“I wanted to, I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down,” President Trump said about the COVID-19 pandemic in newly released recordings from mid-March, claiming that he didn’t want to “create a panic.” However, instead of creating a “panic,” Mr. Trump decided to send out tweets and hold rallies during the COVID-19 outbreak, calling it the Democrats’ “new hoax.” The COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. is currently at 198,474. Thousands of people who severely suffered as a result of the on-going pandemic could have been saved if Trump had taken better measures.
The problem is that Mr. Trump is heard saying one thing in public and another in private. While President Trump was heard telling the press on Feb. 27 to treat the virus “like the flu,” he was telling journalist Bob Woodward that the coronavirus was “more deadly than your, you know, your, even your strenuous flus” on Feb. 7, weeks before the first death in the United States due to the virus.
The most impressive revelation from Trump’s interview with Bob Woodward was not just his blunt awareness of the pandemic’s dangers but also the fact that a month ago he said, “nothing more could have been done.” Nothing more? President Trump did not publicly wear a mask until July and the Trump Administration was inconsistent when it came to their messages concerning the severity of the pandemic. In addition, Mr.Trump held rally after rally, speaking to crowds of maskless people who were just inches away from each other, despite knowing the dangers of what he was doing. Some of his supporters reject the idea that there even is a virus when hundreds of thousands of Americans are dead. Many more things could have been done to save lives, one of them being simply acknowledging how bad this pandemic was going to get. It was not Bob Woodward’s responsibility to tell the public what Trump should have said. Trump is the President, not a journalist publishing some book. He is a civil servant who did not meet his promises to the people who voted him into office.
Rather than owning up to his mistakes, Mr. Trump decided to shift his focus from his lack of communication with the American public to instead reminding us about the “markets.” In his final call to Bob Woodward, when confronted with his poor leadership, Mr. Trump said, “You know the market’s coming back very strong, you do know that,” as if the economy was more important than human lives.
Those recordings are a reminder to the public that President Trump was more concerned about his public image rather than what was the right thing to do. Sure, Mr. Trump did not want to cause a panic. He did not want people running around and escalating the situation more than it needed to be. But there is still no excuse for him simply minimizing the risks people were taking by going about their normal lives. There is really no excuse for putting people’s lives at risk at rallies just to get a vote, something he is still doing today.
A president will always put the people first. They will not lie in order to make themselves look better. They will not say one thing to your face and act like someone else behind your back. Leadership should not be a popularity game.
A president will always put the people first. They will not lie in order to make themselves look better. They will not say one thing to your face and act like someone else behind your back. Leadership should not be a popularity game. President Trump could have been more honest than he chose to be. He could have kept us calm and controlled rather than ignorant and sick.