Will the coronavirus wind up accomplishing what impeachment couldn’t do and bring the presidency of Donald Trump to an ignominious end?
Given the disastrously incompetent manner in which the Trump administration has discounted the severity of the impending threat that the deadly viral infection poses to both the health of the American public and the continued smooth functioning of our society — a threat that has already massively affected the profit projections of the financial seers on Wall Street and driven stock markets to record drops over the past two days — the coronavirus could have a bigger impact on Trump’s political health than any unknown chance of the notoriously germaphobic president contracting an infection might have on his physical health.
Trump’s decision to send White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow before the public yesterday to declare that “We have contained this, I won’t say airtight but pretty close to airtight” — at the same time that the Centers for Disease Control’s director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases was warning that “It’s not a question of if but rather a question of when and how many people in this country will have severe illness” — indicates that the president is more concerned with the falling stock market impacting his chances at reelection than in preparing concrete steps to address the encroaching pandemic.
Trump proved that interpretation of his actions with a clueless tweet this morning that blamed media accounts of the growing global epidemic for tanking the markets — as well as inexplicably blaming Democrats for his own incompetence as he perfectly described his own inaction and attributed it to them — all while contradicting the CDC warning and undermining his own credibility by misspelling the infectious agent in question as “Caronavirus.”
Low Ratings Fake News MSDNC (Comcast) & @CNN are doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible. Likewise their incompetent Do Nothing Democrat comrades are all talk, no action. USA in great shape! @CDCgov…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 26, 2020
With all of Trump’s efforts to dismantle the federal government infrastructure that had been built to handle health emergencies such as the coronavirus pandemic — including the slashing of funding for the Centers for Disease Control, the elimination of the entire global-health-security unit of the National Security Council, the killing of the US government’s $30 million Complex Crises Fund, and the reduction of national health spending by $15 billion, among other short-sighted moves — it was only natural that the president’s critics on social media lashed out at his ignorance, incompetence, and inability to grasp the significance of scientific matters beyond his intellectual capabilities.
The fact that at least some of the money diverted from the defense against public health crises was used to construct his useless border wall that won’t do a thing to prevent invading microbes from entering the country only added fuel to the fire.
Did you know Trump admin over last two years has cut funding that could've prevented or at least slowed the spread of the #coronavirus. Instead he wanted $ to build his wall- a wall that he promised Mexico was supposed to pay for! https://t.co/XvZ14ELBc6
— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@DeanObeidallah) February 26, 2020
bro the stock market is in free fall and you've defunded the CDC to the level where it can no long function, but cool story my dude, maybe our next president can glue all the broken pieces of government back together
— Jeff Tiedrich (@itsJeffTiedrich) February 26, 2020
You can't even be bothered to spell it correctly, you fucking idiot.
— Pé Resists (@4everNeverTrump) February 26, 2020
“They’re trying to make Coronavirus look bad when, in fact, it is a good thing. Don’t believe the fake news!”
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) February 26, 2020
The incompetence of your Administration is spooking the markets plus the fact that no one can believe a word you or lackeys say. Do better
— Joe Lockhart (@joelockhart) February 26, 2020
The coronavirus has the unique issue of inspiring fear against Asian Americans, many of whom have never set foot in China and yet many consider us to be dirty carriers. We are human beings, not an infestation. We need a president who can protect both public health and our rights.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) February 26, 2020
I choose to believe the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I choose not to believe an incompetent jackass who cannot spell the name of the virus and has a propensity for lying.
— 🌶🅿️ac🅾️ Luℹs ♏ont🅰️ña ⚛🐍👹🌶 (@Pacoluismonta9a) February 26, 2020
But this is different. This is dangerous af. The markets are not more important than public safety and people’s lives. Coronavirus is a pandemic NOW and is going to be a global pandemic soon. It’s not a question of if. It’s a question of when. 2/
— Holly Figueroa O'Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) February 26, 2020
OMG. 🤣 🤣🤣😂
— Delvone Michael (@DMorrisMichael) February 26, 2020
Don’t be shy. Tell us how you feel!
— Kevin Hill (@kmhill461) February 26, 2020
Trump Regime is responding to this pandemic just like any other authoritarian regime: declare everything is perfect, threaten media for reporting, threaten opposition for asking for help, attack people in government who try to help.
— David Rothschild (@DavMicRot) February 26, 2020
Naturally, these sensible responses to the president’s gaslighting and spread of malicious misinformation were met with vicious replies from ill-informed MAGA-types who blamed Democrats for spreading fear and attacking their infallible leader.
Hopefully, when they start rationing the N95 respirator masks due to shortages caused by the burgeoning pandemic, they’ll institute an IQ test to ensure that those who downplayed the seriousness of the medical threat that the coronavirus poses are moved to the bottom of the list.
Just kidding, although don’t be surprised if the Trump administration devises some sort of loyalty oath to be signed in order to get treatment or restricts medical services to U.S. citizens with fully-paid health insurance, at a time when global supply issues raise the threats of mass layoffs in the manufacturing sector and the subsequent loss of health benefits for those newly unemployed.
If that doesn’t make you long for universal health care — and a president with the intelligence and leadership to handle the pending crisis — nothing will.
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.