Trump Administration Admits They Can’t Control the Pandemic
America, your long national nightmare isn’t quite over. Not yet. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’s admission that the Trump administration is powerless to control the pandemic and merely waiting for a vaccine is nothing short of unconditional surrender. Welcome to Trump’s America where walls are never built and problems are kicked down the road until someone else solves them.
Imagine if John F. Kennedy had said, “We choose not to go to the Moon in this decade because it is hard.” Science is complicated and sciencing takes a lot of brainpower, whether it be designing a rocketship or curing a disease. Given that degree of difficulty, Trump decided to make America wait again.
To be fair, he valiantly fought his way through his own Coronavirus contraction and has returned to throwing superspreader events with thousands of acolytes in attendance. MAGA hats are recommended but masks are optional. He and Mike Pence soldier on with their 2020 campaigning, despite Mike Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short, Pence’s close aide Zach Bauer, and three others testing positive for the virus. With Pence needing to stump for Trump in Minnesota and the Carolinas this week, he’s ignored CDC guidelines, leading Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to admit what many of us already suspected.
We are not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas.
The Trump approach is akin to the basketball adage ‘You can’t stop him. You can only hope to contain him.’ Except instead of contain, Trump’s team is running a let-him-score-at-will defensive formation, while awaiting a medical Hail Mary.
I’m mixing my sports metaphors almost as fast as this administration mixes its messages. At last week’s presidential debate, Donald Trump claimed the US is ‘rounding the curve’ in its fight against COVID-19 and a vaccine is weeks away, or very, very soon, or by the end of the year, or by April 2021. Regardless, someday in the future, we will have a vaccine, but the important part is the US is rounding the curve. This is important because one day after he said that, the US recorded the ‘highest number of Coronavirus cases in one day since the pandemic began.’ Geometry was never my strong suit, but this curve we’re on looks suspiciously like a spike.
I’m being harsh on Chief of Staff Meadows and the rest of the Trump administration. You can’t hope to control a pandemic with masks, social distancing, and a thoughtful sense of community spirit. That would be, what’s the word? No, not malarkey. That would be samfundssind! Yes, that’s it.
Samfundssind isn’t the result of the three espressos I shotgunned as I sat down to write, but it is a Danish term defined as “putting the concern of society higher than one’s own interests.” Social mindedness has been all the rage in Denmark in 2020. Back on March 11th, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen held a press conference, stating the following:
We have to stand together by keeping our distance. We need community spirit. We need help. I would like to thank… all who have so far shown that this is exactly what we have in Denmark — samfundssind.
Unlike many in the MAGA crowd who insist you’re going to have to pry their mask from their cold, dead conspiracy theory, Danes responded ‘enthusiastically.’ They complied with government guidelines like a bunch of grown-ups! This resulted in Denmark being one of the first European countries to re-open schools while keeping COVID-19 deaths below 700 and maintaining ‘relatively low’ infection rates. They believe that by valuing society over the individual, all the individuals benefit and it’s working! Seems the only thing rotten in the state of Denmark is the stench of infection wafting across the Atlantic from the US.
There have been 223,378 new Coronavirus cases reported in the US since Thursday night’s debate. Despite medical experts stressing masks help reduce the risk of infection, the idea of asking a Republican-leaning American to make sacrifices of anything other than possibly their lives at a Trump rally, and signing a liability waiver before they do it, is unthinkable in Trump’s America. Personal accountability is something for those people who need to stop leeching off the welfare system and pull themselves up by their economic bootstraps. A real American can’t be told to wear a mask for the health of the country. A real American can’t even be asked to think about eating a few more vegetables at dinner. America is the land of optional masks, all meat platters, and an exorbitantly expensive healthcare system that no human can possibly explain why it’s so pricey.
A cure will happen, but perhaps not until Trump turns over his tax returns. But before you dismiss Trump as a candidate of broken promises, remember he gave corporations and rich Americans their tax cuts, he pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement, he stacked the Supreme Court with right-leaning justices, and he slashed environmental regulations. According to Gallup polling, this is enough to keep 56% of the country happy, thinking they are better off now than they were four years ago.
You can scoff at Trump and Pence for appearing to wave the white flag in their battle against COVID-19, but many maskless Americans breathe easier knowing those two are in charge. Furthermore, many see Trump as sympathizing with their current social and economic plights, even if he does it from a palatial suite in Mar-a-Lago. When they attend one of Trump’s mask optional rallies, they pack in tightly, their unprotected faces shining statements of freedom that proclaim, “Give me liberty or give me death,” for which they’ve already signed a waiver.