Impeached President Donald J. Trump failed last night in a desperate attempt to save his political skin with a television talk designed to calm a nervous nation confronted with a killer virus.
After using the power of the media to deliver details of a series of legislative and economic actions — including a ban on travel from Europe for 30 days — and bragging about how his administration had managed to keep the deadly novel coronavirus from sweeping across the country, Trump uttered this unforgettable line:
“I will always put the well-being of America first.”
Those words must have been comforting for relatives of the 38 Americans who have already died from coronavirus and the nearly 1,200 others diagnosed with the disease over the past few weeks.
But the real problem with that bogus and pandering statement is that it came after more than a month of Trump downplaying the seriousness of coronavirus, telling the public every chance he got that once warm weather hit, it would miraculously vanish.
Trump’s words last night — delivered in Teleprompter style that still managed to sound arrogant — were carefully scripted in an attempt to score political points with an audience he and his enablers realize is slowly slipping from his re-election campaign. Trump needed to appear presidential. He needed to sound in control of a situation spiraling downhill as the death toll of Americans keeps climbing and the number of carriers of the virus grows rapidly (and far above the number he predicted would be the top of the count — 17).
He needed to reassure the country that health care professionals were on top of the situation; that test kits were being delivered in record numbers; that everyone needed to follow the longstanding advice of medical professionals at the Center for Disease Control — you know wash your hands frequently, cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough — in order to help minimize the spread of the coronavirus.
Trump needed to showcase for the financial community how he was going to take care of them during the economic collapse that is about to hit not only the United States, but the global community as the stock market officially entered “bear market” territory Wednesday with a drop of more than 1,400 points following more than a week of mostly negative closing numbers.
Sure, Trump delivered all the necessary information Wednesday night. But it was too late.
His brief remarks were needed a month ago when the virus took hold of residents of a Washington state nursing home that is now one of the hot spots of “community spread.” His words came too late for the citizenry of New Rochelle, N.Y. (just north of New York City) many of whom are now in a lockdown mode designed to minimize the possibility of other folks in that area contracting the disease.
His words came too late to minimize disruption of life as we knew it just a month ago, before the National Basketball Association ended its season when a player tested positive; before many schools were forced to close; and before entertainers canceled concerts.
Some might rightly call Trump’s talk purely political. They might point out that he got out in front of former Vice President Joe Biden’s promise that he was going to provide the nation with a specific plan on what the leaders of America should be doing to have a chance to win the war against this disease. Trump couldn’t let Super Joe show him up, right? He couldn’t let a seasoned and experienced government official show the American people how a real leader should act.
No, Trump had to talk to the nation before his most likely Democratic opponent in the fall presidential sweepstakes beat him to the punch. Trump needed to deliver the political goods for his campaign to remain in the White House so that he can continue repaying his debt to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump managed to deliver the words but they failed to provide any evidence that he knows how to manage a crisis that could cripple the country.
His talk demonstrated once again that he is a cold, heartless power-hungry politician who will do and say anything to hold onto his lavish lifestyle now based in the White House.
Trump’s words and actions will have little if any impact on the spread of coronavirus in America.
His words and promised actions should have been delivered a month ago, not after a political rival announced his intention to show Trump how a real leader acts in a national and global crisis.