President Trump’s behavior during the coronavirus crisis has been nothing short of appalling. Spinning between eagerly claiming credit for every tiny glimmer of hope and viciously lashing out at any and all criticisms, the president has managed to turn even a national emergency into an extension of his ego.
However, nowhere has his conduct been more disgraceful than when conducting his endless feuds with the governors of Democratic states — feuds in which life-saving medical supplies and equipment become playing pieces on a perverse chessboard of petulance.
On Tuesday morning, the President of the United States took to Twitter and cruelly mocked the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo.
Saying that he had been “begging for everything” and accusing him of neglecting his own state, Trump falsely claimed he had “got it all done for him” and groused that now Cuomo was showing “independence.”
Cuomo’s been calling daily, even hourly, begging for everything, most of which should have been the state’s responsibility, such as new hospitals, beds, ventilators, etc. I got it all done for him, and everyone else, and now he seems to want Independence! That won’t happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 14, 2020
It appears he is responding to comments made by Governor Cuomo this morning, in which he declared that Trump is “not a king” and reminded him that constitutionally, the President does not have “total authority” as Trump seems to think he does.
“We don’t have a king,…We have a president. That was a big decision. We ran away from having a king, and George Washington was president, not King Washington. So the president doesn’t have total authority” said Cuomo on NBC.
The president caused a stir on Monday when he wrongly declared that the president had the authority to force states to re-open their economies and rescind quarantine orders against their will.
….It is the decision of the President, and for many good reasons. With that being said, the Administration and I are working closely with the Governors, and this will continue. A decision by me, in conjunction with the Governors and input from others, will be made shortly!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 13, 2020
His declaration makes it clear that the tanking economy is causing great distress to a leader who had been planning to coast to re-election on the strength of the economy he inherited from President Barack Obama and that he’s considering drastic action in order to save himself.
Densely populated New York City has become an epicenter of coronavirus infection, and Governor Cuomo has understandably been extremely vocal about his state’s need for medical supplies and equipment, especially life-saving ventilators.
For his part, the President — who is from New York City — has disparaged and mocked Governor Cuomo’s urgent requests for more and more material as “complaining” and accused him of being “ungrateful” for what he’s already recieved. On top of that, Trump bizarrely and baselessly told FOX’s Sean Hannity that he didn’t believe New York, which now has over a hundred thousand cases, actually needed 30,000 to 40,000 ventilators.
While the president’s sociopathic disregard for human life has been obvious for years, it is still a great outrage to see him treat medical supplies and equipment — and the lives that hang in the balance — as yet another weapon for him to use in his childish and monstrously petty feud with a governor who, for all his many, many, many faults, is just trying to keep people from dying.
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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.