Conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin can’t understand why President Donald Trump is always the last one to know or understand something. With so many experts at his fingertips, one would assume that the president of the United States would be the most informed American on any issue facing the country. Yet, somehow Trump is always the last to know and the last to understand.
Rubin compared Trump to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), along with almost every other governor, “except the bumbling Ron DeSantis of Florida,” and arguably Govs. Brian Kemp (R-GA), Tate Reeves (R-MS) and Kevin Stitt (R-OK).
“At his or her daily news conference, you will see someone in command of the facts,” Rubin wrote of Cuomo, noting he knows the number of infections, patients, beds, ventilators and discharged people. She explained it’s clear he has a sense of his mission.
Meanwhile, Vanity Fair reported Wednesday that Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner claimed he knows more than the experts.
“‘I have all this data about ICU capacity. I’m doing my own projections, and I’ve gotten a lot smarter about this. New York doesn’t need all the ventilators,’ Kushner said, according to a person present.”
Even RealClearPolitics explained that as of March 18, one out of every four people with a confirmed cases of coronavirus has been hospitalized, and 44 percent of those people need a ventilator. It’s unclear why Kushner can’t do the math, but it translated into the president suggesting a conspiracy is afoot.
“In one way or another, governors are trying to expand the capacities of their health-care systems and use social distancing to slow the progress of infection,” Rubin explained. “Many are begging the feds to be the purchaser of scarce equipment so the 50 states and the Federal Emergency Management Agency aren’t bidding against one another.”
The contrast between the likes of Cuomo and Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) with Trump is stark, and it should “shock and appall us,” Rubin said.
This week, Trump said that his thinking had changed because of the severity of the issue.
“I think also in looking at the way that the contagion is so contagious, nobody’s ever seen anything like this where large groups of people all of a sudden have it just by being in the presence of somebody who has it. The flu has never been like that. . . . Also the violence of it if it hits the right person,” Trump told the press during Wednesday’s briefing.
“The contagion is so contagious. That’s the president of the United States,” Rubin mocked.
This isn’t the first time Trump is hearing this information. Feb. 16, Dr. Anthony Fauci was on “Face The Nation” explaining how contagious the disease was and calling it a pandemic before even the World Health Organization.
“He was warned by experts for weeks that this was highly contagious and that this was not the ordinary flu,” Rubin recalled. “Apparently, he was either not listening or did not understand that “just by being in the presence of somebody who has it” the contagion can, well, be contagious. The mind reels.”
Even Vice President Mike Pence is only slightly better.
"I think that's one of the greatest answers I've ever heard. Because Mike was able to speak for 5 minutes and not even touch your question" — Pence was so evasive in response to a question about health care for uninsured people that even Trump teased him about it pic.twitter.com/ckmoN6EMuX
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 1, 2020
During Wednesday’s press conference, Pence clearly didn’t know or understand that there are Americans without health insurance. As 6.6 million Americans file unemployment claims, those people also lost their health insurance, if they had it to begin with.
“You would think the president and vice president’s abject ignorance would be a source of embarrassment,” Rubin closed. “Nope. They are locked in the right-wing media disinformation bubble. They find out details under duress. Only when things go very badly and their experts are forced to confess bad news do they grudgingly move into the real world. The change in ‘tone’ that too many gullible reporters coo about is the point at which Trump’s lies, disinformation and self-delusion can no longer be sustained. No wonder he looks deflated.”