Trump’s lethal cure for the US coronavirus crisis - opinion

Trump’s ineptitude and bungled response to COVID-19 helped exacerbate the nation’s worst health crisis.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI testifies during a Senate committee hearing on Capitol Hill last month. (photo credit: KEVIN DIETSCH/REUTERS)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI testifies during a Senate committee hearing on Capitol Hill last month.
In that disastrous Fox News interview Sunday, President Trump announced that he plans to unveil a “phenomenal” new health care plan shortly.
Don’t get your hopes up. We’ve heard that for the past four years. This comes from a man who aides say is bored having to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and who once prescribed treating the virus with injections of disinfectant.
With his foray into campaign rallies a big flop in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he expected a million supporters but barely 6,000 came out, he’s decided to resume holding mini-rallies in the Rose Garden in the guise of press conferences and briefings from his virus task force. Television networks should report the newsworthy content but not give the Trump campaign free time by carrying the political theater portion.
If the new round is anything like the earlier version, look for crass plugs for the My Pillow guy, Goya beans, Boeing and other big contributors, along with the usual mix of grievances and rants against enemies real and imagined.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, was the star of those briefings. That made him excess baggage as public confidence in the scientist’s advice soared and the prevaricating president’s plunged. Take a lesson from Mike Pence: Kiss the presidential tush or shut up.
Fauci and other experts have been smeared and muzzled by White House aides, even Trump himself. Now the president wants to cut funding for testing and for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He has ordered hospitals to bypass the CDC and send their reports on the pandemic to the National Guard and to political aides in Washington so they can decide what the public and Congress need to know.
This president apparently believes that testing causes the disease. “So, I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please,” he told rally goers. The next day he insisted, “I don’t kid.” So, he is proposing cutting funding to the states for testing and contact tracing. He also wants to cut billions from the Pentagon and State Department budgets earmarked to deal with the pandemic at home and abroad.
That is Dr Trump’s surefire cure for the disease, which he still predicts, as he did again on Sunday, will one day just magically disappear.
With no facts to back up his contentions, Trump told Fox’s Chris Wallace that most young people, “99.7%,” diagnosed with coronavirus “just have the sniffles” and “would heal in a day.”
Bored with the bad news of the pandemic and looking to give his sagging campaign a boost, he has shifted his focus to reopening businesses and schools. He’s even threatening to cut federal funding to schools that disobey him.
As always, it’s personal for a narcissist with an insatiable ego and no empathy.
“The Democrats are purposely keeping their schools closed” just to prevent him from holding his rallies, he charged.
What the self-proclaimed “extremely stable genius” apparently fails to comprehend is that schools and businesses and the broad economy can’t reopen safely until the virus is closed down. He can’t just make it go away by executive order.
EACH DAY brings more bad news he doesn’t want to hear. Aides tell reporters they try to keep some of the bad news from him because they fear outbursts of anger
Trump told Wallace that he plans to announce a “phenomenal... full and complete healthcare plan” within the next two weeks. He claimed, without any explanation, that the Supreme Court “gave me the right” to do it, apparently without going through the Congress. He’s been promising this, sometimes with the same adjectives, for the past four years and, typically, never followed through.
He and his party have had a decade to come up with a viable healthcare plan to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, but all they’ve produced are excuses. Their major problem with the ACA is that it is the signature domestic achievement of Barack Obama.
Obamacare has had the enthusiastic support of more than a dozen Jewish organizations and over 100 Jewish family service agencies and federations. They are all deeply worried about what Republican-led repeal will mean for them and the communities they serve, the JTA reported.
Trump’s ineptitude and bungled response to COVID-19 helped exacerbate the nation’s worst health crisis in a century. So what does he do? He went to the Supreme Court to ask it to void the entire Obamacare plan, every line. Now he wants us to believe he can produce a “phenomenal” replacement with a stroke of his Sharpie.
One of Trump’s driving ambitions is to destroy his predecessor’s accomplishments. It has been painfully visible across the board, in matters of healthcare, the environment, foreign policy, civil liberties, education, immigration, gender rights and more.
So far, Republicans have whittled away at Obamacare, repealing parts here and there, and they’ve pinned their hopes on conservative justices on the Supreme Court to strike the fatal blow. Trump and the GOP have made promises but produced no serious alternative. Their approach can be summed up in four words: “You’re on your own.”
They talk about leaving coverage to “the marketplace,” but what they really mean in leave it to the big insurance and pharmaceutical companies and their friends.
Trump has said under his plan “preexisting conditions will always be taken care of by me and Republicans, 100%.” But that’s just one more lie. As New York magazine’s Intelligence column points out, “In fact, the Republican healthcare plan would strip away protections for patients with preexisting conditions. Trump is currently supporting a legal challenge to those protections in court.”
With the CDC reporting the nation’s infection rate and death toll rising daily, hitting 3.76 million cases and more 140,157 deaths as of Monday this week, Trump wants to change the subject to talk about things that will help boost his base and get him reelected – things like protecting the Confederate flag and statues of the generals who fought under it to protect slavery, sending in the troops to beat up on those “anarchists” in the streets of cities run by Democrats, and blaming the Chinese for sending us this disease just so they could elect Joe Biden.
That’s an explosive and toxic mess that is certain to make this the ugliest and most dangerous campaign season in American history. And that can only make our burgeoning healthcare crisis worse.