Opinion | Trump Was Too Focused on the Economy to Fight the Coronavirus – By Roger Cohen – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

“It’s the money. With President Trump, that never changes. The Dow at 30,000 was his obsession. Get to that number and the November election was a lock. Maybe even win with 400 Electoral College votes. A landslide!

The index came close. It was at its high of 29,551 on Feb. 12, more than three weeks after President Xi Jinping of China, his disastrous delaying tactics exhausted, warned that the coronavirus outbreak “must be taken seriously.” A Nasdaq record high followed on Feb. 19, almost three weeks after the World Health Organization declared a “global health emergency.”

“We have it totally under control.” That was Trump’s message at the time. Jared Kushner, Trump’s de facto campaign manager, liked that. So did Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary. Don’t spook the markets! Champagne on ice! Trump’s path to re-election involved getting enough Americans to say, I can’t stand this guy but, hell, I’m making money.

This sordid calculation meant the opportunity to avert the Covid-19 disaster was lost. Warnings were ignored. Chaos prevailed, starting at the top with a president who can no more think through a process than feel empathy.”

“. . .  When the Pearl Harbor Commission on this American catastrophe convenes, even Trump the perennial escape artist will not be able to slither from history’s judgment.

There’s nobody left in the presidential entourage who can question his folly. The toadying of Vice President Mike Pence captures the terror that reigns in Trump’s off-with-his-head court.

Court is the appropriate word. “When somebody’s the president of the United States, the authority is total,” Trump said this week. Prompting Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York to the timely reminder, “We don’t have a king in this country.”

The thing is, Trump is the king. He’s Mark Twain’s king, more precisely. He’s the great American swindler, relying on the vastness of American space to afford him the opportunity to stay just ahead of disaster by conjuring up one more tall story. Twain’s king and duke in “Huckleberry Finn” — claiming to be the dauphin of King Louis XVI of France and the usurped Duke of Bridgewater — lie and scam their way down the Mississippi in the quintessentially American story.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s