President Donald Trump and his allies have consistently failed to take the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak seriously. In one particularly memorable example, Republican Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt was forced to declare a state of emergency over the virus literally the day after he posted a widely derided photo of him and his family at a packed restaurant in open defiance of public health professionals’ advice to practice “social distancing” to stem the potentially dangerous illness’s spread. During a Monday Morning Joe segment, host (and former Republican Congressman) Joe Scarborough hammered Stitt and those who’ve behaved similarly for trying to out-macho the virus.
The Oklahoma governor who bragged about going out to a crowded dinner with his kids last night, only to delete the tweet, once boasted that he does not vaccinate his kids and ran on opposing mandatory vaccines https://t.co/TQBDeCC7VC
— Sam Stein (@samstein) March 15, 2020
Over the weekend, even as Coronavirus cases climbed dramatically, prominent House Republican Devin Nunes even suggested during a Fox News appearance that healthy people should go out to local restaurants — which, again, is in open defiance of public health professionals’ counsel. Even healthy people can be carriers.
In an appearance on Fox News, Rep. Nunes stated "if you're healthy, you and your family, it's a great time to just go out, go to a local restaurant."
Dr. Leana Wen says that is "exactly the opposite of what we should be doing right now."https://t.co/xzqLzn9QWT
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 16, 2020
‘What is it about these Republican leaders, that they think that you can shoot a virus? They think your AR-15 is going to help a virus. They think some, like, macho display is somehow going to beat the virus? No, you can’t. See, let me help you out here. You can’t bully a virus, okay? You’ve got to outthink it, you can’t be stupid.’
Public health experts say stay in. Devin Nunes and other defiant officials say, "It’s a great time to just go out." https://t.co/Rz2A3VSd34
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) March 16, 2020
He used the example of Gov. Stitt, continuing:
‘Taking your family out to a restaurant when the top scientists in the world are telling you to stay home and protect them — then the next day, you’re made a fool of, you have to call a national emergency, so you’ve admitted you put your family at risk, everybody around your family at risk.’
Over in South Carolina, Governor Henry McMaster also joined those deriding concern over the virus. He insisted that he’d even personally attend the state’s Greenville St. Patrick’s Day Parade — but then it was cancelled, and Governor McMaster himself was pressured into closing all public schools in the state through at least the end of the month.
‘The recklessness is unbelievable… You’re a governor of a state, and you’re responsible for the health and well-being of senior citizens whose very lives are on the line. You have got to do better, your calling is higher. You’ve got to do more. You can’t play for the cheap seats.’
The blustering behavior from Republican leaders around the country mirrors behavior from the president himself. Trump has mocked concern over the virus as a hoax, and throughout recent weeks, he repeatedly publicly insisted that the Coronavirus was nothing to worry about and would be gone soon. He did the same at a press conference over the weekend — and at literally the very same press conference, Dr. Anthony Fauci from the National Institutes of Health insisted that the worst is yet to come in the U.S. from the virus.
Trump’s message is the opposite of Fauci’s. Look st the quotes pic.twitter.com/SXmwoj6QMc
— Frida Ghitis (@FridaGhitis) March 15, 2020
In response, the Trump administration has rolled out a ban on travel from most areas in Europe to the U.S., and this Monday evening, the Senate will be reconvening to take up a new relief funding package with provisions like mandated sick leave for some workers, expanded unemployment insurance, and more.