The 2020 general election is fast approaching, but in the meantime, the United States still has to deal with issues like the Coronavirus, which claimed its first life in the U.S. just recently as confirmed cases in the country continue to slowly but steadily grow. President Donald Trump has been widely criticized for his response to the situation — he’s repeatedly insisted that everything is just fine, but in reality, his administration has the unqualified Vice President Mike Pence in charge of response and seems intent on bellowing that dismal news coverage is a conspiracy to make the president look bad. This Sunday, former Vice President and Democratic presidential primary candidate Joe Biden berated Trump’s behavior as “incompetent.”
Besides Pence’s leadership, the Trump team has apparently clamped down on the ability of public health officials to even publicly comment about the situation. Communication has to be approved first. Biden insisted to ABC host George Stephanopoulos that if president, his response to the situation would be wildly different, explaining:
‘Right now, you have this president who hasn’t allowed his scientists to speak, number one. He has the vice president speaking, not the scientists who know what they’re talking about… number two, they haven’t even prepared a test kit to determine whether or not anybody has the virus. They’re not even available. They say now they’ll be available by the end of the week or next week — they haven’t set up a pattern of how to proceed.’
Other issues that Biden mentioned include the administration’s elimination of an office on the National Security Council meant to deal with global pandemic situations and their attempts to cut public health funding from agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Obama administration is the one that actually set up the global health office that Trump eliminated, the former vice president explained.
‘This has been outrageous, the way they’ve proceeded. They should let the scientists speak. I’ve been talking about this for awhile… I see no preparedness other than political talking points and putting someone in charge who’s not a scientist… This is not a Democratic hoax. This is incompetence on the part of the president of the United States at the expense of the country and the world.’
“I see no preparedness other than political talking points, putting someone in charge who is not a scientist and muzzling the scientists," Joe Biden says on Trump's response to the coronavirus.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) March 1, 2020
Trump doesn’t exactly seem ready to take any of this criticism to heart. On Twitter, he’s claimed that the “fake news” is “doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible” — but if he can’t even be bothered to spell the disease correctly, he’s not exactly in a great position to inspire confidence in anyone.
Low Ratings Fake News MSDNC (Comcast) & @CNN are doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible. Likewise their incompetent Do Nothing Democrat comrades are all talk, no action. USA in great shape! @CDCgov…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 26, 2020
His administration has requested $2.5 billion in emergency funding to deal with the Coronavirus situation. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have derided that sum as insufficient — it’s lower than the amount that the Obama administration used to deal with the Ebola virus outbreak.
Trump has also proposed closing the southern border to help halt Coronavirus spread — but the virus, which originated in China, has absolutely nothing to do with the southern border.