Silent since Friday, Trump decided to hold a press conference after a weekend of humiliating criticism of his comments about injecting disinfectants and using UV light to rid the body of coronavirus. When asked yesterday about his comments, Trump gave a lame excuse and brushed the question aside. His presser’s main purpose was to trot out a bunch of mid-level health officials wearing snappy uniforms and unveil a big new testing initiative that boldly passes the buck to the states. Trump’s minions described how they would provide support and “technical assistance” as states built their own testing regimes and contact-tracing efforts. Once again, Trump has abandoned the role of leader to hide behind the role of a “backup” to the states at the very time the states most need federal leadership and a national plan. Social distancing buys us only one thing: time. We are in a race against time to develop a way to reopen our society without an immediate spike in deadly infections, so efficiency is paramount. But what could be less efficient than every state sourcing it’s own testing chemicals and materials (often while competing against each other) and then cobbling together a contact-tracing army? What could be less efficient than fifty (nearly bankrupt) states each paying to develop these things rather than the federal government doing it just once? A national emergency like an epidemic is exactly why we have a federal government, to spearhead and coordinate a fast and efficient centralized response to a grave threat–and yet Trump is running from this responsibility to lead, putting the lives of thousands of Americans and the economic stability of millions of Americans at greater risk. There’s no other way to put it–this is a historic disgrace.
New reporting also emerged about more warnings that Trump received from the intel community in January and February regarding the dire threat posed by the coronavirus. Trump’s daily briefing books were full of alarm over the approaching medical calamity but unlike every other president, Trump didn’t (or was unable to) read the briefings and instead watched seven hours of cable news in the mornings before emerging from the White House residence each day around noon to start “work.” Trump minimized the threat in public speeches as his own administration sounded the internal alarm. Trump just heaps disgrace upon disgrace.
Speaker Pelosi mentioned yesterday that she is going to push for a national vote-by-mail initiative to protect the 2020 election in case Covid is still causing disruption this fall. She is also pushing for relief money for the states, who have been hammered by an increase in medical expenditures and public assistance while tax, fee and transaction revenue plummets. Republicans are going to fight these initiatives so it will be up to activists to apply as much pressure as possible during the lock-down to shame Republicans into doing the right thing to bolster our Democracy and our states the same way they always rush to bolster multi-national corporations.
It was also announced yesterday by Governor Cuomo that the 2020 Democratic presidential primary election in New York State is being cancelled. It’s a controversial move, and both sides of the issue have good arguments for and against, but it looks like the decision is final and given the fact that Sanders has already conceded, it’s not surprising.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”