On MSNBC Wednesday, host Chris Hayes blasted President Donald Trump's leadership abilities in the midst of the coronavirus emergency — and warned that the president is putting himself and his political prospects before any consideration of what would actually protect the country.
"One of the most important things the federal government is supposed to do is manage risk that cannot be managed by private citizens of the private sector because they are big risks. Said Hayes. "Call them tail risks. Unlikely — in some cases highly, highly unlikely — events that could be truly catastrophic if the government fails. That was Hurricane Katrina for the George W. Bush administration. Financial crisis for both the Bush and Obama administrations. On this administration, the response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Now, it could be coronavirus."
"In order to manage that, you need government bureaucracy," continued Hayes. "The hundreds of thousands of people who work for the federal government, civil servants with decades of expertise and knowledge, working diligently to get their arms around the difficult situation and prepare and hedge risk. The problem is the president, as a rule, hates those people. He's basically gone to war with them. Now, he needs those people to handle this crisis. So we are seeing the president marching out these government officials to provide political cover for him and help him manage the risk to try and calm fears about coronavirus."
In reality, Hayes said, Trump has handled everything wrong — and we could be heading for disaster. He noted that at the moment, most areas around the country cannot even run tests for the virus.
"Meanwhile, the president is lashing out at the media, accusing them of fanning the flames, and by doing so, he is ultimately confessing to his own failures," said Hayes. "Media coverage of coronavirus, I think, has been actually fairly restrained, and for the best. The panic has mostly been on display in the global financial markets that have been really freaking out about this. And that's been driving the increased coverage. The media coverage itself has been fairly restrained, especially, when compared to the Ebola crisis back in 2014, when Donald Trump and Fox were fanning the flames and driving everyone into a panic."
He played clips of Trump saying, "Our country has enough problems. Send the doctors to Liberia. Send the doctors to West Africa to take care of our people. That's one thing. But don't let 'em in," and "U.S. immigration should allow no one, no one, to enter this country holding a passport from any West African nation."
"Donald Trump fundamentally views the coronavirus, not as a problem he needs to solve, but something he needs to manage for his re-election," said Hayes. "And it gets the fundamental flaw of this president ... it appears to me often that he is literally incapable of distinguishing between what the national interest is and what his own personal interest is. It's literally what the guy got impeached over."