This was supposed to be the moment. A changed tone. Tamped-down rhetoric. A sober approach to the coronavirus.
Breathless anchors rushed to share the new perspective of the president, a return to daily briefings, and a renewed respect for the virus that has claimed so many. Finally, he acknowledged that the virus would probably “get worse before it gets better.”
Gone was the bravado of the Chinese travel ban. Gone was “it’s going to just disappear.” Gone was the reluctance to face the catastrophe.
At least for a few minutes anyway.
Lost in those news reports and the significance of the tone change was, perhaps, the most telling presidential quote since the novel coronavirus showed itself late last year.
Trump: U.S. coronavirus outbreak will probably 'get worse before it gets better'
President Donald Trump warned Tuesday the coronavirus pandemic in the United States will probably get worse before it…
“We are in the process of developing a strategy that’s going to be very, very powerful, developed as we go along.”
This would have been an appropriate quote from January or even March, but this quote is from Tuesday, July 21st.
Let that sink in.
This has been one of the two most important news stories every day for the last 5 months (if we’re generous to the administration) and 150,000 Americans have already died from this disease. The United States is an example to the world of how not to handle a crisis. We have been banned from most places on earth because we are too likely to bring the virus with us.
And yet, now, in late July, we are in the process of developing a strategy. (And it’s going to very VERY powerful, so you know he means it. Watching orators at work is a marvel to behold.)
So, all of the advice from Fauci and Birx and Redfield amounted to nothing? We’re starting from scratch on a strategy? Does the administration get that there are other steps AFTER the strategy is built?
Once we have a sense of what we want to do, we then have to figure out how to implement the strategy. And then we’ll have to assign tasks to people and organizations to carry out the implementation. I know that Jared Kushner is good, but is he good enough to crack this like he nailed the PPE shortage and Middle East peace?
Jared Kushner's shadow coronavirus task force used a spreadsheet called 'VIP Update' to procure PPE…
Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of President Donald Trump, formed a volunteer-staffed, unofficial White House task force…
If only some previous administration had thought about these things ahead of time and left some sort of strategy document. Seems like the US government would be savvy enough to have handbooks or guidebooks about things like this, since we’ve seen it all before. Maybe if we had created a task force or a committee charged with pandemic response. But alas, the cupboards were bare for this poor administration.
Trump team failed to follow NSC's pandemic playbook
The playbook also stresses the significant responsibility facing the White House to contain risks of potential…
And yet, as bad as we may feel for the government having to handle something so out-of-the-blue and with no resources upon which to lean, we still have to think about this sticky strategy issue. Even when faced with these odds, it seems like the strategy sessions wouldn’t happen 5 months in.
It’s not the type of thing that inspires confidence.
Let’s imagine that sports still were played, and that football season was going strong. Your team (The Americans) is losing 63–0 at halftime as the teams head into the locker rooms. Your coach is pulled over by the sideline reporter to discuss the current state of the game. She asks “Coach, clearly a tough one out there. What are you planning to do to get back on track in the second half?”
The coach responds, “The assistant coaches and I are in the process of developing a strategy and it’s going to be very, very powerful.”
That coach would be fired at the end of the game. At the latest.
Which brings us full circle back to the tone change. It was evident a little and it sounded like the right level of humbled and resolved, and we saw a glimpse of what might have been the correct response for a non-terrible president.
Since then, of course, it’s been replaced by a series of other priorities that were clearly more important to the president and the administration. A brief list of what has topped pandemic relief for the Trump administration since this change in tone:
· Melania announced some changes to the Rose Garden
· The president slipped in funding ($1.7 Billion!) to a coronavirus relief bill for the government to revamp the old FBI building to prevent a hotel from competing with his
· American citizens were kidnapped by their own government
· Moms and Veterans were tear-gassed by the government
· Golf with Brett Favre
· Misinformed the public about a fake cure
· Misinformed the public about a fake cure based on the “medical” opinion of someone that believes medicines contain alien DNA and that people can be impregnated in their dreams by demons
· Ran away from a press conference because he wouldn’t answer a follow-up question about Dr. Demon Sperm
· Announced troop removal from Germany, at exorbitant cost, to Russia’s clear advantage
· Spoke to Putin since the bounty story came out and mentioned the murdered Americans exactly zero (0) times
· Returned to hydroxychloroquine!
· Complained about his low approval ratings compared to Dr. Fauci, a competent medical professional consistently citing facts about a serious pandemic, utilizing his decades of knowledge to inform the public apolitically
· Threatened white suburbanites that black/brown people might move into their neighborhood
· Ignored the DACA ruling from the Supreme Court
· Largely ignored the death of John Lewis, a titan of the Civil Rights movement, not even feigning interest in attending his funeral
· Suggested that the election get pushed back, in a clear repudiation of the Constitution, because voting is too dangerous (but school is A-OK)
· Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TV
Can’t wait to see this strategy, though! I’m sure that he’s got the best of the best crafting the exact right next steps.