The catastrophic pandemic hoax
“No. Not at all. And we have it totally under control.” President Donald Trump, Jan. 22, when asked if he was concerned about a potential coronavirus pandemic.
“Coronavirus. This is the new hoax… You’ll be fine.” Feb. 28
“This is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”
To say we’ve been getting mixed messages from President Trump would be a massive understatement. He has botched the response to COVID-19 from the beginning, with contradictory messages and lies.
The Trump administration received its first formal notification of the outbreak of the coronavirus in China on Jan. 3. Trump was still calling the virus a hoax at the end of February.
Fortunately, many governors ignored Trump. They understood the seriousness of the situation and implemented social distancing and shutting down non-essential businesses. Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak instituted life-saving policies early on and was criticized harshly by many Republicans. As of April 10, Nevada’s death toll is 86. Each death is a tragedy, but it would have been far worse without these measures.
Trump’s blame-game now is criticizing governors for not stocking up on protective gear, ventilators, and other supplies ahead of time. On April 2, Trump tweeted, “The complainers should have been stocked up and ready long before this crisis hit.” The “complainers” are governors trying to save their people’s lives.
Apparently, Trump expected governors to stock up for what he called a hoax. Trump supporters perform mental gymnastics all the time, but that’s pretty convoluted thinking for anyone.
Trump then said it’s not the federal government’s job to take care of the states, tweeting, “Remember, we are a backup for them.” He’s wrong. States have a lot of rights and responsibilities, but no state has the resources to do everything on their own.
The federal government, utilizing the Strategic National Stockpile, is mandated to help after hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. It is certainly responsible to help when the disaster is nationwide, as the current coronavirus crisis is.
Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, said about the Strategic National Stockpile, “It’s not supposed to be states’ stockpiles that they then use.” He’s wrong. The Department of Health and Human Services described the program this way:
“Strategic National Stockpile is the nation’s largest supply of life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out. When state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts, the stockpile ensures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency.”
The stockpile is now basically depleted. Why? On Feb. 5, a delegation of senators offered Congressional financial help to Trump because they saw what was coming and wanted America prepared with training and supplies. Trump refused that help.
Then on Feb. 7, Trump did this: “…..with the coronavirus working its way around the United States, the White House administration sent some 17.8 tons of medical supplies, which included masks, respirators and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to China.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the State Department confirmed this shipment. (The Root, March 30).
Trump sent our supplies to China. Now our health care workers are begging for life-saving supplies and Trump calls them “insatiable.” Perhaps if he had done his job, they would have what they need.
Clear-thinking people know that Trump has fatally botched this whole operation. Thousands of Americans will die who shouldn’t have.
In 2009, when H1N1 flu hit America, President Barack Obama kept the deaths down to 12,469. On March 13, Trump tweeted, “Their response to H1N1 Swine Flu was a full scale disaster. They had a very big failure with swine flu.”
America now has 40,702 dead, as of April 20. For comparison, South Korea, population 53.7 million, took early and aggressive action. Their death toll is 236. Yet Republicans still support Trump’s actions.
Imagine if Hillary Clinton was president when this pandemic hit. Would Republicans be praising her actions if she had acted as Trump has? Would they say we shouldn’t be politicizing our responses? Of course not.
They would be calling for her head, saying she had failed in her primary duty as president. Anyone who is not totally lost to Trump worship knows this is true. If 12,469 deaths was a “very big failure” for Obama, what should we call Trump’s actions? Now that our death toll has far surpassed 40,000, can we call Trump a failure?
Jeanette Strong, whose column appears every other week, is a Nevada Press Association award-winning columnist. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.