With the coronavirus crisis exploding across the world and public anger at the Trump administration’s inaction rising by the day, one would think the president would be champing at the bit to take decisive action and show any kind of leadership whatsoever to a panicking nation.
But it appears not even a national epidemic is important enough for him to put aside his pride and his petty feuds.
POLITICO is reporting the Trump is still so angry at House Speaker Pelosi over the impeachment trial that he still “isn’t on speaking terms with her” and has instead “deputized” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to lead talks with the speaker on a legislative plan to tackle the economic and social effects of the coronavirus and the disruptive public health measures needed to impede its spread.
On Monday, he refused to attend the Speaker’s St. Patrick’s Day lunch because “the speaker has chosen to tear this nation apart with her actions and her rhetoric.”
But given the president’s unpredictable and impulsive approach to governance, it’s still up in the air if he’ll accept anything from the House at all. “The biggest wild card is the mercurial Trump. But if a deal gets brought to him with broad bipartisan support and the country is still in crisis mode, it’s hard to imagine he doesn’t sign off” reports POLITICO last night in their “Nightly” edition.
The two sides are expected to clash right off the bat, seeing as the Trump administration has been callously insistent on defining the crisis solely as an economic issue, obsessing over the stock market and weighing bailouts for various industries — some of which the president just so happens to have a personal stake in — while almost entirely ignoring the repercussions that ordinary Americans are feeling due to the instability.
On the other side, Democrats are focused on helping the public, preparing a legislative package that would implement “paid sick leave for certain workers, extra funding for children’s school lunches, expanded unemployment insurance, and increased spending on social safety-net programs.” They are especially worried about kids who rely on school lunches to be fed if schools close and helping regular people afford coronavirus testing.
The contrast in priorities could not be starker.
With so much at stake, it is extremely disturbing to hear that the president is still refusing to even speak to the leader of the opposition party because his feelings are hurt. It is yet another compelling reminder that no matter who one might favor in the Democratic primary season, the nation cannot afford to endure another four years of this petulant coward in the White House.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.