“The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, is doing everything within its semi-considerable power (it used to be greater!) to inflame the CoronaVirus situation, far beyond what the facts would warrant.” – Donald J. Trump March 9, 2020
The day before that tweet, the CDC confirmed 537 cases of coronavirus and 21 deaths. Five days later, there were 2,179 confirmed cases. At the ten-day mark the numbers jumped to 7,786 cases and 118 deaths.
According to the latest figures, the United States is now the epicenter of the disease.
It’s impossible to talk about this global crisis and the fallout in the U.S. without mentioning the elephant in the room.
From the beginning, Trump dismissed, then blamed, then downplayed the significance of the most contagious virus since the 1918 Spanish influenza epidemic.
In a Fox News interview on March 24, Trump said, “I’d love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter.”
Fifteen days after Trump’s tweet, the CDC confirmed 43,667 cases and 552 deaths.
However, another virus continues to grow.
Pittsburgh voter Justin Penn said, “I think he’s handled it pretty well… I think he’s tried to keep people calm,” The New York Times writes (Mar. 31).
“Kathleen Mathien, an independent from Arizona… explained that she doesn’t closely follow politics and finds it difficult to get a true understanding of candidates beyond the ‘smoke and mirrors’ they project. ‘It’s so hard sometimes to vote if you don’t know who the real person is,’ she said. Undecided as of now, she said Mr. Trump has a chance to win her vote.”
As of April 2, the number of reported coronavirus cases in the U.S. is more than 240,000 and more than 6,000 deaths. [UPDATE: The current total number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. has now passed 356,000, a 48 percent increase in 4 days with no signs of a slow down.]
“…the coronavirus has… cost millions their jobs and tanked the stock market,” The Times continues. “Yet the president’s approval ratings are as high as they have ever been, despite what most agree to be his slow performance dealing with the crisis, as well as his record of falsehoods about the virus… and treatments that contradict expert advice…”
Once again, the Messiah of Misinformation has politicized a crisis to his advantage with a segment of voters, many of whom are independents or Democrats.
How political has this issue become?
Dr. Anthony Fauci, an immunologist and head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease since 1984, “the Administration’s most outspoken advocate of emergency measures to fight the coronavirus outbreak,” The Times writes (Mar. 28), “has become the target of an online conspiracy theory that he is mobilizing to undermine the president.”
“ ‘I thought President Trump was doing OK,’ Janice Friedel, a professor in Des Moines said, ‘but this really has brought out his strong leadership, his ability to bring people together across the aisle. I am a Democrat, but I am going to vote for him. I don’t see leadership on the Democratic side. But I certainly will vote for Trump,’ The Times added.
In crisis after crisis, Trump has so thoroughly indoctrinated some minds that no matter how he downplays, dismisses or calls the virus “Fake News,” supporters continue to tout “his strong leadership.”
This stands in stark contrast to daily press briefings by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
At a press conference, Trump talks about the importance of self-distancing while his staff stands close by.
Cuomo sits at a press conference self-distanced from his experts.
Trump is defensive, combative, sometimes lashing out at the press for questions he considers “nasty.”
Cuomo rationally addresses questions from the press.
Trump’s statements are gut-based. “I think the 3.4 percent [fatality rate] is really a false number.”
Cuomo’s statements are reality-based. “This is going be a long day… a hard day… an ugly day…”
Trump talks about how “We’re prepared, and we’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”
Cuomo’s leadership is about daily managing the crisis utilizing the best people, skills and resources available.
Trump couldn’t lead people off an elevator.
In my lifetime … perhaps in the lifetime of the country, there has never been a president so totally bereft of honesty, respect, responsibility, compassion and common sense as Donald Trump.
Saddest of all, despite the rising human toll, many supporters continue to believe this is a political battlefield.
It’s a medical battlefield not unlike the Spanish flu epidemic from 1918-1920, estimated to have caused 17 to 50 million deaths worldwide.
If supporters cannot act responsibly and follow the directives put forth by state governors and medical experts, they’re not only jeopardizing their own lives but the lives of others.
That’s a clear and present danger to the rest of us.
Fortunately, Dr. Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx have caused Trump to see the burning bush of wisdom causing the president to backtrack, acknowledging that “this is going to be a very painful two-week period.”
Nonetheless, the damage from earlier comments and Fox “News” pundits continues to spread on social media.
At his press conference at the end of March, Governor Cuomo said, “Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion, but I don’t operate here on opinion.”