Donald Trump’s press conference on Friday demonstrated to the world that he is an abject failure as a president, and as a man. Trump is an incompetent fool who fails to inspire confidence in anyone except the sycophant worshippers in the personality cult of Donald Trump.
In any other endeavor or business he would be told “You’re fired!” Unfortunately, Trump will remain in a position to inflict harm on this country until at least January 20, 2021.
Chris Cillizza opines at CNN, Donald Trump’s appalling, blame-shifting Rose Garden news conference:
“No, I don’t take responsibility at all,” Trump responded when asked if he took responsibility for the lag in necessary coronavirus testing while speaking to reporters gathered in the Rose Garden to hear his declaration of a national emergency to combat the virus.
Call it the Michael Scott strategy of management. “I do want the credit, without any of the blame,” the boss of the fictional paper company tells his employees in one episode of “The Office.”
It’s a remarkable thing for a President to say — ever. But especially in the midst of a historic public health crisis defined, at least in this country, by an inability of people who need to be tested for coronavirus to get tested.
Here’s the thing: Trump didn’t cause the coronavirus. And any pandemic with this level of infectiousness and mortality rate is not the sort of thing that a government can probably ever a) be totally ready for and b) handle without a hitch. Mistakes are always made when government and/or the private sector is forced to confront such a massive challenge.
The real danger is when the person at the top of an organization is unwilling to own those errors. When the top leader is always looking to point the finger of blame at others, the ability of any organization to focus on the challenge at hand moving forward becomes significantly reduced. Because if the lead person is playing the blame game, you can be sure so are all of his or her underlings.
Look. It is not a new observation that Trump lacks any of the traditional traits we associate with good leaders. He seemingly always takes the low road. He villainizes opponents as evil. He doesn’t tell the
truth lies — a lot. [President Trump made 16,241 false or misleading claims in his first three years]. And he is forever looking to hog credit and deflect blame. In Trump’s world, the buck stops anywhere but with him.
It’s enough to make one long for President Harry Truman who, although he had a troubled presidency as well, he was a man who always took responsibility for his administration’s actions as president. Because he was the president. Because that’s what real men do.
Just look at how Trump handled a series of questions during the news conference regarding what responsibility he felt for a series of decisions made by his administration.
Asked whether he took responsibility for disbanding the office of pandemics, Trump called it “a nasty question” (it wasn’t) before adding: “When you say ‘me,’ I didn’t do it. We have a group of people [in the administration]. But I could perhaps ask Tony about that, because I don’t know anything about it.” (“Tony” is Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.)
As for the lack of coronavirus test kits currently available — a “failing” acknowledged by Fauci, Trump reached back to the previous administration’s handling of the H1N1 swine flu in 2009.
“Ask them how they did with swine flu,” said Trump. “They had a very big disaster.”
Once again, the racist “Obama Derangement” Trump is lying about his predecessor. Here is what the fact checkers say:
CNN Fact checking Trump’s claim on swine flu tests: “Trump is wrong. The CDC did focus on testing — conducting 5,000 tests in the first month and sending out a total of 1 million tests in the first five months of the outbreak.” By comparison, “The first case of coronavirus was confirmed in the US on January 20 of this year. As of Wednesday, almost two months later, 11,079 specimens had been tested in the US.”
NPR FACT CHECK: Trump’s Accusations About The Obama Administration And Swine Flu: “Trump has, on numerous occasions, accused the Obama administration of implementing a rule change that complicated testing. However, no such rule was ever put in place, according to FactCheck.org.” In addition, “The [CDC] said the first case of swine flu was reported on April 15, 2009, and the government declared H1N1 a public health emergency on the April 26. The first test to detect the new virus was approved by the FDA two days later. Shipments of the new CDC test began May 1.”
AP FACT CHECK: Trump Misrepresents Obama’s Actions on H1N1: “[Trump’s] newfound disdain for the CDC’s actions and his criticisms of Obama and Biden are based on a faulty description of what happened in the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, initially called “swine flu.” Then, the CDC’s flu surveillance network actually sounded the alarm, spotting two children in California who were the first diagnosed cases of the new flu strain. About two weeks later, the U.S. declared a public health emergency and CDC began releasing anti-flu drugs from the national stockpile to help hospitals get ready. Trump declared a state of emergency Friday, seven weeks after the first U.S. case of COVID-19 was announced.”
FactCheck.org Trump’s H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic Spin: “On April 15, 2009, the first infection was identified in California, according to the CDC, and less than two weeks later, on April 26, 2009, the Obama administration declared a public health emergency. The day before, on April 25, the World Health Organization had declared a public health emergency.” “The same day — April 26 — the CDC began releasing antiviral drugs to treat the H1N1 flu, and two days later, the FDA approved a new CDC test for the disease, according to a CDC timeline on the pandemic.” “On April 30, 2009, two days after the public health emergency declaration, Obama formally asked Congress for $1.5 billion to fight the outbreak, and later asked for nearly $9 billion, according a September 2009 Congressional Research Service report. On June 26, 2009, Obama signed Congress’ supplemental appropriation bill that included $7.7 billion for the outbreak. The U.S. public health emergency was renewed twice — on July 24, 2009, and Oct. 1, 2009.
“In the case of COVID-19, the earliest known instances of the disease occurred in early December in Wuhan, China, and officials reported an outbreak to the WHO on Dec. 31. The CDC announced the first American case on Jan. 21. The Trump administration declared a public health emergency on Jan. 31, one day after the WHO did so, and announced a national emergency on March 13. Two days before, the WHO had declared the global outbreak a pandemic.”
Chris Cillizza continues:
Over and over again during the news conference, Trump sought to take credit for his decision to limit travel from China and, as of midnight tonight, Europe, while refusing to take any blame at all for the obvious hiccups that have characterized the ramping up of the government response to this virus.
Or his well-documented efforts in recent weeks to downplay the severity of the illness and the threat it poses to the country and the world. In fact, Trump repeatedly sought in the news conference to suggest that this will all be over soon despite virtually no experts agreeing with that view.
“Some of the doctors say it will wash through,” Trump said of the coronavirus. “It will flow through.” (He didn’t mention the specific doctors who told him it will “flow through.”)
A leader who is so insecure that he can’t accept ANY responsibility for decisions that have been made and are being made on his watch isn’t a leader at all. And, unfortunately, that’s what Trump’s news conference revealed about him. Again.