Throughout the spread of the Coronavirus in the United States, President Donald Trump has consistently failed to inspire any sort of confidence. While his administration has struggled to get basic large-scale testing capabilities off the ground, he has veered from lying that concern about the virus is a “hoax” to majorly bungling important policy change announcements. When he revealed that most passenger travel from Europe would be suspended for a month, repeated corrections had to follow because he’d even failed to indicate that American citizens could return home. During an MSNBC panel discussion this weekend, Dr. Irwin Redlener from Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness memorably derided the Trump admin’s Coronavirus response as an “international embarrassment.”
The issue certainly fits in with past grim highlights of the Trump administration, like the occasion when the crowd at the United Nations laughed in Trump’s face when he spouted off some campaign rhetoric. In this situation, the president’s vapidness is like a smoke and mirrors distraction from incompetence.
Redlener noted to host Ali Velshi:
‘You were talking about the ability to control this in Hong Kong and Singapore, et cetera. It’s not just because they have a controlled society. These are the places where they started early testing and separating people. I just want to give you one piece of data: the United States of America has tested 5 people per 1 million as of a couple of days ago compared to 3,600 people per million in South Korea.’
It’s true — official figures for the number of those tested are wildly low, although some tests have been distributed privately, apparently.
‘I wish I could use the language on television that I actually think about this, but let’s just say, this is a phenomenal disaster for us. Not only did we start late, which got me worked up eight weeks ago, but it’s still not fixed. This is a level of incompetence in our public health system that Americans have never seen before. You know, you remember whatever his name was? Michael Brown around Katrina — and the Feds’ job there was questionable. That was nothing compared compared to the problems we’re having right now in messaging, in getting our technology together… This has been an international embarrassment.’
It’s true — the Trump team has even largely failed to come together on basic issues like messaging. Trump has claimed the virus was contained, but it’s not — the number of cases keeps sharply climbing. Only this past Friday did Trump finally declare a national emergency over the situation after weeks of waiting — although it’s worth noting that at the press conference, Trump — who’s been exposed to the virus — shook hands and more. Redlener quipped:
‘From the public health point of view, how do I survive listening to this? I don’t know, but here I am.’
From here, Congress seems set to send a new Coronavirus relief funding package to the president for a signature next week. He’s already announced that he supports the measure, which sparked a wave of Republican support when it passed the House.