The president of the United States says he’s not responsible for dealing with the pandemic that has savaged America and already has killed tens of thousands of his countrymen. If he’s not ultimately responsible, who is? Who runs the country?
Are they the state governors, who have their hands full competing with each other for priceless protective equipment such as gowns and face masks, ventilators and coronavirus testing to safeguard medical professionals, others on the frontlines of the battle to save lives and the rest of us?
“I don’t take responsibility at all,” Donald Trump told a news conference in March. Let that sink in. That incredible statement got a pass, maybe because it was drowned in so many subsequent incredible statements that have spewed from his mouth, including ingesting poison.
Trump has abrogated his implied sworn duty to protect the American people, a president’s No. 1 responsibility in governing. Hard to believe a president could or would do that.
What can we the people do about someone whose aim from the moment he took office, according to former presidential advisor Steve Bannon, is “the destruction of the administrative state?” He’s already succeeded in hollowing out a good portion of the federal government.
Impeached by the House of Representatives but resuscitated by the sycophantic GOP-led Senate’s refusal to convict, there appears to be no way to stop Trump now. It takes the Republicans to do that, and they have proven they won’t.
The commentators have been saying since the beginning of Trump’s term that he is a danger to democracy, a danger to the country. Turns out, COVID-19 proved they were right; it wasn’t just idle criticism or “fake news” or the “deep state.” Tens of thousands of Americans have died and hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 cases have been reported in this country.
And there is more to come because Trump refused to do what was right in January or February to ensure this country was prepared for the deadly virus. His intelligence community warned him of the danger in January and he ignored the warning for weeks, focusing instead on the crumbling stock market and his probable weakening re-election prospects
Critics have blamed Trump for shrugging off the seriousness of the coronavirus in its early stages at the beginning of the year, when it first emerged in China. But, in his typical warped personality witnessed openly on numerous occasions for more than three years, shunning responsibility for acting more swiftly, he shifted the blame to governors, President Barack Obama and anyone and anything to save his narcissistic hide. He even blamed the World Health Organization (WHO).
More lies, among the 18,000 The Washington Post has tracked since Trump took office Jan. 20, 2017.
The Post, quoting U.S and international officials, reported April 19 that more than a dozen American researchers, doctors and public health experts worked full time at the WHO’s Geneva headquarters as the new virus emerged late last year “and transmitted real-time information about its discovery and spread in China to the Trump administration.”
“The presence of so many U.S. officials undercuts President Trumps assertion that the WHO’s failure to communicate the extent of the threat, born of a desire to protect China, is largely responsible for the rapid spread of the virus in the United States,” the Post said.
Trump surely must have been told of the danger and didn’t tell the American people. The stock market and the economy must have come first, not American lives.
Richard C. Gross, a career journalist at home and abroad, retired as the opinion page editor of The Baltimore Sun.