ChrisWeigant.com

The Very Little, Very Late President

[ Posted Monday, April 20th, 2020 – 17:26 UTC ]

President Donald Trump, after week upon week of inaction, was finally convinced to make use of the Defense Production Act to coordinate the distribution of medical swabs. This will hopefully alleviate one of the bottlenecks the states have had to deal with as they attempt to ramp up testing in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. However, this step could have been taken a month earlier, which would have solved the problem when it actually developed, but for some reason Trump refused to do so until now.

This follows the pattern that Trump has set during the pandemic crisis. First, he denies that a problem exists -- for as long as he thinks he can get away with such denial. He loudly asserts that everything is fine and nothing's going wrong, all evidence to the contrary. Then he tries to blame the problem on someone else -- anyone else, really: China. The World Health Organization. Democrats in general. Democratic governors. "Nasty" women reporters in the media who keep pointing out that the problem is getting worse. Nancy Pelosi. Chuck Schumer. Barack Obama. Joe Biden. Dr. Anthony Fauci. Bill Gates. Mitt Romney. Trump lashes out in all directions, hoping to distract everyone from the plain truth that he and he alone has always had the power to fix the problem, but refused to act.

After getting hammered by the media and the governors (Republican governors, especially) on television, Trump finally explodes into action, only six or eight weeks late. He then asserts that nobody knew there was a problem until he identified it, explains the problem at a third-grade reading level as if everyone didn't already know all about it, and loudly heaps praise upon himself for his decisive (and tardy) action which will now solve the problem. Anyone who doesn't buy into this fantasy is rudely dismissed as propagating a "hoax" or a "scam."

America deserves better than this from their president, obviously. If we had any normal president -- Democratic or Republican -- we simply wouldn't be where we are today. Any normal president (Barack Obama, either Bush, either Clinton...) would have been alerted to the problem when the problem became apparent. In this case, that would be "early March," at the absolute latest. Then they would have immediately delegated the task of solving the problem to a team, which would report back within 24 or perhaps 48 hours. Any normal president would then take the appropriate action, and the problem would begin to go away.

Imagine a normal president in the White House, a few months ago. He or she would have realized at the start that the states were going to need lots of federal help. He or she would have immediately used the Defense Production Act to streamline the production and delivery of: masks, face shields, gloves, gowns, ventilators, medicine, hand sanitizer, swabs, reagents, test kits, and anything else deemed necessary for the frontline medical staff, so that both governors and hospitals could focus on fighting the pandemic, and not on fighting with other governors and hospitals in a dog-eat-dog world of trying to outbid each other for critical supplies. And all of this would have happened by mid-March, at the absolute latest.

Any normal president would have also sought to bring the country together in a time of crisis. They would have addressed the nation with facts, scientific evidence, and accurate projections for the near future. A normal president would have called on Americans to sacrifice together, for the common good. A normal president would have shown empathy for the sick and the dying. A normal president would have sworn off making political hay over any aspect of the crisis. A normal president wouldn't have continually lied to the American public, to assuage his or her own ego. A normal president would admit it when mistakes were made, and pledged to do better in the future. A normal president would not require gushing praise before ordering supplies to a state led by a governor of the opposition party.

In fact, it is almost impossible to even imagine Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, or George H. W. Bush acting like a petulant five-year-old in the face of a deadly crisis. That's because you can disagree with any past president on political grounds, but it's almost impossible to imagine them acting even slightly like what we're seeing now from Trump. Sure, Dubya had his Hurricane Katrina fiasco, but even in the depths of his inaction he didn't try to pin all the blame on his political enemies and the media. We can still have political disagreements in times of crisis (and we do, regularly), but we should expect at the very least a bare minimum of competence from our leaders. In the past, when presidents have not met this bar, they have paid a serious political price for it (as indeed happened after Katrina).

The more the public sees of Trump's flailing in the face of crisis, the more they're turning away from him. The more press conferences he gives, the more the public is allowed to see into what passes for decision-making in Trump's White House. And it's just as bad as all the tell-all books written since Trump took office have indicated. Trump doesn't read anything longer than a single sentence, he refuses to learn the basics of the challenge in front of him, he is easily distracted and laser-focused on how it all affects him personally, and has to be dragged kicking and screaming to patently obvious actions that should have been taken a long time ago. Then, after being forced by bad press to do something he has been resisting, Trump insists that he's been on top of the problem all along and nobody could have solved it better than him.

