Donald Trump is revealing how “deeply unsuited he is to deal with a genuine crisis that he can’t bluff his way through,” per an editorial published Sunday in the Washington Examiner, a conservative political news site and weekly magazine that often has the president’s back.
This time, the Examiner had a serious problem with the president’s deceitful approach to the coronavirus threat.
“It’s one thing for Trump to insist he had a ‘perfect’ phone call [to Ukraine] and have all his Republican minions fall in line. It’s another thing to downplay a growing epidemic as more and more Americans get sick,” wrote the Examiner’s executive editor Philip Klein.
Trump’s comments on Friday while touring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were particularly disturbing, the Examiner noted. Instead of making sober, steadying statements about the concrete steps being taken to protect Americans, Trump attacked CNN, called Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) a “snake” for criticizing the administration’s handling of a disease that has killed 14 people in Inslee’s state and asked about ratings for his Fox News town hall meeting.
Trump also claimed tests devised by the CDC were perfect and that anyone who needed one could get it, even though CDC and other federal officials revealed that early tests were flawed and demand for tests had outstripped supply.
Most stunning, Klein noted, was Trump’s reluctance to allow the passengers, including some 1,000 Americans, to leave the Grand Princess cruise ship, which is carrying nearly two dozen people who are sick with coronavirus, because it would increase the reported numbers of cases.
“Trump appears to be more concerned with numbers that might make him look bad in the short-term, then he is with actually taking the most prudent measures to save lives over time,” Klein wrote.
Trump has repeatedly insisted that the coronavirus threat is all but over, even as cases continued to mount. He also claimed that the 15 domestic cases reported last month would “go down close to zero.” As of Sunday, there were more than 500 cases — and 22 deaths.
“Trump will be judged on his handling of the spread of a virus,” Klein warned. “And the outcome will be clear no matter how many things he makes up, no matter how confident he pretends to be, and no matter how many insults he heaves.”
Read the editorial here.