Conservative columnist argues Trump's claim of 'absolute' power proves 'the utter feebleness' to his COVID response
Jennifer Rubin on MSNBC/Screenshot

After President Donald Trump's erratic meltdown during the Monday press conference, conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin wrote that the true thing on display for the world was "the utter feebleness" to his COVID-19 response.


Rubin cited Republican Rep. Liz Cheney (WY) explaining that the president doesn't have absolute power over anything. Gov. Andrew Cuomo similarly said "that is not true. I don't know why the president said it. I don't know why he would take us down this path" and pledged to sue if Trump tries to reopen New York prematurely.

But lost among the debates that Trump launched Monday was the question from CBS's Paula Reid, who pressed Trump to explain why he was so slow to respond to the coronavirus. Why was Trump spending February saying it was "like the flu" and claiming that it would go away when every expert advising him said the opposite?

Trump "snarled" that he did "A lot. A lot" during that lost month of February.

"However, he had no alibi to explain his disappearance from the front lines, now documented by multiple news outlets," wrote Rubin.

When CNN's Kaitlan Collins began pressing him on who told him he had absolute power he barked "enough!" When they pressed him on where in the constitution that was enumerated, Trump proclaimed "Lots of provisions. Lots of provisions."

"That contradiction — the assertion of absolute power and the utter feebleness of his response to the pandemic — was remarkable," she wrote. "The president has asserted that the federal government is merely a 'backup' to the states when it comes to critical functions like securing lifesaving ventilators and gloves. He has denied responsibility for ramping up testing, which if scaled up nationally could allow Americans to return to work safely. He is an authoritarian, but an underachiever — one who never manages to actually wield power, but only threatens to do so."

She called it "revealing" of the enablers of Trump who refuse to admit that he is "unhinged and unfit."

Rubin also noted that it was revealing "of the ludicrous news judgment to cover these presidential temper tantrums live; of the notion of 'balance' (Well some say the sky is blue; the president says it is pink with purple polka dots and unicorns); and of a political party that would rather stick by a president whose recklessness led to hundreds if not thousands of unnecessary deaths than develop the fortitude to cast him aside."

Read the full piece at the Washington Post.