Donald Trump’s jealousy and insecurity are showing again.
Faced with a crisis far beyond his limited abilities to use demagoguery and bullying to barely manage his own agenda competently much less the urgent response to a once in a lifetime pandemic of global proportions, the president is floundering in a disastrous series of televised press conferences that spread misinformation and do nothing to restore the faith of the American people in the capability of his administration to effectively handle the health emergency and formulate a plan to protect the nation.
Trump’s defensive, self-aggrandizing appearances with his Coronavirus Task Force team at the White House have been contrasted by the highly-praised leadership displayed by some of the governors of the nation’s largest states — like Gavin Newsom of California and Andrew Cuomo of New York — who have taken swift action to take charge of their state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by ordering the closure of schools, restaurants, and non-essential retail shops and ordering their populations to shelter in place while coordinating the efforts of their state’s emergency responders and medical infrastructure to help prepare for the expected exponential rate of new viral infections.
By merely displaying his confident competence in his multiple news conferences during the crisis so far, New York’s Governor Cuomo has reportedly inspired a fit of “furious” jealousy in the president, according to Vanity Fair journalist Gabriel Sherman who spoke about his impression of Trump’s envious anger in an appearance on MSNBC’s AM Joy this morning.
Trump’s fury naturally stems from the fact that his own press conference appearances have been roundly criticized in the media because of his insistence on spending more time praising himself and his administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak — while simultaneously denying their obvious failures to prepare for the eventuality about which they were repeatedly warned in advance — than on actually effectively taking the necessary actions to mitigate the physical and economic damage being caused by the pandemic.
Meanwhile, as Trump flounders ignorantly, Governor Cuomo has been highly praised for his own inspiring and masterful performance while holding daily press briefings that highlight his ability to take charge of the emergency response not just in New York state but to coordinate well with the governors of bordering states as well.
The disparity in media attention and in the evaluation of their relative performances has Trump turning the color of the Italian flag as he turns both green with envy and red with anger.
Gabriel Sherman explained to host Joy Reid what he has heard from his sources about the president’s fury over what he sees as Governor Cuomo’s theft of his thunder as the limelight seeks the brightest star in the crisis firmament.
“My sources who are in touch with the White House, several people told me that one of the things driving [Trump’s task force press conference apperances] this is that the president has been furious and frustrated at New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who has been holding these very widely well-received early morning press conferences and, in the president’s view, has sort of hijacked the news cycle,” the Vanity Fair reporter said.
“So now you see Trump, you know, taking the stage after Cuomo trying to take back the mantle and unfortunately he’s doing that with misinformation,” he added. “So we’re in a situation where the president’s narcissism and his need to be at the center of every story, even though the story is not about Donald Trump, this story is about a global pandemic, is what is driving the White House’s communication strategy.”
“I had a senior former West Wing official tell me that the president needs to be his own press secretary and that’s what’s driving this,” he commented.
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.