What are your expectations of the federal government in a pandemic? Back when we heard the first mentions of a virus coming, who did you imagine would lead us through this historic crisis? Just as I wasn’t able to envision the daily doings of a President Trump or his administration following his election in 2016, I couldn’t anticipate how Trump would approach the deadly challenge.
There was no expectation of competence, on my part, based on his lack of engagement with anything other than his TV and his golf clubs. Empathy would be absent from any Trump plan, but I thought reducing the number of deaths would, obviously, be in everyone’s best interest, His immediate response was to wave it off, purposefully minimizing the threat to us.
Governor Andrew Cuomo became the leader we needed. Yes, there was much confusion and learning on the job in early days, and I knew I could tune in to the governor of New York for facts, information, updates, and a sense that someone was trying to wrap their arms around this sharp, tangled knot of coronavirus, lost jobs, PPE, ventilators, ICU capacity, unpaid rents, and advice for decreasing the odds that our families get sick.
Eventually, Dr. Fauci arrived on the scene, and I felt like we had a straight shooter to guide our country through the medical landscape. For whatever reason, Dr. Birx always seemed more like Trump’s mouthpiece than Dr. Fauci. The advice regarding masks changed as scientists and doctors learned more about transmission.
Eventually, Trump saw himself as a war time president and took center stage daily, receiving his badly needed dose of attention. Unable to bathe himself in the adoration of a packed arena of his followers, having all eyes on him at the microphone would have to do, for a couple weeks, at which point the wheels fell off because he began giving medical advice. Once announcements had to be made urging people not to inject themselves with bleach, the glory days were over.
Moving on, Trump pivoted to opening the country, regardless of whether or not it was warranted by regional medical circumstances. Guidelines had been issued by the coronavirus taskforce about what benchmarks communities or states should meet as they move through phased reopening. They made sense. Then, Trump started campaigning against his own administration’s policies. He mocked people for wearing masks and continued to lie about the medical facts we all desperately needed.
Trump’s own voice on the Woodward tapes revealed to us that he wasn’t confused about differing virus information and recommendations. He knew and spoke very clearly about “deadly stuff” that spreads through the air “so easy, you just breathe it.” He is still lying. He now insists on frequently saying we’re rounding a corner, although I’m pretty sure what’s waiting for us round the next corner is more devastation.
Dr. Redfield, head of the CDC, spoke passionately regarding the efficacy of wearing masks, aligning with what we’ve heard from Dr. Fauci. We know, now, the USPS wanted to give masks to each household to help people protect themselves and each other early on, but the administration blocked it. Trump says Joe Biden must have issues because he wears a mask. He berates reporters who choose to keep masks on during briefings. He still says not everyone agrees that masks help!
While casting doubt on the need for masks, he has encouraged large gatherings of his supporters and it doesn’t seem to give him pause in the least that most are not donning face coverings. Trump urges schools to open in-person and shames universities to get their football teams out on the field. All of this with no concern for the life and death repercussions of his bullying.
All of this makes me wonder, WHY DOESN’T TRUMP WANT US TO WEAR MASKS???
Really, one simple, cost-effective choice that would help us to put a serious dent in this vicious virus that is already mutating. Citizens of other countries have united in efforts to wear masks to contain the spread. There are continued flares they have to address but not the prolonged, consistent, high rate of deaths.
Does Trump want us to die? What’s in that for him? We can no longer accept he doesn’t know what he’s doing, which was bad enough. He does things intentionally, strategically based on whatever is in his own best interest. So, again, what’s in it for Trump to increase the number of deaths? Schoolchildren, teachers, football players, college students, and rally attendees. I can’t fathom how he recklessly disregards all of these lives, but that’s true of many, many things he says and does.
Last night, at a rally in Ohio, Trump claimed again, falsely, that people under 18 are not getting sick, urging schools to open. Of the people who’ve contracted the virus through recently opened schools, half have been students and half teachers/staff.
On September 20, 2020, Donald J. Trump said, “It affects virtually nobody. It’s an amazing thing.” He gave himself an A+ for his response to the pandemic.
Today, September 21, 2020, the United States of America reached a death toll of more than 200,000. We may reach 400,000 by Christmas.
200,000 American lives and counting.