The problem with all of this is that people can see for themselves that none of what Trump tells them is true. Trump can insist that all the governors have all the tests they need, but when every single governor immediately goes on television to dispute this whopper, people know which one is more believable. They can see the obvious -- that what Trump just did is perhaps a smidgeon better than "too little, too late," but not by much. At the very best, it could be called "very little, very late."

Donald Trump just solved a problem that has existed for over a month. He could have solved it back then, but he didn't. Governors have been warning of a serious shortage of swabs and reagents needed to perform tests, and the White House did nothing for many weeks. We still haven't gotten to the level of testing that Vice President Mike Pence promised six weeks ago. And while Trump did finally invoke the D.P.A. for swabs, he still has yet to do so for the reagents.

Hopefully, this November the voters will decide that we deserve better than this, and Joe Biden will be elected our next president. If this comes to pass, the first line of his inauguration speech has already been written for him. Hopefully, Biden will stand up and tell the American people: "Our long national nightmare is over."

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

46 Comments on “The Very Little, Very Late President”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    One positive note we can say about president Trump is that he is providing an excellent case study in how not to mount a response to a dangerous health crisis.

    He and governors who are relaxing mitigation measures while infections are still on the rise and testing is not where it needs to be are proving with crystal clarity that the message the DG of the WHO keeps repeating, again and again, needs to be heeded by them and everyone else.

    Which is to say that this novel coronavirus - the first coronavirus to cause a pandemic - can only be effectively and efficiently controlled and beaten if there is unity of purpose at the community level through to the state and national levels, cooperation at the regional level and global solidarity.

    The first time I heard Dr. Tedros speak about the need for global solidarity I wondered if that was realistically attainable or just pie-in-the-sky platitudes, with apologies to Joshua.

    If anyone still thinks that 'we are all in this together' and 'global solidarity' are no more than empty words, then the US response to its own epidemic, let alone the pandemic, gives a certain hard core of truth and practicality to those once idealistic phrases.

  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Hopefully, this November the voters will decide that we deserve better than this, and Joe Biden will be elected our next president. If this comes to pass, the first line of his inauguration speech has already been written for him. Hopefully, Biden will stand up and tell the American people: "Our long national nightmare is over."

    And we can all breathe a long sigh of relief and dare to look forward to opportunities not squandered!

  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    What a excellent title, by the way. :)

  4. [4] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    i couldn't help thinking it was some sort of sexual innuendo...

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Heh.

  6. [6] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    That was my absolute first thought, too!

    H-a-p-p-y B-i-r-t-d-a-y M-I-s-t-e-r ...

  7. [7] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    What!?

    Make mine another double, please.

  8. [8] 
    TheStig wrote:

    In a bold move to increase Georgia's average IQ, the Governor plans to open up massage and tattoo parlors, hair salons and movie theaters during an epidemic. This just may work- and it's a lot cheaper than loading the less mentally gifted into B Space Ship Arks and crashing them into the sun.

  9. [9] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Freedom's just another word for noggin screws too loose.

  10. [10] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Heh

  11. [11] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Just keep them in the very tiny minority and everything will be just fine.

  12. [12] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    [8]

    TheStig wrote,

    In a bold move to increase Georgia's average IQ, the Governor plans to open up massage and tattoo parlors, hair salons and movie theaters during an epidemic. This just may work- and it's a lot cheaper than loading the less mentally gifted into B Space Ship Arks and crashing them into the sun.

    I like the idea!

    But I was thinking, "hold Trump rallies in large venues." (political) natural (self) selection and all.

  13. [13] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    And wouldn't crashing space arks into the sun be kinda sorta on the"big government" side?

  14. [14] 
    John M wrote:

    [13] MtnCaddy wrote:

    "And wouldn't crashing space arks into the sun be kinda sorta on the"big government" side?"

    Not if you let Elon Musk build them and finance it through selling them one way tickets.

  15. [15] 
    John M wrote:

    [4] nypoet22 wrote:

    "i couldn't help thinking it was some sort of sexual innuendo..."

    Trump was too limp in his response and Melania ended up being too late? Ewwww! Please get that image out of my head!

  16. [16] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Well, there was one good half sentence.

