The deadly combination of the coronavirus and Donald J. Trump as president of the United States is a catastrophe many feared that has come to pass, just not in the way originally expected.
After Trump's election, many Americans worried about what would happen to our country with this ill-prepared, egotistical man seated in the White House, functioning as commander-in-chief, his finger within reach of the proverbial hot button that could launch a nuclear attack.
We worried because we knew that Mr. Machoman, shoot-from-the-hip Trump did not have the knowledge or experience to make wise decisions under fire, and then when he began producing made-for-TV summits with North Korea's Kim Jong-Un, we worried more.
Throughout his presidency it has been one disaster after another, even leading to his impeachment by the House of Representatives for trying to coerce a foreign country into investigating his chief political rival. On and on it went as he used the presidency to reward his favored industries, dismantle anything associated with President Obama, regardless of harm; divide the country with racial hatred and bigotry, and isolate America internationally.
All of that was bad, but now the Trump administration's inept preparation for, and response to, the coronavirus has had catastrophic and massively deadly consequences.
It began as Trump refused to believe warnings early in January when his own intelligence agencies first warned of potentially serious consequences from the outbreak in China in the President's Daily Brief, and when his secretary of health and human services tried to talk to him about a possible pandemic. Refusing to listen, he turned the conversation to restrictions on the sale of vaping products, about which businesses had complained,
Today, The Washington Post published a definitive investigative article detailing the constant stream of failures and missteps within the administration that have brought us to this day. It is a day when U.S. deaths likely will exceed 10,000, with officials warning of even worse news in the week ahead. The article was based on 47 interviews with administration officials, public health experts, intelligence officers and others involved in fighting the epidemic.
Said The Post:
And yet, it took 70 days from that initial notification for Trump to treat the coronavirus not as a distant threat or harmless flu strain well under control, but as a lethal force that had outflanked America’s defenses and was poised to kill tens of thousands of citizens. That more-than-two-month stretch now stands as critical time that was squandered.
Trump’s baseless assertions in those weeks, including his claim that it would all just “miraculously” go away, sowed significant public confusion and contradicted the urgent messages of public health experts, The Post said.
Remember when Trump said the virus was like the flu and would miraculously go away when the weather warms? Remember when he said he wanted the churches filled on Easter Sunday, with stay-at-home orders lifted? Remember when Fox News and other conservative networks belittled the crisis and said Democrats were just trying to screw Trump over yet again? And how that led to Trump followers ignoring warnings and Republican governors refusing to take action?
Now, Trump has changed his tune, somberly projecting in his daily televised briefings that the best-case scenario for deaths nationwide will be between 100,000 and 240,000, and that as many as 2.2 million lives could be lost. Holding coronavirus deaths to 100,000 would be doing "a good job," he said.
A good job?
Fighting over supplying protective equipment like face masks and lifesaving ventilators to hospitals and medical centers is doing a good job?
Promising that tests would be available to everyone who needs one when effective tests were not even available -- that's doing a good job?
Downplaying the seriousness of the crisis until people started dropping dead, that's doing a good job?
Blaming everybody from the media to the Obama administration for his own failures, that's doing a good job?
On and on.
Now, we have an economy that is shut down. Thousands of Americans have lost their jobs. Congress was forced to pass a $2 trillion emergency bill providing temporary relief to workers and businesses that have been affected by this catastrophe, and, most likely, additional help will be needed if we are to avoid further calamity.
What all of that will do to our overall economy is anyone's guess, but it can 't be good. Our children and grandchildren will be paying the price for years to come.
Said The Post in its article today:
It may never be known how many thousands of deaths, or millions of infections, might have been prevented with a response that was more coherent, urgent and effective. But even now, there are many indications that the administration’s handling of the crisis had potentially devastating consequences.
So, yes, those post-election fears that many of us harbored that Trump would be an incompetent, dangerous president have been realized. Just not in the way that had been expected, but, perhaps, this will be far more deadly than ever imagined.