Donald Trump faced the media on Wednesday to talk about the growing worry over the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. His performance was immediately panned by everyone from late-night comedians to TV news anchors.
It’s Trump’s “credibility,” you see.
President Trump’s political allies have made overly optimistic statements only to be contradicted by the government’s top scientists and doctors. For example, Trump claimed on Monday that the coronavirus was “very much under control in the USA.” A day later, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the virus’ spread to the US was inevitable. He said the stock market is “starting to look very good” even as the Dow was nosediving amid coronavirus anxiety.
Nice try, but no dice. The virus is, indeed, very much “under control.” To say otherwise is simple partisan hackery. That the CDC says a virus outbreak is “inevitable” points to the future, not the present, where the virus is (repeat after me) “under control.” Only 15 Americans have contracted the disease. No American has died.
What did this writer want the president to say? “We’re all going to die”?
Given the spread of this disease elsewhere, it’s likely a lot of Americans are going to catch it. And as in other countries, fears about the virus’s lethality will drive people to the hospital — even though almost all of them will survive. With a mortality rate of just over 2%, you’re about 5 times more likely to die from influenza as you are the coronavirus, even if you get it.
But will hospitals fill up, doctor’s offices be crammed? Will schools close, factories and offices close, malls become ghost towns, and people cower in their homes?
The president is downplaying the threat. That’s his job. The media and Democrats might want a panic, but it’s Trump’s job to prevent that.
“Because of all we’ve done, the risk to the American people remains very low,” Trump said. “We’re ready to adapt and ready to do whatever we have to as the disease spreads, if it spreads.
“We’re very, very ready for this,” Trump said, adding that only 15 people had contracted the virus in the U.S. and that all were expected to recover.
Trump, speaking from the Brady Briefing Room, said he was putting Vice President Mike Pence in charge of his administration’s response to the potential pandemic. Trump, however, rejected that he had made Pence a “czar” for the response to the virus.
This is going to be Trump’s “Katrina moment” and the press and Democrats are ready to pounce. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi got the ball rolling yesterday, saying that the president’s response to the outbreak was “inadequate.” That’s a load of hogs wallow, considering no one — certainly not Nancy Pelosi — knows how serious the outbreak is going to be.
Trump called her out on it.
Trump called Pelosi “incompetent” and accused her of using the virus for a political reason during a press conference where he sought to minimize fears of the virus spreading and announced that Vice President Mike Pence will head up Washington’s response to the outbreak.
“She’s trying to create a panic and there is no reason to panic,” Trump said. “All they are trying to is get a political advantage, but this shouldn’t be a political thing.”
In 2005, George Bush’s political opponents had an ally willing and eager to take down the president. Before the hurricane winds had subsided in New Orleans, the press had already declared Bush’s response “inadequate.” Their hysterical coverage of relief efforts didn’t help matters and probably cost lives.
It’s 15 years later and, if anything, the media is more partisan, more hateful of this president. They will use the excuse that the coronavirus is “news” to blow the health crisis out of proportion. It’s not just politics that will drive the hysterical coverage. It will be a golden opportunity for the networks to cash in as interest in the story peaks and the press goes into a feeding frenzy.
All the president can do is ride out the coming storm and hope the American people can see through the hysteria being generated by Democrats and the media.