After Wall Street and other global markets plummeted today over fears about the impact of the growing coronavirus pandemic on the global economy, Donald Trump tweeted out words of reassurance to Americans from his luxury accommodations while on his visit to India.
The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2020
From any other U.S. president — one not infamous for his pathological lies, low IQ, aversion to scientific facts, and mental instability — such words would indeed be reassuring.
In today’s Trump era, however, the president’s tweet smacks more of stock market manipulation and a growing sense of panic that how his hapless administration handles the inevitable spread of the coronavirus in this country and its impact on our economy and our health care facilities may affect his chances at reelection and, inevitably, the immunity from prosecution for the multiple alleged crimes that he enjoys thanks to the Justice Department’s legal opinion that a sitting president can’t be indicted.
One has to question the judgment of a president who witnesses a drop of over 1,000 points in the Dow Jones Industrial Average — a three and a half percent decline that is the third-largest in the index’s 124-year history — and says that the markets are “starting to look very good” to his jaundiced eyes.
Coming on top of the clueless tweet posted by Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli this morning — who revealed an embarrassing lack of access to basic information about the deadly virus’ spread for an official who is the top DHS official on the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force — any sensible American found Trump ‘s post trying to convince us that everything “is very much under control in the USA” less than trustworthy, like every word that flows out of his deceptive mouth.
I just tried again, and it looks like Johns Hopkins put the information behind a membership wall of some kind. Seems like bad timing to stop helping the world with this (previously) useful resource. Here's hoping it goes back up soon.
— Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli (@HomelandKen) February 24, 2020
Nick Miroff, The Washington Post reporter on the DHS beat, found Cuccinelli’s public plea for tech support in the face of an institutional paywall to be embarrassingly noteworthy in an administration that has broadly rejected the importance of scientific facts and research and slashed the funding of important relevant government agencies, such as the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health, that should be in the forefront of protecting our nation from the worst potential impact of the pandemic.
Ken Cuccinelli, the #2 official at Homeland Security, is top DHS official on the Trump admin’s coronavirus task force. Someone please get him a Johns Hopkins membership. https://t.co/YWgezui0GP
— Nick Miroff (@NickMiroff) February 24, 2020
With state officials and senators already incensed over the poor communication and lack of coordination between the federal Health and Human Services agency and local health officials over the repatriation and quarantine plans for U.S. citizens arriving from travels in countries where the coronavirus outbreak has already gained significant ground, Cuccinelli’s display of cyber-ignorance and his failure to ante up the cost of access to crucial data is a particularly galling example of how poorly this administration is responding to the worldwide health crisis and completely undercut the confident message that the president was trying to send with his tweet.
Since Trump seems to believe more in old wives’ tales than in scientific evidence and tweets the factually dubious claim that warm weather will simply lead to the virus fading away, it appears as if his opinions on the coronavirus are about as valuable as those who think that it says something to do with that Mexican beer that one usually drinks with a lime wedge.
Leadership like this makes one think that it may be time to start stocking up on provisions and staying at home as much as possible before the virus’ predicted growth in the US gets too widespread to avoid.
….he will be successful, especially as the weather starts to warm & the virus hopefully becomes weaker, and then gone. Great discipline is taking place in China, as President Xi strongly leads what will be a very successful operation. We are working closely with China to help!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 7, 2020
With no great discipline taking place in the United States, our nation immediately needs competent leadership to shepherd us through this crisis.
Unfortunately, the Republican Senate squandered the only likely opportunity to remove the science-adverse skeptic from the White House before the upcoming election, so it will be up to you to ensure that you protect America’s health — as well as the health of our democracy — by voting Trump out of office by as wide a margin as possible.
Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.