Focus on your proper role, Mr. President

The nightly briefings are his stage. As bodies pile up, a worried public tunes in. He mistakes this for popularity. He tweeted: Because the Ratings’ of my News Conferences etc. are so high, Bachelor finale, Monday Night Football type numbers’ according to the @nytimes, the Lamestream Media is going CRAZY.”

His self-absorption cannot be penetrated even by a national tragedy. This is, after all, the man who responded to 9/11 by noting that he guessed Trump Tower would now be the tallest building in Manhattan.

What the president should be doing is calling together the nation’s governors to request that every single state issue enforceable stay-at-home orders for a three-week period. If strictly adhered to, the lockdown would curtail the virus’s spread. While that was in effect, the president could focus on his proper role — not performing for the cameras, but managing the nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment for health-care workers and ventilators for coronavirus patients …

… When Governor Steve Bullock of Montana explained that his state was only one day away from running out of tests, the president became defensive and switched to pitch-man mode: We’ve tested more now than any nation in the world. We’ve got these great tests, and we come out with another one tomorrow that’s, you know, almost instantaneous testing. But I haven’t heard about testing being a problem.”

If the president really believes that, it’s frightening, because pretty much every sentient person in the country is aware of the testing-kit shortage. If he doesn’t believe it, it’s even more alarming, because it shows that he has not abandoned the false reassurance he offered the country throughout January, February, and part of March.

Mona Charen

April 2, 2020

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