Jennifer Senior | Good Riddance, Leader McConnell – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“So tell me, Mitch, in these, your final hours as Senate majority leader: Were the judges and the tax cuts worth it?

Were they worth the sacking of the Capitol? The annexation of the Republican Party by the paranoiacs and the delusional? The degradation, possibly irremediable, of democracy itself?

Those close to him say that Mitch McConnell has his eye on his legacy, now more than ever. But I wonder whether he already understands, in some back bay of his brain where the gears haven’t been ground to nubs, that history will not treat him well.

McConnell may think that the speech he gave on the Senate floor on Jan. 6, objecting to the election deniers, will spare him history’s judgment. It will not. It did not make him a hero. It simply made him a responsible citizen.”

Opinion | Trump to New York: Drop Dead –  -By Jennifer Senior The New York Times


Opinion columnist

“So it’s essentially come to this: President Trump is treating each of our 50 states as individual contestants on “The Apprentice” — pitting them against one another for scarce resources, daring them to duke it out — rather than mobilizing a unified national response to a pandemic.

If that’s the case, this is the episode where New York loses. The coronavirus is whipping through the state, especially New York City, at a terrifying rate. We need personnel, ventilators and personal protective equipment, stat.

But Trump’s response has been the same as President Gerald Ford’s in 1975, when our city, faltering on the brink of insolvency, begged Washington for help and was brutally rebuffed, a moment forever enshrined in The Daily News’s headline “FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD.””

Opinion | We Need to Flatten the Curve. – By Jennifer Senior – The New York Times


Opinion columnist

Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

“Donald Trump’s speech from the Oval Office Wednesday night was horrifying for many reasons: It seemed barely thought through, containing three misstatements that had to be clarified (two about international trade, sowing more confusion in an already volatile market); he spoke without humanity, when humanity is precisely what this first-order crisis requires (peel off his back, and I’m convinced all we’ll see are coils and springs); he blew a racist dog whistle while discussing a global health emergency (a “foreign” virus); he humped the same notes of self-congratulation — that his early decision to impose restrictions on travel to China was bold, that America is superbly prepared — when the latter point is obviously untrue, and the former point is moot.

But Trump’s biggest crime Wednesday night was the short shrift he gave to what should have been his core message: Keep your distance. Yes, he mentioned it in passing, but only on the way to rah-rahing himself, denigrating foreigners, and announcing policies that terrified the markets. This was an opportunity to drive home, over and over again, the one message that practically every public health expert says is essential to stemming community spread, lest the pandemic overwhelm our hospitals. He had the command of all the big networks. Yet he didn’t.

Then again, it’s hardly a surprise. For Trump, the whole strategy of social distancing is a nightmare. It’s inimical to his political interests.”

“. . . .Look: I’m not a doctor, and neither is Laura Ingraham. But public health experts are largely in agreement about this. If we don’t “flatten the curve” — which is to say, make sure our coronavirus patients come to our hospitals in manageable waves, rather than all at once — then we will soon become Italy, where doctors are now facing the possibility of wartime triage, which would require making choices about who lives and who dies based on a patient’s age, because there aren’t enough beds and ventilators to go around. (If you haven’t read Yascha Mounk’s vivid, data-driven piece in The Atlantic, do so, now.)

But rather than flattening the curve, Fox is behind the curve. Each and every time.”

Opinion | President Trump Is Unfit for This Crisis. Period. – By Jennifer Senior – The New York Times


Opinion Columnist

Credit…T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

“The coronavirus is no longer just a slow-moving public health crisis that may soon turn into a rapid-moving one. It’s a crisis of transparency. It’s a crisis of government legitimacy. So it is in this spirit that we all have to say: enough.

Whose side is the Trump administration on? Based on every public appearance we’ve seen so far — whether it’s from a cabinet member or the director of the Centers for Disease Control or the president himself — the answer is clear: not the public’s. President Trump, hellbent on re-election, is focused on massaging numbers and silencing bearers of bad news. That’s what autocrats do. And it’s endangering lives.

On Saturday, The Associated Press reported that Trump overruled his own health officials, who wanted to warn older Americans and the fragile against flying on commercial airlines. Our storied C.D.C., now annexed by politicians, continues to insist that only the most floridly symptomatic patients be tested for the virus. Even that remains a challenge: Last week, it refused to test an ailing nurse in Northern California who’d treated a positive patient, prompting the head of National Nurses United to read her story aloud at a news conference.

At a Friday news conference at the C.D.C., Trump told reporters that tests for the coronavirus were now available to anyone who needed one. Yet just afterward, we heard from governor after governor and doctor after doctor that this is categorically untrue, with states in dire need of more tests. “We have no local testing available,” Dr. Walter Mills, president of the California Academy of Family Physicians, told The San Jose Mercury News.”