As the coronavirus(covid-19) pandemic plays out in the United States, Americans are beginning to do what they’ve always done when faced with a national emergency and that is, questioning the government’s handling of the said emergency.
Seasoned politicos will agree that beyond any policy proposals any U.S. administration and /or President instututes, the legacy of most U.S. Presidents is ultimately shaped by how they handle a major crisis that happens under their watch.
President John F Kennedy for example is best remenbered for the way he handled the Cuban missile crisis(averted a nuclear war with the Soviets), and President George W. Bush for the bullhorn moment right after September 11, 2001 where he declared standing next to a first responder, “I can hear you!…The rest of the world hears you! And the people – and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.”
There is no question that the coronavirus pandemic is one of the biggest crisis this country has ever faced. This therefore means when Americans in the future will look back at Trump’s presidency, his handling of the coronavirus pandemic will tower above everything else in his presidency–unless of course a crisis bigger than coronavirus pandemic happens under his watch–let’s pray that it doesn’t.
Trump’s public statements about the pandemic are already paintng a picture of a confused/ bungled/ incompetent response to the crisis. Don’t take Yours Truly’s word for it, here’s a timeline of some the things President Trump has said publicly about covid-19–not exhaustive of course, but damning nonetheless.(source: mostly CNBC)
Jan. 22:“It’s going to be just fine. We have it totally under control.”
Jan. 24:“It will all work out well.”
Jan. 30:“We think we have it very well under control.”
Feb. 7 (tweet): “… as the weather starts to warm & the virus hopefully becomes weaker, and then gone.”
Feb. 10: “I think the virus is going to be — it’s going to be fine.”
Feb. 14: “We have a very small number of people in the country, right now, with it. It’s like around 12. Many of them are getting better. Some are fully recovered already. So we’re in very good shape.”
Feb. 19: “I think it’s going to work out fine. I think when we get into April, in the warmer weather, that has a very negative effect on that and that type of a virus. So let’s see what happens, but I think it’s going to work out fine.”
Feb. 24 (tweet): “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. … Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”
Feb. 25: “You may ask about the coronavirus, which is very well under control in our country. We have very few people with it, and the people that have it are … getting better. They’re all getting better. … As far as what we’re doing with the new virus, I think that we’re doing a great job.”
Feb. 26: “Because of all we’ve done, the risk to the American people remains very low. … When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero. That’s a pretty good job we’ve done.”
Feb. 28: “I think it’s really going well. … We’re prepared for the worst, but we think we’re going to be very fortunate.”
Feb. 28: “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”–This is by far, Trump’s most damning covid-19 statement.
Feb. 28: “This is their new hoax.”
March 4: “Some people will have this at a very light level and won’t even go to a doctor or hospital, and they’ll get better. There are many people like that.”
March 9 (tweet): “So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!”
March 10: “And it hit the world. And we’re prepared, and we’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”
March 11: “I think we’re going to get through it very well.”
March 12: “It’s going to go away. … The United States, because of what I did and what the administration did with China, we have 32 deaths at this point … when you look at the kind of numbers that you’re seeing coming out of other countries, it’s pretty amazing when you think of it.”
March 15: “This is a very contagious virus. It’s incredible. But it’s something that we have tremendous control over.”
March 16: “If you’re talking about the virus, no, that’s not under control for any place in the world.”
March 17: “I’ve always known this is a, this is a real, this is a pandemic … I’ve felt that it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”
March 31:“This is going to be a painful two weeks….Our strength will be tested, our endurance will be tried.”
Bottom line folks, the jury is still out on how Trump handles covid-19, which is still ravaging this country and many others. But if the timeline of Trump’s public statements about covid-19 are anything to go by, history will judge him very harshly for his response. No reasonable person can ever conclude that a President is a handling a pandemic well after he he goes on live TV and says the pandemic is “totally under control” and will miraculously “go away”, only for it to turn around and kill thousands of Americans(and counting). The only way Trump can salvage his legacy re covid-19 will be for him to step aside and let his very capable health professionals handle the crisis from here on out. This also means letting the said health professionals be the primary sources of covid-19 related information as opposed to Trump himself.
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