New York Times declares Trump a ‘bystander’ on coronavirus as others take the lead
(AFP / Brendan Smialowski)

President Donald Trump was described as "more follower than leader" on coronavirus by The New York Times on Thursday.

The story, by Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, was titled, "The President as Bystander: Trump Struggles to Unify a Nation on Edge."

"While he presents himself as the nation’s commanding figure, Mr. Trump has essentially become a bystander as school superintendents, sports commissioners, college presidents, governors and business owners across the country take it upon themselves to shut down much of American life without clear guidance from the president," the newspaper reported.

"For weeks, he resisted telling Americans to cancel or stay away from large gatherings, reluctant even on Thursday to call off his own campaign rallies even as he grudgingly acknowledged he would probably have to," The Times reported. "Mayors and county executives, hospital executives and factory owners received no further direction from the president as he talked about the virus in the Oval Office on Thursday than they did during his prime-time address to the nation the night before. Beyond travel limits and wash-your-hands reminders, Mr. Trump has left it to others to set the course in combating the pandemic and has indicated he was in no rush to take further action."

The newspaper reported there is a bubble around Trump.

"After feeling besieged by enemies for three years, Mr. Trump and some of his advisers view so many issues through the lens of political warfare — assuming that criticism is all about point scoring — that it has become hard to see what is real and what is not, according to people around the president. Even when others with Mr. Trump’s best interests at heart disagree, they find it hard to penetrate what they see as the bubble around him," The Times reported.