In a brutal analysis for the Washington Post, Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker documented the ways in which President Donald Trump’s efforts to “win the daily news cycle” have worsened a public health disaster.
“President Trump began the seven-day stretch threatening — and then reneging on — a quarantine of the New York region. He ended it by announcing recommendations for everyone to wear face masks but stressed he would opt against sporting one himself,” they wrote. “In the days in between, Trump announced a 30-day extension of stringent social distancing guidelines (Sunday), called into a freewheeling ‘Fox & Friends’ gripe-a-thon (Monday), presented a dire assessment of how many Americans are expected to die of the coronavirus (Tuesday), launched a military operation against drug cartels (Wednesday) and stoked a feud with a senior senator from hard-hit New York (Thursday).”
“Facing a global pandemic, Trump still seems to lurch from moment to moment, with his methods and messages each day disconnected from — and in some cases contradictory to — the ones just prior. The pattern reveals a commander in chief unsure of how to defeat the ‘silent enemy,’ as he has labeled it,” they wrote. “Instead, Trump has focused on his self-image — claiming credit wherever he believes it is owed, attempting to project strength and decisiveness, settling scores with critics, boasting about the ratings of his televised news conferences and striving to win the cable news and social media wars.”
“You have the president of the United States emceeing these reality TV shows,” said former Trump administration official David Lapan. He added that Trump should “turn it over to the experts and leave, and not turn it into this stream of consciousness of every topic he wants to talk about and the adoration that seems to be required from everybody else who participates.”
With Trump’s latest attempt to grab attention, declining to follow the CDC’s guidelines on wearing masks in public, the report continued, “he risked diluting the effectiveness of the measure — designed to prevent asymptomatic carriers of the virus from spreading to others — by stressing it was voluntary and musing at Friday’s news conference that he wouldn’t be seen wearing a mask himself.”
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