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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/18/20

America faces two crises: the coronavirus escalation and Trump in charge of the response

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Message Michael Payne

Subtitle: Message to Trump: lead, follow, or just get the hell out of the way. And there are those Americans who would go even further and alter that famous saying in the subtitle in this way: Message to Trump: don't lead, don't follow, just get the hell out of the way.

Right off, let's make one thing clear. This article is about the great threat that the coronavirus poses to this country and its people, the likes of which most of us have never seen or even imagined. It is not about the financial situation in our country today even though there is a direct connection. That issue will be covered in a separate article.

We know that, eventually, everything that needs to be done to bring this situation under control will be done but the problem is that the response from Trump and his administration to this point has been horribly slow and he has put the ability of the government to respond in a deep hole by his quite obvious lack of leadership and necessary action.

How this president is going about leading the efforts to deal with this crisis is absolutely incomprehensible. This is incompetence of the highest degree. It's clear that he views what is going as two problems; first as an economic crisis and then, secondly, as one that is a health threat to America and its people. This is pure moral corruption.

This is a president who chose to dismantle the National Security Council's pandemic response team in 2018. Just recently, Trump in a response to a PBS reporter, Yamiche Alcindor's question, told her he didn't "know anything about" his former national security adviser's elimination of that global health security, yet another flagrant LIE.

Thereafter, Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio disputed that, saying in a letter to the White House, "I urge you to act swiftly in reaffirming your commitment to global health security by taking immediate action to designate senior-level NSC personnel to focus on global health security, supporting adequate and appropriate funding for global health security initiatives, and leading the way in preparing for the next pandemic threat."

I can't find anything that indicates that Brown ever got an answer to that letter.

This article reports that Trump;'s 2021 budget request proposed cutting Health and Human Services funding by $9.5 billion, including a 15 percent cut of $1.2 billion to the CDC and a $35 million decrease to the Infectious Diseases Rapid Response Reserve Fund's annual contribution."

Various members of the Congress, including Republicans, have asked him to remove that budget cut from the 2021 budget but he has refused.

He simply does not have the mental/leadership capability to look at all the many aspects of this coronavirus threat, to call on the various experts in the various fields that are involved, lay down an overall plan, and then direct all efforts. It's not in him, it's not who he is.

Just when America needs a strong, fearless, and extremely competent leader to step up, take control, and lead this nation and its people out of this coronavirus crisis, it has no one of the sort, it has Donald J. Trump in charge. If there is anyone in this government or, for that matter, in this country less qualified to provide that kind of leadership, I have no idea who that might be.

After a reporter asked him if he felt a responsibility for the slow response by the government he retorted, "I don't take responsibility at all," pointing to an unspecified "set of circumstances" and rules, regulations, and specifications from a different time." "We are doing a great job," he insisted, referencing the health officials and business executives gathered behind him."

The biggest problem and his greatest failure lies with the need to have massive numbers of tests available across America

This is the guy who acted so very slowly when nations were being made aware of this deadly virus in January, and he failed to do anything to get ahead of the virus spread. A couple of days ago I saw a listing on some article that showed about 20 nations from South Korea, China, Japan, France, Germany, and others that indicated the number of tests that have been made available in each of them. The top nation was South Korea and #20 at the very bottom was the US. Disgraceful.

I heard an expert analyst on CNN say that the US is 6-8 weeks behind in its build-up of coronavirus tests. That lag in initiating a massive movement to build a huge, essential inventory of these tests is totally inexcusable, it should have happened weeks ago but it didn't because Trump, when other nations were quickly responding to the threat, was "asleep at the wheel."

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