The complete lack of leadership emanating from the White House as the coronavirus pandemic worsens is sure to have devastating long-term effects. President Trump is far more concerned about covering up his botched response in the early days of the outbreak than he is in actually taking action to mitigate the fallout. Unable to rely on the federal government for support or direction, the challenge has fallen to state and local officials to safeguard their communities against the virus.
Trump seems all too happy to let governors take the lead on the pandemic response (even as he heaps unfair criticism on some of them). Earlier today, he made the asinine comment that the federal government is “not a shipping clerk” and so can’t be expected to provide states with much-needed material support. That duty he’d prefer to shunt off onto state leadership.
TRUMP: “We're not a shipping clerk… As with testing — the governors are supposed to be doing it."
Passing the buck as usual. pic.twitter.com/TpElEztpja
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) March 19, 2020
His failure to help would be bad enough, but it now appears that his administration is undermining the governors’ ability to do as Trump suggests. Bloomberg News reports that Trump directed governors to purchase their own medical supplies only for the federal government to turn around and outbid them on those very same supplies.
During a video conference with the president today, Governor Charlie Baker (R-MA) told Trump that Massachusetts has been outbid on medical supplies three times by the federal government. He asked for Trump to give the individuals responsible for the bidding some “guidance” which would seem to indicate that once again the president is oblivious to what’s going on in his own government.
“I’ve got a feeling that if someone has the chance to sell to you and to sell to me, I am going to lose on every one of those,” said Baker.
Trump responded with a laugh and said that he still expects governors to secure their own supplies but admitted that the “feds” won the bids because “prices are always a component.” It was exactly the kind of useless observation we’ve come to expect from this useless president. There is nothing funny about this debacle. The Trump administration is botching one thing after another and the result will be more dead Americans.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker tells Trump he took the president's instructions "very seriously" and tried to “go out and buy” supplies to battle COVID-19, instead of relying on the federal stockpile, but “on three big orders we lost to the fed.” https://t.co/PuZJemvdMR pic.twitter.com/JCh4vUZlr1
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) March 19, 2020