Thursday, March 19, 2020

What did Donald Trump do today?

He explained why it's not his job to get American doctors desperately needed medical supplies.

Yesterday, Trump called himself a "wartime president" and authorized the use of a Korean War-era law that would allow him to order the manufacture of medical supplies to fight the coronavirus update. But he didn't actually issue any orders.

Asked why today, Trump responded, "The Federal government is not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping. You know, we’re not a shipping clerk."

Actually, that is exactly what the federal government is supposed to be doing, which is why laws like this exist—and were created for use in "wartime" or similar emergencies.

New York Times headline from today

Trump's political strategy is clearer than his public health plans. He has shifted from saying that there was no problem, or that he had already solved the problem, to declaring that the problem exists, but is not his fault or responsibility. 

For example, he has insisted on referring to the coronavirus, known as COVID-19 or SARS-Cov-2, as the "Chinese virus." As American deaths and hospitalizations mount, and the economy teeters on the edge of what may become the biggest recession since the Great Depression, Trump has devoted time from every recent press conference to shifting blame to the Chinese government for failing to contain the virus in the first place. (For its part, the Chinese government is also refusing to take responsibility.)

He even crossed out references to "coronavirus" in his own prepared remarks for today's briefing and wrote in "Chinese virus" to be sure that he would remember to use the term as much as possible.

Image result for trump chinese virus photograph notes
Jabin Botsford/Washington Post

Violence and threats against Asian-Americans has increased sharply in recent days. Trump insists he's not responsible for that, either.

Why is this a bad thing?

  • The health and safety of Americans is more important than Donald Trump's political messaging.
  •  A president who can't or won't do the difficult or un-heroic parts of the job should resign.