The Trump administration’s own analytic models are projecting that the daily death toll from the coronavirus pandemic could double by the end of the month. Other experts expect the mortality numbers to start soaring as stay-at-home orders are loosened. And others worry infections and deaths will boomerang and bring on another round of closures, medical-supply shortages and overrun hospitals.
Nevertheless, President Donald Trump seems to want to declare “mission accomplished” and move on to campaigning for re-election.
Not all presidents possess the finest skills for governing, but they all want to give it a try – at least until Trump. From the day he was sworn in, he has shown utter disinterest in the details of running the government. He has repeatedly displayed an exceedingly limited grasp of policy details and a penchant for leaving the hard work to others.
Luckily for him and for the country, Trump has not been confronted with any big challenge that couldn’t be sloughed off to Congress, put off to another day, or addressed with bravado and distraction. At least that was the case until the virus came along.
Trump’s one and only true skill is salesmanship. As he describes himself, he is “a cheerleader.” As the coronavirus crisis has grown larger by the day, Trump, at various times, has tried to convince the country that COVID-19 was no worse than the flu; that it would miraculously go away; that there are plenty of diagnostic tests for everyone; that there was no shortage of protective gear for medical workers; that his son-in-law and his vice-president had everything under control; and, now, that you can get back to shopping and working and traveling and, please ignore all those dying people around you.
This time, though, his cheerleading is not working especially well. Trump may have been a great pitchman for his real estate deals, his phony university, his TV show and for his unending presidential campaign, but death has a more convincing way of grabbing attention and wrenching people into hard, cold reality.
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