    "Hopefully, this November the voters will decide we deserve better than this,".

    The rest of the sentence was laughable.

    "and Joe Biden will be elected our next president."

    Is this the same Joe Biden that also did not speak out for delaying the primaries in March and April?

    Is this the same Joe Biden that has been working for the big money interests for decades which is why we have a President Trump now?

    You are dreaming if you think that electing big money Biden will be an end to the national nightmare. It will just be more of the same.

    Biden will be nothing more than a little bit better than Trump and not too late because too late would require Biden doing the right thing now by running a small donor only campaign for the general election which is not the Biden that would be elected in your scenario.

    Articles like this are not enough. It is trying to shift the blame on others for the shortcomings of the big money Dems. It is the other side of the same coin as Trump.

    Anything short of demanding Biden run a small donor only campaign in 2020 and demanding Congress pass Emergency Political Contribution Vouchers now to get our votes in November is not recognizing the problem that put us where we are and is delusional.

    Wake up. Wise up. Rise up.
    Get Real.

  17. [17] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Liz (1)-
    And Biden is providing an excellent case study of how not to respond to a dangerous Democracy crisis caused by politicians financing their campaigns with big money that caused the health crisis.

  18. [18] 
    TheStig wrote:

    MC-14

    The Kennedy Space Center is definitely Government and not exactly small. Georgia can be flexible when Big Gov brings in big money. Oh, that Lyndon Johnson!

    Who in their right mind is going to sit in a packed theater during a plague? You can let the theaters open their doors, but that will only put a small number of dumb asses in the seats.

    Where does the tattoo industry rank in the Georgia economy? Above or below hair salons?

    The Governor needs to set an example by getting himself covered in tattoos. Freedom is not free of pain.

  19. [19] 
    TheStig wrote:

    The Bing, Johns Hopkins and WorldOMeter COVID trackers all indicate that Georgia's cases and fatalities are still growing exponentially. The Governor has jumped the gun - and the Mayor of Atlanta is not happy about it.

    https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2020/04/21/atlanta-mayor-reopen-of-georgia-brian-kemp-cuomo-intv-vpx.cnn

  20. [20] 
    TheStig wrote:
  21. [21] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @ts,

    department of redundancy department?

  22. [22] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    There's no point in going to the movies.

    Sean Hannity says you can't eat popcorn wearing a mask, but you can eat a hot dog.

    If you can't eat popcorn your date will never get to the hot dog at the bottom of the popcorn bucket. :D

  23. [23] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    iewwwwwww.
    ~plucky duck

  24. [24] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Joshua,

    it means that it's easy to SAY a situation is unacceptable, but much more challenging to find a way to put that ethos into practice and make a change for the better.

    Agreed.

  25. [25] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    It is easy to find a way to put that ethos into practice and make a change for the better. It is provided in our Constitution- VOTING.

    The challenge is you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink if he is used to drinking the Koolaid.

    All citizens have to do is stop voting for big money candidates and start voting for small donor only candidates and write in their own name if there are none on the ballot.

    Make a demand for small donor only candidates and enforce it with your votes. Basic democracy.

    Stop drinking the big money Koolaid.

    The big money doesn't work if it doesn't get the votes.

  26. [26] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Don,

    What about trying another way to move your worthy cause forward?

    Why not see who in political office today - in your district and state and at the national level - is working on getting big money influence out of politics and encourage them to move further and faster on this important issue?

    If I have learned anything over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic it is that solidarity and unity in purpose are indispensable when working to push progress and make change for the better.

    Find unity in purpose among your own community to help you find local and state elected officials who agree with the concept of campaign finance reform and work together with national representatives and senators from around the country who are already working on this. And, move on from there.

    You don't have to reinvent the wheel, in other words. Working together with people from your community level right on up to your congressional reps and senators may just be more effective and efficient in the long run.

    The good news is that if Biden forms the next US administration, you will have a president that agrees with you on the essentials of campaign finance reform. And that, my friend, is what is known as a good start!

  27. [27] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "Let's welcome this time of trial as an opportunity to prepare for our collective future. Because, without an all-encompassing vision, there will be no future for anyone." … Pope Francis.

    Amen!

  28. [28] 
    Kick wrote:

    moved forward

    Elizabeth Miller
    94|96

    "Is there anyone alive out there!?"

