Donald Trump calls himself as a ‘stable genius,’ but his response to coronavirus is anything but
Donald Trump considers himself a “stable genius,” but his handling of the coronavirus crisis has been anything but.
In times of crisis, Americans crave stability in a president, but Trump has been all over the map since the crisis began.
On Feb. 28 the president claimed Democrats had politicized the coronavirus outbreak and it was “their new hoax.”
However, The Washington Post reported U.S. intelligence agencies warned Trump administration officials in January and February about the severity of the outbreak in China and its potential to become a worldwide pandemic.
The president’s dismissal of the COVID-19 threat is a marked contrast to his promotion of a fake crisis ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, when he attempted to exploit immigration concerns against Democratic candidates.
At midterm election campaign rallies in 2018, Trump suggested a caravan of immigrants was on its way to invade the U.S at the Mexican border. He then responded by dispatching troops to stop what turned out to be disorganized groups of refugees, who did not pose a serious threat to national security.
But early this year, when intelligence officials warned him about the onslaught of a real crisis in the form of a deadly virus — the coronavirus — the president whiffed.
Last week, less than three weeks after dismissing the pandemic as a hoax, the president finally acknowledged the severity of the crisis. He even designated himself as a wartime president. But the president’s abrupt reversal has left Americans with a severe case of whiplash. Many Americans, especially Republicans who took Trump’s warnings of a hoax seriously, still dismiss the severity of the crisis.
Americans want a leader who can offer answers to complex problems. What they have is a man who can only provide the talking points that served him so well in his successful 2016 campaign but so poorly during his presidency.
Recently, Trump and other administration officials have discarded the scientific term COVID-19 in favor of the designation “Chinese Flu.” This is one of many indications that the Trump regime cares more about scoring political points with its conservative base than reaching out in a bipartisan way to the general public.
Then there’s the tried and true tactic of beating up the press. Trump was in rare form Friday when Peter Alexander of NBC News asked a softball question that the president should have hit out of the park. Instead of responding to the correspondent’s request for calming words to soothe a troubled nation, Trump used the opportunity to attack the correspondent.
Under pressure, Trump has expended as much time defending himself as he has spent attacking the problem. Americans don’t want a chief executive who passes the buck. But Trump blamed his predecessor, Barack Obama, for the slow response.
Americans would have given Trump more credit if he admitted he had made a mistake abolishing Obama’s White House pandemic office, and if he reassured the public he was doing everything he could to rectify the mistake.
But this president doesn’t have the courage to acknowledge he did anything wrong because he is – in his own words — a “stable genius.” Americans will decide in November if the description fits.
Brad Bannon is a Democratic pollster and CEO of Bannon Communications Research. He is also the host of a radio podcast “Dateline D.C. With Brad Bannon” that airs on the Progressive Voices Network. Follow him on Twitter @BradBannon.
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