For several months now, President Trump has lived in a make believe world where the coronavirus isn’t really a big deal. It’s a world where the coronavirus “affects virtually nobody,” where masks don’t make a difference, and where lockdown measures are actually a conspiracy to make President Trump lose this November. Well, President Trump’s make believe world is coming to an end and facing reality. The president and the first lady both tested positive for the coronavirus. While all Americans should hope that the president recovers quickly, it is impossible to look at this situation and be surprised that the president contracted the virus.
The president’s messaging on the coronavirus has been very poor. Despite health leaders in his administration advising otherwise, President Trump has encouraged people to fight lockdowns, to attend his rallies, and has made it a point to question the effectiveness of masks. To say his attitude toward the coronavirus is thoughtless and dangerous would be an understatement.
After a short break from in-person rallies at the beginning of the outbreak, the president decided to bring his rallies back. He held a mostly, mask-less rally in Minnesota only one day before he tested positive for the virus. He attended a mostly mask-less Rose Garden ceremony formally introducing his pick to the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, about 5 days before testing positive. That Rose Garden ceremony included lots of hugs between attendees, a few of which, including Sen. Mike Lee, has also tested positive for coronavirus.
The president’s complete lack of responsibility for the health of the country and for his own personal health with regards to the coronavirus, has been lamentable. The president has often derided his opponent Joe Biden for wearing a mask in public. It took months before Trump was even seen in public wearing a mask and while at last week’s debate, Trump’s entire entourage removed their masks, leaving themselves and others potentially exposed to the virus.
One question now is whether the president will follow his own suggested treatment and inject disinfectant to rid himself of the virus. Maybe he will take hydroxychloroquine, a drug not proven to be effective in treating the virus, but one that he has touted for months. More likely is that he will receive top quality, tax-payer funded treatment at the hands of competent medical professionals, unlike the hairbrained treatments he’s been pushing to the American people these last few months.
The coronavirus is dangerous and very contagious. President Trump’s personal journey with the coronavirus mirrors that of his response to the virus as president. The virus did not sneak up on him in either case. He had months to take precautionary measures before the U.S. faced its first bad outbreak in March. He also had months to protect himself and his family from getting the virus. If they would have followed the directions of infectious disease experts and wore a mask and cancelled huge, in-person rallies and meetings, the president could have set a positive example and protected himself, his family, and his supporters. Even Herman Cain, one of President Trump’s top advisers, died from the coronavirus about a month after attending a Trump rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma without a mask. The president could have taken a serious approach after tragically losing Herman Cain, but he did not. He failed himself and the American people. Instead choosing to turn mask wearing into a culture war and lambast those who listened to experts and heeded the CDC suggestions to wear a mask.
With over 200,000 Americans dead from the virus and the economy greatly weakened, President Trump needed the November election to be about something other than the coronavirus. His poor personal actions have all but ensured that the coronavirus, and his shoddy response, will be at the forefront of the minds of voters.
The coronavirus will not go away after November’s presidential election. It should be the hope of all Americans that the president recover quickly from the virus and use this experience to lead the country correctly through this dangerous pandemic until his term ends on January 20, 2021. The American people need to elect a new and competent president to lead us through the pandemic and put us on the road to recovery.
The American people deserve better leadership than they have had.