What President Donald Trump had to say about coronavirus in April and the first half of May was considerably different from what he had said about it in January and February. But journalist Edward Luce, in a Financial Times article, stresses that even though Trump’s tone has changed, his response to the crisis has continued to be erratic and unfocused — seriously damaging the United States’ credibility as a world leader.
In early March, Luce recalls, Trump claimed that “within a couple of days, (infections are) going to be down to close to zero.” And after 15 cases had been reported in the U.S., Trump said, “One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”
Trump, Luce notes, later acknowledged how dangerous COVID-19 was, but his response to the crisis was inadequate. Luce writes that for his article, he interviewed “dozens of people,” from Trump associates to World Health Organization officials — and found that “the story that emerged is of a president who ignored increasingly urgent intelligence warnings from January, dismisses anyone who claims to know more than him and trusts no one outside a tiny coterie.”
William Burns, who heads the Carnegie Endowment, told the Financial Times, “America is first in the world in deaths, first in the world in infections — and we stand out as an emblem of global incompetence. The damage to America’s influence and reputation will be very hard to undo.” And Gregg Gonsalves, a health expert at Yale University, asserted that “Trump could have prevented mass deaths, and he didn’t.”
According to Luce, Trump continues to make terrible decisions — from taking Fox News pundits like Laura Ingraham seriously to promoting “miracle cures” to ousting Dr. Rick Bright from vaccine development.
“Rick Bright, the federal scientist in charge of developing a vaccine — arguably the most urgent role in government — was removed after blocking efforts to promote hydroxychloroquine,” Luce explains.
One of the most scathing quotes in Luce’s articles come from a well-known Never Trump conservative: attorney George Conway.
“Trump is caught in a box, which keeps getting smaller,” Conway asserted. “In my view, he is a sociopath and a malignant narcissist. When a person suffering from these disorders feels the world closing in on them, their tendencies get worse. They lash out and fantasize and lose any ability to think rationally.”