    What movie is that from?

    Titanic.

  29. [29] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Correct! I just watched it again the other night.

  30. [30] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I use that phrase whenever I'm feeling lonely because no one is commenting around here. :)

  31. [31] 
    Kick wrote:

    A malaria drug widely touted by Donald Trump for treating the new coronavirus -- the creepy "what have you got to lose... take it... try it" -- showed no benefit in a large analysis of its use in United States veterans hospitals.

    There were more deaths among those given hydroxychloroquine versus those receiving standard care.

    https://apnews.com/a5077c7227b8eb8b0dc23423c0bbe2b2

  32. [32] 
    Kick wrote:

    7 Wisconsin coronavirus infections linked to election day, health official says

    Advocates say the spread was preventable and step up their push for mail-in voting.

    By Alex Seitz-Wald

    MILWAUKEE — Officials have identified seven people who appear to have contracted the coronavirus through activities related to the April 7 election in Wisconsin, Milwaukee’s health commissioner said, and advocates worry it could be just the "tip of the iceberg."

    Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik said six of the cases involve Milwaukee voters and one is a Milwaukee poll worker, the Journal Sentinel reported.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/7-wisconsin-virus-cases-linked-person-voting-n1188606

  33. [33] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Republican Senators Lamar Alexander and Roy Blunt published an op-Ed in the WaPost that argues in favor of lots more testing being needed to get control of this epidemic. Sadly, instead of stating that Trump should use the DPA to force corporations to produce the much needed tests, they suggest we play to our RealityTV President’s desire to be on TV and create a SharkTank like show to get people to create new ways to produce the tests!

    They also proudly state that our country is producing about 1 million tests a week and should be up to 2 million per week by June — which seems like an odd thing to be proud of seeing how we are going to need to be testing 5 million per DAY if we are going to have any hope of beating this virus.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/04/20/how-speed-up-testing-shark-tank-government/

  34. [34] 
    Kick wrote:

    NIH Panel Recommends Against Drug Combination Promoted By Trump For COVID-19

    April 21, 20204:15 PM ET

    Joe Palca

    A panel of experts convened by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recommends against doctors using a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin for the treatment of COVID-19 patients because of potential toxicities.

    "The combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin was associated with QTc prolongation in patients with COVID-19," the panel said.

    QTc prolongation increases the risk of sudden cardiac death.

    The recommendation against their combined use would seem to fly in the face of comments made by President Trump suggesting the combination might be helpful. On March 21, for example, the president described them in a tweet as having a "real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine."

    https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/21/840341224/nih-panel-recommends-against-drug-combination-trump-has-promoted-for-covid-19

    _______________

    In Trump's defense, sudden cardiac death is a "game changer" for the patient.

    What have you got to lose? Answer: Your pulse.

  35. [35] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Kick,

    A malaria drug widely touted by Donald Trump for treating the new coronavirus -- the creepy "what have you got to lose... take it... try it" -- showed no benefit in a large analysis of its use in United States veterans hospitals.

    I used to think that FoxNews was just spreading Trump’s propaganda for him, but it is becoming clearer that they are the one's creating the propaganda and that he is the one spreading what they say! He bases his opinions on what he hears them say and then repeats it like a trained parrot.

    I saw an interview with the head of emergency medicine at one of the hospitals in the NE that are in desperate need of PPE supplies. They had found a supplier who had the masks and gowns that they needed (at 5x their normal price) and were arranging for two disguised trucks to go pick up the supplies from the warehouse in the hopes of avoiding the Fed’s who keep confiscating their orders. The trucks were going to take different routes to the hospital so that they would not be stopped together, Even with all of their attempts to avoid detection, the FBI was waiting for them when they got to the warehouse. Fortunately, their congressional representative was able to get FEMA to release the supplies to the hospital at the last moment!

    This problem of the Fed’s taking orders that the states and local governments have arranged without explaining why they are interfering has been going on since the start of this epidemic! It seems that FEMA targets states with Democrats running them more often than states with Republican governors. Trump tells the states that it is up to them to get what they need, but then has the FBI and FEMA snatching up the supplies when they follow his instructions???

    Hospitals are going to soon be seeking members of drug cartels to serve as advisors on how to smuggle in the supplies that they need if this keeps up!

