CALEXICO — President Trump is not a presidential leader and has failed the nation. His failed leadership to use the federal government on a massive scale against COVID-19 has cost us unnecessary lives and will cost us tens of thousands more lives in the future. The national mobilization that was partially enacted was too little and too late.
The federal government, as a mandated centralized force, is better equipped to confront and solve the overwhelming challenges of this deadly virus. Decentralized profit-oriented entities would prove to be incoherent, scattered, and inept in handling the coronavirus. For this scale of crisis, capitalist private enterprise endeavors are not the answer. They need to play a secondary role.
Prime historical example is President Herbert Hoover’s belief and timid actions that private enterprise, on a volunteer basis, could mitigate the 1930s Great Depression. His approach failed to uplift the economic standards for working Americans and small business. It took President Roosevelt’s mandated federal “New Deal” to make a big difference in the Great Depression. It took President Roosevelt’s great leadership to restore hope and confidence among the American people.
President Trump is incapable of leading us because he is an egomaniac who thinks only of himself … he is lacking in compassion, sympathy, and humanity. The man has no empathy. Trump seeks personal glory and has contempt for others who defy him or don’t pay attention to him.
I believe, he views this pandemic not as a threat to human life, but as a threat to his re-election. His great concern for re-election forces him to focus on his popularity and ratings during the press briefings. These marathon press briefings are almost a total waste of time. They consist of President Trump’s incoherent ramblings, self-appraisement, his fake accomplishments and bashing Democratic governors and mainstream news reporters.
He lies, dangerously misinforms, and communicate false hopes to the public. His latest severe mishap was to try to inject disinfectant into the body for a COVID-19 treatment. This was no sarcastic remark. Watch the video, his suggestion was sincere.
Rather than giving the medical experts only 10 minutes to communicate valuable scientific information, it would be better for Trump to stop talking and step aside and let the experts control the briefings. The American people need honesty, facts and true leadership. Furthermore, the American people are bewildered and demoralized over the utter lack of clear-eyed leadership from the President. Trump confuses the public with his different decisions from one day to another.
President Trump’s biggest failure in leadership was his inability or intentional reluctance to utilize the federal government on a coordinated massive scale to provide testing and critical supplies to the medical workers.
Like the Marshall Plan after World War II, the federal government must coordinate a national response to the coronavirus crisis. Trump refuses to enact, on a systematic basis, the Defense Production Act. That would force capitalist industries to manufacture/distribute the testing kits, ventilator, swabs, and other crucial medical supplies to the heroes on the front line. Hence, more Americans will die.
Instead, he is leaving states to do the heavy lifting in the fight against COVID-19 while denying them the funding to do so. He has created an environment where states are competing against each other for the same medical supplies. Trump is cruel and divisive in his actions. This is not the time for social Darwinist polices, but the time for aggressive-comprehensive federal action.
President Trump and the federal government failed to proactively prepare for the pandemic despite multiple warnings inside and outside of the government. Also, his cavalier attitude and the early-on downplaying of the pandemic, in part, caused a national medical and economic catastrophe of historic proportions. In fact, Trump began in 2018 dismantling the team in charge of the pandemic response, firing its leadership and disbanding the team. Trump even cut the budget for the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
Presidents Trump’s early remarks and absence of presidential leadership, specially during the month of February (when he was doing political rallies and playing lots of golf) is well documented by television video. Trump said everything was under control. He said the virus was a hoax. He said that anyone who wanted one could get a COVID-19 test. Also, he said there were no problems with care providers having proper equipment. We know that these statements were false. In addition, when we hear daily from those on the front lines caring for the sick and dying that they are severely lacking critical supplies, we know Trump is lying.
Regarding COVID-19 testing, it needs to be done on a widespread national level. According to medical experts, the testing system has to produce 5 million tests a day with contact tracing. Hot spots, like the homeless and nursing-care centers, need to be aggressively tested. In other words, if we care about opening the economy, then there is only one thing we should care about and that’s testing, testing and testing. The sooner we can test on a systematic-massive scale (we have only tested a little more than one percent of our population), the sooner we can open up our economy. If we prematurely open up our economy, then we have recipe for disaster. It will result in a surge in positive COVID-19 cases with thousands of unnecessary deaths and a second closing of our economy.
Now, Trump didn’t start the pandemic, but he made it much worse through denial, inaction, neglect, incompetence and blaming others.
Somehow, in spite of Trump, we will get through this. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s leadership, massive testing and staying at home will lead us in turning a positive corner against this deadly virus. Needless to say, it will not be because of Trump’s leadership. Don’t confuse Trump’s brashness, defiance, loudness, false confidence and self-aggrandizement with true leadership. True leadership inspires others to follow, to work as a team, to have confidence in a leader. A true leader is one that tells the truth, deeply cares for others, marshals resources and experts by his/her side and is strong enough to admit, apologize when they are wrong and learn from it.
Trump is not a true leader, he is insensitive to others and is out of his depth when it comes to presidential leadership, especially during this deadly virus. President Trump is incapable of being our commander-in-chief. He has failed us; God help us all.
This story is featured in the May 14, 2020 e-Edition.