By Ralph Nader
March 20, 2020
Leaning on sober-minded experts in infectious diseases at his daily news conferences, Trump is frantically trying to look good. But the old delusionary Trump keeps resurfacing. On Monday, he rated his coronavirus performance at a perfect ten. On Tuesday, he lied to the public about his knowing it was a pandemic “long before it was called a pandemic.” The facts are just the opposite. On February 28th, Trump called COVID-19 a Democratic hoax (See the March 18, 2020 article in the New York Times).
Trump is unable to accept the ferocious reality of this pandemic.
Donald J. Trump is so consumed by his all-defining ego as to be occupationally insane. He is imperiling the public health of the entire country. If Trump endangered his family as he has endangered the country, he would be institutionalized. Again and again, Trump replaces realities with fantasies. He fibs, flails, fails, scapegoats, and never admits he was wrong or mistaken. Trump insists that the media heap undeserved praise on him, and solicits fawning, obsequious compliments from his cabinet members and staff. He just cannot absorb essential information.
Trump’s negligence is even worse than is often recognized. In 2018, his White House’s National Security Council disbanded the pandemic response team after Rear Admiral Timothy Ziemer, who headed the program, was told to leave his position. Last week, Trump vacuously said he didn’t know that this happened. Even though, the press had repeatedly reported Trump’s decision, Trump refused to take any responsibility. Trump insanely cut USAID’s tiny Predict Program tracking infectious diseases, while bulking up the bloated military weapons budget. Stockpiling redundant nuclear bombs but not precious medical equipment and facilities.
It is clear that Trump’s failed administration is responsible for our staggering unreadiness as the current catastrophe metastasizes, leaving America greatly vulnerable. But Trump doesn’t see it that way. When asked about the role he played in the U.S. government’s gross failure to anticipate and contain coronavirus, Trump responded, “I don’t take responsibility at all.”
Trump is crazily still pressing to weaken nursing home regulations designed to reduce deadly infections among millions of elderly residents. He stubbornly persists even after COVID-19 interrupted his golf game. He hates these rules because Obama issued them – his vendetta against Obama is all-consuming.
One of Trump’s biggest goals is to get rid of Obamacare without any replacement plan. When Democrats repeatedly stopped his efforts in Congress, Trump decided to turn to a prolonged court case. Would a rational president mindlessly cut desperately needed healthcare coverage for thirty million Americans during a pandemic? The potential victims even include Trump’s own supporters!
The corporations now want varieties of bailouts because of the virus crisis, and Trump and the Republicans are pouring Niagara’s of red ink into the federal budget. Yet Trump and his congressional cronies continue to starve the IRS that is unable to recover over $400 billion in uncollected taxes every year because of its inadequate budget. The IRS budget is lower than it was in 2011 and lack of funding has forced layoffs of thousands of employees. It is impossible for the IRS to properly audit many global corporations or even respond to inquiring taxpayers without long delays.
Would a sane president be fanatically disabling disease and injury prevention programs at federal agencies and boast about such “deregulation”? Trump continues to favor crooked/for-profit universities that rip off students and leave them impoverished with debt.
It gets worse. Year after year, Trump tried to cut the budgets of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health, and the US contribution to the World Health Organization, including their pandemic prevention work. This is criminal negligence. His recent federal budget sent to Congress on February 10, 2020 still advocated these capricious cuts, along with more money for the bloated Pentagon budget than asked for by the Generals.
Last week, Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, called for President Trump to resign. (You can see his statement at Citizen.org).
Lunging between vicious vitriol and manipulative flattery, Trump never did know how to get out of the holes he dug. Here is how to get him out of this one: he should be a patriot for the sake of America and just resign. This is not the time for Captains Queeg or Ahab. The ship of state is sailing toward disaster and the President is incapable of transforming his temperamental dysfunctions.