The president’s handling of the global pandemic should cost him re-election, but will it?
For months, the American people listened to President Donald Trump downplay the threat of coronavirus, calling it the Democrat’s “new hoax,” and then, as cases began to rise, dismissing it as something that would just disappear, “like a miracle.” On March 9, he called it nothing more than the “common flu.” Four days later, he declared a national emergency.
Even then, when the battle against the virus was at our very doorstep, he refused — and still refuses — to declare a national lockdown and only recently utilized his emergency powers to increase production of critical medical supplies. As governors across the country pleaded with the president for aid, he told Fox News that such assistance was conditional upon the behavior of the states, saying “They have to treat us well, also. They can’t say ‘Oh, gee, we should get this, we should get that.’”
In some ways, as conservative columnist Max Boot said, we can’t really blame Trump for his grossly incompetent response to this global pandemic — he never lied about who he was. Trump has simply never been pushed to provide even minimal data to back up his answers.
Yet I’m frustrated, angry and, like many Americans, scared. As hospitals in various states, including my home state of Michigan, find themselves overwhelmed with patients and short on critical medical supplies, they are forced to provide treatment based on who has the best chance of survival. That means pulling patients, whose conditions do not improve, off ventilators and giving them end-of-life care. Ironically, the “death panels” Sarah Palin and other Republicans lied about in their attacks on Obamacare have become a reality under their chosen president.
We are all feeling the effects of this virus to varying degrees. Many of us have lost our last months of college with friends, not to mention our jobs and ability to pay the bills. Some can’t even feed their families or themselves. But what unites many of us is our shared fear of losing someone we love.
I drop off food at my grandmother’s porch, telling her I love her through a glass window. I feel tears well up when I contemplate the idea that my parents could get sick, and there might not be a ventilator for them. I feel a lump in my throat when I know my aunt goes to the frontlines of this war when her hospital lacks the basic tools to protect its nurses from the same virus that ravages its patients.
There is a frustration that is almost overwhelming when I think about how much of this crisis was preventable. Even if Trump hadn’t disbanded much of the pandemic team or ignored the National Security Council’s pandemic playbook managed under the Obama administration, there were innumerable measures he could have taken to slow the spread of the virus — the first being an admission that there was a crisis, the second being the institution of a lockdown.
Instead, fearing for his chances of re-election, Trump repeatedly lied in a silly, misguided and ultimately futile effort to protect the stock market from major losses. It was only with massive hits to the Dow Jones Industrial average and catastrophic stock losses that the president admitted that the virus was an issue and not a flu-like disease that would magically disappear. But even as cases mount at a rate of 20,000 a day, states are responding haphazardly and chaotically with little direction from the federal government.
We can’t slow the spread when some states refuse to mandate a shelter-in-place order, or even refuse to enforce it where it has been implemented. This doesn’t work if only some do their part. The nation slowly bleeds out as we wait on our elected officials to take critical action, putting us on a trajectory far grimmer than that of Italy.
As the crisis continues to unfold in the coming months, I implore my fellow Americans to pay attention. The leaders of this nation must protect their citizens and residents. At the end of the day, America has a wonderful set of ideas and principles, but America is only the people that live in it. Our leaders must make decisions solely based on protecting the lives of citizens and residents, not partisan pettiness or religious magical nonsense.
For those who would say Trump couldn’t have predicted this, tell that to the advisors who warned him for months. And for those who would say now is the time to support and not criticize the president, you can support him while also demanding that he take action to save Americans. In fact, doing so is the most critical form of support you could lend him at this time.
If you’re assuming a landslide Trump loss in November and think you can stay home, the latest Gallup Poll has Trump’s approval at 60%, and Fox News has his approval at 51% — surpassing President Obama’s numbers going into his re-election.
For those who love to chant “not my president,” he is your president, so you better vote in November to change that. Americans can no longer afford to remain blissfully ignorant of the nation’s politics. It is now a matter of life and death.
Written by: Hanadi Jordan — firstname.lastname@example.org
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