This week, President Donald Trump has begun talking about reopening the economy, no matter the carnage that may ensue thanks to the uninhibited spread of the Coronavirus. That shift in rhetoric has coincided with some locales, like the state of Maryland, amplifying their own lockdown efforts — on the very same day that Trump broadcast his reopen the economy idea at a White House press conference, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who is a Republican, ordered nonessential businesses in his state to close. During a CNN appearance on Tuesday, Hogan pointed out Trump’s nonsense, which has included directly contradicting his administration’s own medical experts.
Even Trump’s own appointees have countered him. On Monday, Surgeon General Jerome Adams said that he wants Americans “to understand this week it’s going to get bad.” Hogan pointed out:
‘Some of the messaging is pretty confusing. I think it is not just that it doesn’t match with what we’re doing here in Maryland, some of the messaging out of the administration doesn’t match, where you have the surgeon general and Anthony Fauci saying things almost completely opposite of that yesterday.’
It’s not exactly reassuring when the president is talking in complete opposites from public health professionals who, in some cases, have been working in this field for decades — although it’s happened before. Trump, for example, touted a malaria treatment as a supposed Coronavirus cure, and at that very same press conference, Dr. Anthony Fauci from the National Institutes of Health flatly said that “no,” the treatment was not ready. Trials that have since ensued do not change the underlying uncertainty that Trump seemed ignorant of.
‘We’re just trying to take the best advice we can from the scientists and all the experts, and making the decisions that we believe are necessary for our states. We don’t think that we’re going to be in any way ready to be out of this in five or six days or so, or whenever this 15 days is, up from the time that they started this imaginary clock. Most people think that we’re weeks away from the peak, if not months.’
Hogan went on to name some names; he said that his administration is getting advice from interests like the National Institutes of Health, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Maryland.
In an ideal world, observers wouldn’t have to wonder if the president of the United States was contradicting medical experts during a pandemic — but here we are, with Trump at the helm, who appears to factor impacts on his public image quite highly into his decision-making.
Asked about Trump’s own flip-flopping during an interview this week, Surgeon General Adams resorted to criticizing those who are failing to take the situation seriously.
‘As the nation’s doctor I’m here to help America understand how we need to respond to this, and where I come down is that every single day counts. Every single second counts, and right now there are not enough people out there taking this seriously.’
The timing of his answer suggests he may have had the president in mind.