Letter: The Wartime President

Letter to the Editor

It was only a few weeks ago that Trump declared the coronavirus pandemic a “Democratic hoax” which would disappear by April. Of course, his propagandists, led by Sean Hannity, echoed the “Democratic hoax” theory. Then, in a remarkable, head-spinning turnabout, Trump suddenly announced we were fighting a war and gave himself a new title of “Wartime President.” There are few things Trump likes more than a title, as if “president” were not enough.

Assuming his listeners are too loyal and unthinking to remember what they heard earlier in the month, Hannity followed suit by calling the virus our enemy and falsely denying he had ever called it a “hoax.”

Trump has acted as anything but “in command.” He seems confused and utterly in over his head. He spouts falsehoods only to be corrected by his own medical experts and sets a horrible example by shaking hands and literally standing shoulder to shoulder with others at his press briefings as if photo ops, not social distancing, will somehow beat the virus.

After his extended, stubborn denial of the lethal threat posed by the virus, Trump is now more concerned with blaming prior administrations and other countries for our current vulnerability than accepting any responsibility for the long delay in delivering tests. Had the tests been ready, this virus might well have been more contained, like in South Korea.

He has made himself the “Wartime President,” but refuses to take the decisive action required by one leading us into war. Rather than having anything resembling a unified, cohesive approach to fighting this deadly virus, Trump is encouraging all 50 states to do their own thing. What good is declaring a national emergency if the federal government refuses to take the lead? 

For example, Trump shamefully said each state needed to find its own personal protective equipment instead of using his presidential powers to order the production of such lifesaving equipment for medical workers on the front lines. He again seems to be reversing himself on this failed approach.

But, worst of all, Trump seems utterly incapable of coughing up a modicum of empathy in the midst of this horrific pandemic. People are dying throughout the land and yet, like everything else, Trump makes it all about him. He gives himself, the man with a new title, a perfect grade for handling the crisis, tears into a member of the press who asked a perfectly legitimate question and seems singularly concentrated on the stock market’s performance (and therefore his perceived reelection chances). 

As he continues to exaggerate the strength of the economy, once his most heralded accomplishment, the market crashes. Investors no longer believe this con man. The emperor stands naked before us all, exposed as the self promoting huckster and carnival barker he has always been.

Burt Ross