national interest, has left much of the rest of the country in the lurch.

A former senior administration official who spoke to CNN’s Jim Acosta on Tuesday was referring to the president’s frustration with intelligence reports regarding Russia’s latest drama, his comment was also a lesson in his role in the pandemic.

“He is usually frustrated with intelligence because he shows a problem but does not provide an answer,” said the former official.

As several past presidents have pointed out, the only problems that hit the Oval Office desk are those that others have been unable to solve.

Terrifying stats but could worsen

The days of terrifying statistics tell a devastating story that can’t be disguised by the Trump team twist. The United States represents only 4% of the world population, but it has a quarter of all coronavirus cases. On average, more than 1,000 Americans die every day from the disease. Some 126,000 have already succumbed. Black Americans are more than twice as likely to die from it, in numbers that reflect the racial disparities that are currently fueling another national crisis.

It is a measure of the strange limbo caused by the blockades that the human cost represented by these figures, as well as the serious economic crisis caused by a pandemic that Trump denied for months, poorly managed, politicized and then ignored again, is hidden by many Americans.

As bad as the latest statistics are, Fauci raised the horrible possibility that things could get worse, a disappointing prospect in a country that has already been affected by months of social distancing and blockades.

“We now have more than 40,000 new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we increase to 100,000 a day if this does not change, so I am very concerned,” Fauci told a Senate committee on Tuesday.

Fauci expressed his dismay at the people gathering in crowds and not wearing masks, and inadequate attention was paid to the federal guidelines on reopening that the President refused to apply.

“We are going to continue to have a lot of problems, and there will be a lot of damage if that doesn’t stop,” he said.

As Trump is unwilling to change course and lead a national example or lead a federal response to the virus, other medical experts are expressing fear that the upcoming July 4 holiday may spark a similar spike in infections that appears to have been triggered. for Memorial Day. At the end of May.

“The virus is spreading rapidly. The time to act is now,” said the president and CEO of Houston Methodist Hospital, Marc Boom. Texas as a whole, which is experiencing a rapidly increasing curve, reported a record 6,975 new cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday.

Another state that is an epicenter of the prolonged increase in the coronavirus is Florida, which presented more than 6,000 new cases on Tuesday. But Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Trump ally, continued to downplay the situation, claiming it was good news that younger people, who had traditionally been less affected by Covid-19, were a proportionally higher share of those who turned out. positive of what was the case in the past.

“We are not going back, closing things,” said DeSantis.


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