Coronavirus cases in the United States are skyrocketing and President Trump still refuses to be honest about the challenges facing the country. Instead, he’s downplaying the risks posed by COVID-19, lying about his administration’s early, incompetent handling of the pandemic, and wasting time heaping blame on everyone but himself.
On Monday, he spoke to several governors about the virus. Governor Steve Bullock (D-MT) brought up issues his state has been having in acquiring the adequate testing equipment they need to even get a sense of how bad the crisis has become. In response, Trump acted as if there is no shortage and claimed that he hadn’t heard reports about testing being a problem. CBS released the audio of the interaction.
CBS News obtained audio of a call Monday between Pres. Trump and rural state governors about coronavirus. After Montana Gov. Steve Bullock discusses difficulty getting testing equipment, Trump says, "I haven't heard anything about testing being a problem" https://t.co/ScO2YbKZAq pic.twitter.com/YhFPpw7Gni
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 30, 2020
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The reality (which Trump is almost certainly aware of and choosing to deny) is that the United States has been lagging behind on testing since the outbreak began. The botched rollout and scaling up of the testing operations were hampered in no small part by the president’s constant desire to spread misinformation and insist that fewer tests are needed than is actually necessary, presumably because he wants to project an inaccurate, rosy version of events to help his reelection prospects.
Trump’s handling of the situation has been so egregious that even Republican officials are starting to refute him. Governor Larry Hogan (R-MD) bluntly contracted the president’s claim that testing hasn’t been a problem.
“Yeah, that’s just not true,” Hogan said of Trump’s aforementioned Monday phone call remarks. “I mean, I know that they’ve taken some steps to create new tests, but they’re not actually produced and distributed out to the states,” Hogan went on in his new interview with NPR.
“So it’s an aspirational thing and they’ve got some new things in the works, but they’re not actually out on the streets and no state has enough testing,” Hogan added.
It’s apparent now that Republican officials find themselves in a dire predicament. They don’t want to alienate Trump’s base which now runs the GOP, but at the same time the president is actively endangering the people they were elected to serve and protect.
These officials now find themselves walking a tightrope between effectively fighting the virus by pushing back again Trump’s constant stream of misinformation and conducting themselves in such a way that he doesn’t turn his full frothing ire on them. Lost in all of this are the Americans who need competent, unified leadership. Trump is failing us all.
A Republican Governor on Trump's claim yesterday that coronavirus testing is no longer a problem:
"That's just not true … no state has enough testing"https://t.co/Mj4iAMcALJ
— Michael Gwin (@MichaelJGwin) March 31, 2020