Amazingly, Dan Scavino, White House director of social media, tweeted on March 8 a photo of President Donald Trump with a fiddle with text that says “My next piece is called… Nothing can stop what’s coming.” Trump replied, “Who knows what this means, but it sounds good to me!”
Who knows what this means, but it sounds good to me! https://t.co/rQVA4ER0PV— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 8, 2020
Apparently, the Trump team wasn't very worried about the coronavirus in early March. It's no wonder why the U.S. now has many more confirmed COVID-19 cases than any other nation.
Trump’s slow response let the virus get out of control. According to the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, the U.S. had just 336 confirmed coronavirus cases on March 7. By April 7, the number was over 397,000. There were only five confirmed cases in Georgia on March 7. A month later, there were nearly 9,000.
The University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation's national projections don’t show a slowing of COVID-19 deaths to fewer than 1,500 per day until mid-May. The recommends that Georgia not reopen until June 28.
Yet, following President Donald Trump’s exhortations to rapidly open states for business, Gov. Brian Kemp has done just that and opened entirely unessential businesses. Tattoo parlors, hairdressers and barbers are all free to open, although it is impossible to observe social distancing protocols in these businesses. Trump and Kemp are acting like efforts to restrain COVID-19 have succeeded when in fact they have been a dismal failure both at the federal and state levels.
Comparing Trump to Nero, the Roman Emperor who played his fiddle as Rome burned, is one reasonable interpretation of his behavior. And, I certainly agree with that portrayal. However, although we can’t totally stop COVID-19, there’s a lot that we could have done to minimize its spread. We should have been acting more like Taiwan and less like Italy, which also dealt poorly with a serious outbreak.
As World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in March, "We are at war with a virus that threatens to tear us apart." And it’s winning battle after battle, if not the war.
In this regard, Trump is acting like Neville Chamberlain, the Prime Minister of Great Britain leading up to World War II. As any history student will tell you, Chamberlain sat back and let Adolf Hitler set the agenda.
He constantly told the British that things would get better and to just be patient. On Sept. 27, 1938, he asked citizens “to await as calmly as you can the events of the next few days. As long as war has not begun, there is always hope that it may be prevented."
A month later, my French family left London for America, feeling that the Nazis would shortly be at war with both France and England.
And, like Trump in February and early March, Chamberlain never acknowledged his role in the fall of Europe to the Nazi hordes, saying on Oct. 14, 1940, “When I look back I don't see what more I could have done.
Trump’s lack of a cohesive, realistic action plan to fight COVID-19 is deplorable and causes confusion.
Frightened citizens are looking for someone to tell them all will be well, but Trump hasn’t succeeded there either. Trump’s approval ratings actually went up early in the crisis, but then fell again. He’s now back to about where he was before the crisis.
Trump’s still expressing undue optimism about an immediate “cure”, a silver bullet pill to slay the monster at our door.
Plus, now he’s seriously considering upending our efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, refusing to endorse the guidelines drafted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for reopening businesses. Per Vice President Mike Pence, the Trump administration believes that the COVID-19 pandemic is winding down and that the coronavirus task force might no longer be necessary.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the nation’s leading infectious disease experts, apparently has not been in the loop. He denied that the White House was winding down the task force, directly contradicting Pence. Subsequently, Trump has said he will continue the task force but may change members and focus.
The Trump administration should not set any arbitrary date to remove shelter in place guidelines. Per Dr. Fauci, “You don’t make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline." However, thanks to irresponsible politicians failing to follow their own guidelines, many states like Georgia are now opening up. The obvious result will be more cases and more deaths, especially for our seniors.