  36. [36] 
    Kick wrote:

    The Senate Intelligence Committee's Volume 4 was released today reaffirming that Russia led an unprecedented attack on the 2016 election and the Intelligence Community methodology was high quality and not political.

    It's heavily redacted, of course, because it's still an ongoing counterintelligence and national security issue.

    Major findings of the GOP-led Senate Intelligence Committee include:

    * The investigative differences of opinion were honest rather than political
    * There was no political pressure on the production of the Assessment
    * Nobody really cared about the contents of the "Steele Dossier"

    https://www.intelligence.senate.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Report_Volume4.pdf

    Have I mentioned lately that this is still being robustly investigated? :)

  37. [37] 
    Kick wrote:

    Liz

    You wanted comments. :)

  38. [38] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I like it!

  39. [39] 
    Kick wrote:

    Russ
    35

    I used to think that FoxNews was just spreading Trump’s propaganda for him, but it is becoming clearer that they are the one's creating the propaganda and that he is the one spreading what they say! He bases his opinions on what he hears them say and then repeats it like a trained parrot.

    Keep in mind that Trump talks to Sean Hannity on a regular basis at night, and they definitely coordinate their BS and propaganda.

    As for the Trump administration confiscating PPE headed to the states, they try their best to outbid the states before they get their hands on the PPE and sabotage them that way. It's criminal.

    It's also a reminder about Trump's projection when he claimed the hospital workers were stealing the PPE for themselves; that's what Trump is doing to the Democratic governors of states so naturally he'd accuse the employees of taking the PPE because projection.

    Hospitals are going to soon be seeking members of drug cartels to serve as advisors on how to smuggle in the supplies that they need if this keeps up!

    The governors and hospitals are "clued in" to the Trump administration's attempts to sabotage them. As an example, the governor of Illinois:

    https://chicago.suntimes.com/coronavirus/2020/4/14/21221459/pritzker-secret-flights-china-illinois-ppe-trump-coronavirus

  40. [40] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'm wondering what the people of Georgia and Tennessee and S Caroline are thinking about their states opening too soon when the important epidemiological benchmarks aren't being met ...

  41. [41] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I mean, I'd love to get my hair done, too but, geez ...

  42. [42] 
    Kick wrote:

    The spread of SARS-CoV-2 depends mainly on two things:
    * How dense the population is
    * How dense the population is:

    https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/04/17/6-states-where-people-are-protesting-stay-at-home-orders/

  43. [43] 
    Kick wrote:

    EM

    I wouldn't want you to think all Americans are stupid. Our county commissioners just extended our stay-at-home orders through May 15... two weeks past our governor's orders, but then again, we were ground zero during the Ebola crisis of 2014 so they learned a lot from that and don't mess around. That is perilously close to 2 months of "lockdown," and I wouldn't be surprised if they extended it past that.

  44. [44] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Liz,

    I'm wondering what the people of Georgia and Tennessee and S Caroline are thinking about their states opening too soon when the important epidemiological benchmarks aren't being met ...

    Just talked to my little brother who lives in GA and works as a physical therapist at a sports medicine hospital. My brother and father still live in the town that I am from — Columbus, GA — which sits an hour SW of Atlanta on the GA/AL border. It’s the second largest city in the state and has Fort Benning Army Base on it’s southern border. Here is my take away from our hour long conversation:

    I think that because the major cities in the South have not been the epicenters for the disease, they truly have not felt the urgency and fear that they need to be feeling in order to treat this situation as seriously as it must be treated. The big outbreaks in GA have been in mostly rural towns. My brother says testing has not been an issue for them. They have had drive up testing available for weeks now, so for their city he wasn’t too worried about reopening some businesses.

    My brother admits that most people do not treat this with the urgency it deserves because this disease is viewed much like Ebola and AIDS were — they sound scary as hell, but they have not been personally impacted by the diseases enough to change the way they live their lives.

    He did not know how the governor believed massage and tattoo parlors or nail salons were supposed to conduct their businesses while maintaining their 6 ft. distancing.

    It’s going to take a lot more deaths in the South before they take it seriously — sadly, I fear that they won’t have to wait too long for that to happen!

  45. [45] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Thanks for that, Russ! I sincerely hope you are 100% wrong about that last bit.

  46. [46] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Sounds like your county is in the same boat as mine. Best wishes to both of them!

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