On Wednesday, conservative columnist Max Boot revealed the “diseases” at the heart of President Donald Trump’s administration that are weakening their capacity to respond to the very real disease threat from coronavirus.
Simply put: Fevered nationalism, hatred of the civil service, and a pathological desire to erase the legacy of President Barack Obama.
“Covid-19 has already infected more than 80,000 people in 37 countries, causing more than 2,600 deaths, and experts doubt it will slow in the spring,” wrote Boot. “That a virus that started in China could have a bad impact on the United States should be no surprise: Diseases don’t respect borders any more than terrorists or trade flows do. Transnational threats require transnational solutions. To cite but one example, many of the medicines and medical supplies that Americans need, including N95 face masks, come from China.”
However, Boot continued, “This will be news only to an ultra-nationalist president animated by unreasoning animus to ‘globalism.’ This prejudice is about as silly as being hostile to ‘the weather.’ Globalism isn’t something you can be for or against; it’s simply a fact of life. But Trump’s whole presidency is built on denying basic realities such as global warming and Russian attacks on our politics.”‘
Nonetheless, Trump is still angling to cut funding to global health programs, with disastrous consequences.
“Seeking to undo everything that his predecessor had done, Trump dismantled the epidemic-fighting infrastructure the Obama administration had built up at the National Security Council and the Department of Homeland Security,” wrote Boot. “One of John Bolton’s first acts upon becoming national security adviser in 2018 was to dismiss the NSC’s global health team led by Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer, a widely respected public-health expert.”
“These moves are emblematic of the president’s contempt for apolitical civil servants who know what they are doing,” wrote Boot. “He prefers unqualified political hacks whose only loyalty is to him rather than to the country. Many top administration posts are already filled by ‘acting’ placeholders while further purges are being launched by the new head of presidential personnel, the president’s 29-year-old former ‘body man’ (i.e., gofer), John McEntee, with the assistance of a 23-year-old college senior.”
“Meanwhile, the acting deputy secretary, arch-nativist Ken Cuccinelli, took to Twitter to ask for the public’s help in accessing an online map from Johns Hopkins University tracking the virus’s spread,” wrote Boot. “Imagine if the head of U.S. Strategic Command asked the public for helping in learning about nuclear weapons, and you start to comprehend the scale of the problem.”
“At a time like this, it would be a lot more reassuring to think that there were actual, you know, experts in charge of the government rather than ignorant ideologues chosen for their dedication to a supreme leader unconstrained by fact, logic or morality,” concluded Boot. “Where’s the ‘deep state’ when you need it most?”
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