The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
A country currently in distress due to a deadly virus sweeping the nation rapidly, faces a much greater challenge. This country is not just diseased with COVID-19 but a much deadlier infection recently referred to, by New York Times writer Gail Collins, as “Trumpvirus”.
The lack of leadership from our narcissistic and ignorant president is killing our country faster than any flu pathogen or stock market decline ever could.
Minimization + False Hope
On January 22, when asked by a CNBC reporter if there were any worries of a pandemic, Trump assured the American people that there was nothing to worry about.
“No, not at all. We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine,” said Trump.
As the virus continued to spread, and the situation continued to deteriorate, lo and behold Trump’s continuous impulse not only to lie to the American people, but to give them a false hope.
Rather than provide helpful and truthful information, Trump is constantly patting himself on the back.
How many times have you heard President Trump say, “It’s going really well. We’re doing great. We really are. We’re doing a fantastic job” ?
At this point, most of us have lost count— just about every single coronavirus press conference feels like deja vu.
On February 26th, Trump stated that the 15 cases would be, “close to zero”.
“When you have 15 people and the 15 within a couple of days are going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done,” said President Trump.
Nearing the one month anniversary of Trump’s statement, the United States came to an increasing number of 800 coronavirus deaths. CNN reporter Jake Tapper, explains in a breaking news report that Trump was clearly providing a false sense of security.
“That was clearly a false sense of security he was providing the nation in keeping with the many lies he has told the nation in order to downplay the virus and its risk and oversell the Trump administration response,” said Tapper.
Tapper then raises a very important question.
How many lives were affected by Trump’s false sense of security?
“With more than 61,000 cases in the U.S far more than 15 far more than zero, there is really no way of knowing how many lives were affected by that false sense of security that the president projected,” said Tapper.
On February 28th at his rally in South Carolina, Trump referred to the impending deadly outbreak as the “new hoax” facilitated by the Democrats.
Instead of preparing for the chaos that we are all now living in, Trump used the media’s attention on the virus as a promotional opportunity for his re-election campaign.
According to NBC Washington fact check, Trump stated that coronavirus was a hoax facilitated by the democrats.
“They tried the impeachment hoax. That was on a perfect conversation. They tried anything. They tried it over and over. They’d been doing it since you got in. It’s all turning. They lost. It’s all turning. Think of it. And this is their new hoax,” said Trump.
February 29, the following day, Trump claims that he was referring to the democrats finding fault in his administration’s coronavirus response when he used the word, “hoax”.
He then proceeds to praise his administration for all of the great work they have done.
After the first death from coronavirus in Washington State, Trump made the effort to do what we have seen him do so many times before— cover his ass for whatever lie he told the American people.
“My administration has taken the most aggressive action in modern history to prevent the spread of this illness in the United States. We are ready. Totally ready,” said Trump.
In additional efforts to counter the “hoax” lie, Trump decided to use his favorite weapon of choice— lawsuits.
According to Time Magazine, Trump’s reelection campaign is now threatening lawsuits against local TV stations in Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin for airing anti-Trump ads.
The campaign claims that the anti-Trump ads, featuring the president talking about the coronavirus and calling it a “hoax”, are false.
A former real estate tycoon in New York City, Trump continues his behavior of shooting his mouth off and relying on his lawyers, in this case, his administration to bail him out.
The Art of Counterpunching
Come March, as cases increased and the impending doom of COVID-19 further lured over the nation, Trump switched from minimizing the seriousness of coronavirus and calling it a “hoax” to praising himself and his administration for all of their great efforts.
He gives himself a pat on the pack and tells reporters that he knew it was a pandemic all along.
“This is a pandemic,” said Trump. “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”
On March 18 Trump tweets that his efforts have always been great and all other news reporting and quoting his exact ignorance and buffoonery is merely the work of a “Fake News narrative.”
“I always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously, and have done a very good job from the beginning, including my very early decision to close the ‘borders’ from China – against the wishes of almost all. Many lives were saved. The Fake News new narrative is disgraceful & false!” said Trump.
He also advertised many times that coronavirus, a virus that has claimed over a millions lives today, will just disappear into thin air one day.
“It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear,” said Trump.
On March 13, after announcing the national emergency, Trump proceeded to deviate from answering the important questions asked, he took no responsibility for any of his actions and he argued with anyone who tried to highlight failures.
When PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor pressed Trump on his decision in May of 2018 to eliminate the National Security Council’s Pandemic team, he responded saying that it was simply a “nasty question”, he took zero responsibility and claimed that he knew nothing about it.
Blackmail + Manipulation
During the March 27 coronavirus update press conference, Trump claimed he wanted the state governors to be more “appreciative”.
According to Senior political reporter for The Fix at The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Trump seemed to suggest that he made coronavirus response decisions based on his personal grievances.
During this daily White House briefing Trump discloses that he advised Vice President Pence, against calling governors of Michigan and Washington state because they had been critical of Trump and the federal response.
“I say, ‘Mike, don’t call the governor of Washington; you’re wasting your time with him. Don’t call the woman in Michigan. It doesn’t make any difference what happens.’ You know what I say: ‘If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call,’” said Trump.
When asked what more he wants from Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee (D) and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, he stated that he wants more gratitude— he wants them to pat him on the back for all of his great work.
“All I want them to do— very simple: I want them to be appreciative,” said Trump. “I don’t want them to say things that aren’t true. I want them to be appreciative.”
Inslee tweeted his response later that same day.
“I’m not going to let personal attacks from the president distract me from what matters: beating this virus and keeping Washingtonians healthy,” said Inslee.
Trump claims that he has taken such great care of both Washington and Michigan while he also demonstrated that he will literally refuse to even pick up the phone and offer his assistance simply because they are ungrateful.
Trump claims that he is doing such a great job when he is not only deceiving the American people but he is handling emergency response decisions like a petty child.
Trump claims to be “making America great again” when really he is making it worse.
Maybe Collins was on to something. Maybe COVID-19 isn’t the worst virus we’ve seen since the Spanish flu. Maybe Trump really is the real virus.
And like the individuals who are more vulnerable to COVID-19 because of their pre-existing conditions or weakened immune systems, our nation’s political system falls ill to that same vulnerability.
I think it’s safe to say that we are going to need a hell of a lot more than hand soap and face masks to fight off the deadly virus of President Donald Trump.