For Trump, who is utterly incapable of nuance, every decisional calculus is the same: Will it help me or hurt me? That is as abstract as his thinking gets.
Consequently, the White House wrecking ball that has wreaked so much havoc and done so much damage for the last three-and-a-half years is now hurtling down on the heads of every American, confronting us with a Hobson’s choice of risking our jobs vs. risking our health. He, Vice President Pence and key White House staffers get tested daily for Covid-19. A positive test is followed immediately by extensive contact tracing, isolation and quarantine. The other 327 million Americans don’t need any of that, proclaims the president. Let them eat ventilators.
There are ways to reopen the economy safely without sacrificing the health, safety and lives of the public. A number of states are attempting to do that by introducing the same extensive safety measures that the White House has instituted for its favored few. What is holding them back is that there are not enough testing kits thanks to the Trump administration’s monumental failure to provide them.
Trump’s inability to see grays or subtleties has other negative consequences. He refuses to wear a mask because his Fox News propagandists tell him it makes him look weak and gives the impression that his “victory” over the virus might be a Pyrrhic one (you think?). Instead of modeling safe behavior for the citizenry, he demonstrates recklessness. The effect of this is that his locked-in base concludes that masks aren’t necessary, thus risking themselves and everyone with whom they come in contact to possible exposure to Covid-19 and its life-threatening consequences.
Instead of leading by example, Trump gives us lies, distortions, insults, raging tweetstorms, self-adulation, and complaints about not being sufficiently praised by governors and the media. Worse, this is compounded by his intellectual laziness, incompetence, moral bankruptcy and failure to step up to the plate and make even a pretense of understanding what is going on and lead us out of this catastrophe. Thus, with only 4 percent of the world’s population, we account for almost one-third of the global total of Covid-19 illnesses and just under one-third of the planet’s deaths. By any measure, we are doing worse than any of the other 33 developed nations in combatting the virus. Welcome to the Third World. He won’t own up to it, but there is only one place and one individual to which the finger of blame points for this disastrous performance.
With Trump at the helm, it is certain to get worse.
May 15, 2020