Updated: Mar 22
When it comes to the Trump administration’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic, it has been at best, muddled and at worst, an unmitigated disaster. This has been the one constant since Day One; when faced with facts they don’t like, they attack the messenger.
From Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s comments on the size of the inauguration crowd to the most recent Washington Post article stating that the administration was briefed on the Coronavirus months ago, the tactic of attacking the messenger rather than the facts is a dangerous precedent that is being set.
When NBC news reporter Peter Alexander asked Trump what his message would be to Americans who are scared, instead of thanking Alexander for the opportunity to provide assurance, he launched a vicious verbal assault on Alexander, his network and other news outlets he considers “Fake News".
He either does not understand, or refuses to accept, the role of consoler in chief in the wake of this pandemic.
And today, when The Post reported that Trump and Congress failed to take action after classified U.S. intelligence reports from January and February warned about a likely pandemic, Trump went on yet another tirade against the publication when asked what he thought of the article by a reporter from a friendly news outlet. Those reports tracked the spread of the virus in China, and later in other countries and warned that Chinese officials appeared to be minimizing the severity of the outbreak.
Besides whining about The Post’s article and claiming it is false, Trump said he wished China had been more forthcoming with detailed information sooner, but stressed what a good friend he is with Chinese President Xi Jinping. And, he claimed that he acted “very early,” not late, in restricting travel from China, which he said saved thousands of lives. He imposed that restriction January 31.
Other than that, instead of dealing directly with the serious consequences of the coronavirus, Trump essentially ignored it until the stock market crashed and cases and deaths began to mount. Nevertheless, he gives himself a 10 when asked to rate his response to the outbreak.
From Day One, Trump has relied on alternative facts and his gut rather than listening to experts, and of course, has continued to spread the seemingly endless stream of conspiracy theories spread by far right media outlets.
This is beyond dangerous; it is deadly.
From the onset, thinking Americans begged Trump to at least “act presidential”. And while other crises faced by this administration have been relatively minor, it is their response to this crisis that will define its legacy.
President George W. Bush faced 9/11 by spreading a message of unity. President Obama took on the Great Recession by bringing the country back from the brink of economic ruin. And, as he did so, he did not place blame on his predecessor with every breath, as does Trump.
While both Bush and Obama had their failures, they both sought to do what was best for America without attacking those who opposed them.
Reporters need to take a stand. If Trump attacks them, they need to stand, unified, and attack back! Stop cowering and continue to push the facts. Don’t let his attacks stand in the way of reporting the dangerous acts of this administration.
I’m not a religious person, but I encourage you to appeal to whatever deity you worship to bring sanity back to America.
Let’s Make America Safe Again!