As the coronavirus pandemic raged in mid-March, President Trump declared himself to be a “wartime president” and issued statements lionizing his alleged commitment to facing the outbreak head-on. This week, Trump announced that he was “winding down” the coronavirus task force’s duties, before slightly walking back his statement and saying the task force would carry on “indefinitely,” but will now be focused on reopening the economy.
According to Greg Sargent writing for the Washington Post, Trump is basically “walking away from the very fight that he sought to project engagement in only six weeks ago … But this also reveals something important about the true nature of his new stance.”
“Trump’s new posture is best seen as a reversion,” Sargent writes. “What we’re seeing now is Trump vaulting back to the position he held throughout the early weeks of this crisis: That he could make the coronavirus disappear simply by pretending it didn’t pose the dire threat it actually did pose.”
Trump is defending his decision to wind down the task force based on the “tremendous progress” that has been made, but Sargent contends that Trump is simply trying to create the appearance that groundbreaking progress has been made.
“Seen this way, that imperative also explains why Trump and Pence have been spending so much time lately holding events without masks and proper social distancing,” Sargent writes. “Trump sat at close quarters with the New Jersey governor and crowded together with small business owners for a photo shoot. Pence toured a facility without a mask.”
All this raises an important question, according to Sargent: “Are Trump and Pence going through these events in the full knowledge that sending this message of normalcy will induce more people who lack the benefits of testing that Trump and his entourage enjoy to put themselves in harm’s way?”
Read his full piece over at The Washington Post.