“I don’t take responsibility at all”: how the coronavirus mishandling is a swan song to Trump’s presidency

Isabella Cordell, Director of Communications

COVID-19 has shaken the nation, prompting school and business closures as well as infecting over 185,000 people in the U.S. alone. With Georgia unfortunately having increasing coronavirus activity, anxious Georgians look to the federal government for guidance and support during this time. 

Yet, Trump has done more for stoking coronavirus fears and spreading false information, all while stroking his ego at the expense of a nation that deserves better leadership during this time. The President’s delusional, self-centered thinking has led to concerns more centered on his economic prospects than the actual needs of suffering Americans, with baffled citizens looking on as he makes irrationally optimistic statements that quickly turn into empty promises.

 In the start of March alone, Trump was found to have made 33 misleading or false statements concerning the pandemic in only a span of two weeks. Below are examples of his most damaging missteps, from false or misleading claims to catastrophic decisions. 

The Washington Post has compiled a timeline of Trump’s quotes and attitudes towards the pandemic. Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Disbanding the pandemic response team

May 2018 marked the date that “the top White House official who was focused on pandemic response departed the White House”. Trump and his team claimed that a restructuring as opposed to an elimination of the team followed. The restructuring of sorts was said at the time to allow for other matters of national security to be brought to the forefront. With the reinvigorated need for this team, a leader has emerged: Jared Kushner. Kushner, much like with any of the long list of duties given to him by Trump, does not have any experience in public health. That has not stopped him from filling important positions in FEMA and other organizations to fix the problems associated with the coronavirus. It is hard to say that a man who has never had any qualifications for disaster relief and public health leadership should be stepping into these positions now, with so much at stake. Yet, his father did get him into Harvard, so that’s something

One can say that this move was done without knowledge of the horrors that 2020 would bring. Nevertheless, health experts have been warning the U.S. and world in general for years that there is too little preparation for a catastrophic outbreak

Surely, the scientific and national security experts knew of the importance of maintaining this protection against pandemic threats. Nevertheless, much like with anything, I doubt Trump heeded the warnings of experts.

“Anybody that needs a test gets a test”.

Anyone who has watched the news has heard of the struggles to receive testing in this country, from failing original tests to an inability to test the people who truly need to be tested, such as medical workers. The testing problems are endless, making it so much worse to hear Trump drone on about how effective he has been in ensuring proper testing practices. Instead of bragging about his ability to test, perhaps Trump should actually find a way to have more widespread and accurate testing across the country. 

Vaccines will come out “over the next few months”.

Providing false and misleading hope will not mean that vaccines will magically appear. Even optimistic evaluations suggest that vaccine rollout will happen at the earliest after 18 months. This impossible promise only serves to disillusion the public into not following social distancing and other mitigation protocols in favor of blind hope for something that will never occur within the time span Trump posited. 

Comparing coronavirus to the flu

The flu and the coronavirus still continue to not be comparable. By spreading this information, Trump is only fueling the fire of individuals that continue to not act against this pandemic with the seriousness required by doing social distancing and listening to much-needed advice from medical professionals. Comparing the coronavirus to the flu is comparing something that is familiar and can be prevented with vaccines to something completely unknown and that the population really has no previous immunity to. By misguiding people to think that it is the same, Trump is reinforcing people disobeying regulations put in place to stop the coronavirus’s spread. 

“I don’t take responsibility at all”. 

Once again, Trump provides the perfect example of why a volatile concoction of nepotism and egotism should never lead a country. The inability to own up to mistakes (of which he has made many) is like rubbing salt into a wound of a struggling nation. For Trump to so blatantly deny his role in either worsening or strengthening the national movement against the pandemic is just more reasoning as to why he is incapable of being a force of positive change during this time. Even by tasking Pence and Kushner with the major duties in the fight against COVID-19, Trump is distancing himself from responsibility and, thus, distancing himself from the ability to help.