“Foreign Virus” Makes Trump Smaller, Failed To Lift His Stature In Oval Office Address

I was in the car for a drive this evening as Donald Trump took to the airwaves from the Oval Office.  Trump was not more than a minute or so into his prepared remarks when he uttered a phrase that made me hold the steering wheel tighter.  Trump spoke of the health threat we face coming from a “foreign virus”.  I looked at the radio computerized dial and just could not fathom that I had heard it correctly.

I was stunned that Trump would allow his xenophobia to even be inserted into this crisis.  I wanted to yell that viruses do not have a nationality but held back as I did not want to miss his heavy and labored breathing, and whatever else he had to say.  (Listening to the radio for such events is something I much prefer as it allows for a different tone to be gathered from a speech.  But I must say Trump’s nasal contortions were nauseating.)

The racism from Trump was most disturbing, and while certainly not a new thing, sends a message that even in a time of crisis Trump can not rise to the level of credibility and behavior that we are told the office forces the elected one to meet.

I know that my readers grasp the fact this is a global threat that can only be resolved by working with, and not against, all the other nations of the world.  While listening to Trump it seemed he actually believes the ‘foreign virus‘ can be stopped from outside the country when it’s already here.

Banning European flights as the centerpiece of his speech was a strategic way to attempt to frame the virus as “foreign,” or “other,” or “not happening here.”  This use of this plan is designed to make people who still don’t believe this is a serious virus–except that this virus is 10x more lethal than the flu-– to have people incorrectly conclude there is a way to keep it out of the country.

Historians will write of this night and this moment in our nation’s story.  And it will be noted that at the time when events and time offered an opening for Trump to rise up to the office, he instead chose to remain a small, troubled, and divisive man.

And xenophobic.

Trump’s Lack Of Leadership Over Coronavirus

It is quite disconcerting to see the level of partisanship which is taking hold of a most serious medical condition inflicting the entire world. While those in the United States who watch Fox News seem to have a disregard for science and for the needed collection of data so to more adequately fight the coronavirus, there is now data to underscore the split between those who believe in science and those who believe in the wild conspiracy theories advanced by conservative media.

The lack of leadership from the Trump White House, to the purposeful dissemination of misleading and outright lies from Trump about the virus, promotes a partisanship that need not, and should not exist in the United States at this time.  It is just one more clear indicator of how far adrift our nation is from the norms that once anchored and unified us.  When facts are vilified, the lowest educated in our land spew rhetoric about “fake news”, and knowing this mindset was created by Trump over the years so to undermine trust in government and our institutions, we then have no need to ask why, in part, the markets are tanking. 

Today I read an Economist/YouGov poll on the coronavirus issue.

Among Republicans: 60% say US is overreacting, 80% say Trump’s policy is appropriate, 66% say they’re not worried, 16% say it’s a definitely or probably a “hoax.”

Among Democrats: The numbers are 32%, 9%, 40%, 4%.

It should be noted, with no surprise, that the medical and scientific community align with the more sobering conclusions about the pandemic than the Trump White House, Fox News, and the undereducated Trump base.

The one exception to the nonsense from the conservative side, which stunned me, came from none-other than Tucker Carlson.  I agree completely with this statement.

While some of his colleagues have downplayed coronavirus fears, Tucker Carlson over the last few weeks has taken a much different approach. And that approach was on full display Monday night when Carlson seemed to call out both President Donald Trump and some of his colleagues on Fox News — without naming them specifically — for dismissing what he told viewers is a “very serious problem.”“People you trust, people you probably voted for, have spent weeks minimizing what is clearly a very serious problem,” Carlson said. “‘It’s just partisan politics,’ they say. ‘Calm down. In the end this was just like the flu and people die from that every year. Coronavirus will pass.”

Carlson said people who make such arguments may have good intentions, but they’re wrong. “They may not know any better,” Carlson said. “Maybe they’re just not paying attention, or maybe they believe they’re serving some higher cause by shading reality. … And there’s an election coming up. Best not to say anything that might help the other side. We get it. But they’re wrong” Carlson called it a “major event,” stressing, “It’s definitely not just the flu.”

We all have seen a lot over the last four years but perhaps nothing is more telling and dangerous than what is playing out now with the health and well-being of the nation’s citizenry.  The Trump White House is allowing for the coronavirus to spread due to their lack of focused messaging, manipulating test kit distribution, and undermining funding for the agencies designed to study and inform the public about national health concerns.    In so doing it is shining a most glaring light on the darker motives and more sinister partisanship that lurks within this White House.