A Deadly Lack of Leadership

Mar 15, 2020 · 588 comments
KMW (New York City)
I plan on voting for President Trump in 2020 and know others who will do the same. The coronavirus was not of his making. You cannot put the blame on him. It started in China and if they had done more in the beginning it might not have spread to over 150 countries. A Chinese doctor was silenced when he said it was dangerous and ultimately was the first to die of the virus. We should stop the blame game and all work together to do our part to end this catastrophe.
Kathleen (Portland, OR)
@KMW Could you let Mitch McConnell know? He took a long weekend rather than let the Senate vote on the bipartisan bill to address the emergency.
Murray Corren (Vancouver Canada)
@KMW The virus is not of Trump’s making. That is true. But, as the leader of the country, he completely abrogated his responsibility to take early and decisive action to mitigate its dire consequences. Not the mark of a competent President.
Robin (Portland, OR)
@KMW The U.S. and South Korea had their first confirmed cases of coronavirus on virtually the same day. South Korea took immediate action. Its infection rate is now on the decline. The U.S., led by a president who repeatedly denied the seriousness of this public health emergency, is now just getting started on coronavirus. Americans have a long way to go. You can blame China and give Trump a free pass, but other countries acted on the same information the U.S. had. The key word is they acted.
Samuel Taylor (Colorado Springs, CO)
Your column is Democrat friendly, inaccurate and unwarranted. You and most Americans appear to have short memories when it comes to viral outbreaks in the USA. In 2009, we had the Swine Flu epidemic, and a newly installed President waited until 1,000 Americans had died before he declared a state of emergency. By the time the epidemic was over, 61 million had suffered from the disease, 300,000 were hospitalized, and over 18,000 had died. Please compare the reporting on Obama to the way you and the MSM are attacking Trump, who declared an emergency after 40 deaths from the Corona virus and banned travel from China the source of the epidemic in late January.
HF (Portland)
@Samuel Taylor Hi Sam - it took me less than 10 seconds to determine that what you posted was far from true. Have a look - https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/obama-wait-swine-flu-n1h1/
GG (New York)
@Samuel Taylor Trump got rid of President Barack Obama's pandemic team and he rejected WHO's offer of testing. He was more concerned with his numbers -- polls, Wall Street -- than virus numbers. Obama didn't wait until 1,000 people had died to act. It was already an epidemic that he was acting on. All a state of emergency does is release funds. Republicans keep harping on Obama, but this is happening on Trump's watch. The buck stops there. -- thegamesmenplay.com
Bill Dempsey (Menlo Park ca)
Instead of JUST focusing on Trump’s obvious character flaws, we should also focus on the constitutional flaws that bring us WARPED outcomes. The slave era electoral college and two Senators from each state (no matter how small) — Wyoming 580,000 [2], California, 40,000,000 [2] even though 72 times larger, wildly distorts majority intentions and then preserves these distortions in the Supreme and lower federal courts. We need to fix this URGENTLY Our founders were insightful not infallible
Dr. Professor (Earth)
All Americans pay for the president we have in the WH. This is far from over, and lies and demogugagery are not going to change reality on the ground. Lies and demagoguery may work on people, but never Covid-19.
Planetary Occupant (Earth)
We watched today's news conference. Unfortunately it was just more of the same: congratulate the President on what a fantastic job he has done combatting the novel corona virus, attack the previous administration(s) and blame them for not having a sufficient structure in place to address such a thing, and end up defending his destruction of, yes, just that structure - because it wouldn't have been good enough this time around.
John Jones (Cherry Hill NJ)
ANY PERSON WITH COMPETENT MENTAL CAPACITY Would have understood the existential threat presented by the COVID-19 global pandemic. Any mentally functional president with a White House Office on Pandemics, would have been prepared with the facts, to take steps recommended by expert epidemiologists to protect the US against the coming while it was still isolated in China. Any leader with the capacity to learn the facts needed to address the problems COVID-19 represents to the future of the US, the global future and the survival of the human species would have called in a team of experts to dispatch them to learn about the Chinese response, so that the US could prepare and initiate preventive strategies to limit the impact of the global pandemic. Trump's most dangerous failures show his medical incapability of fulfilling his official duties, due to severe impairment in language, memory and executive functions along with an inability to feel empathy or remorse, and a complete lack of the ability to recognize the feelings and needs of others. Trump's toxic narcissism is poisoning the US response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. The Cabinet must remove him immediately by invoking the 25th Amendment.
Pathfox (Ohio)
It will leave no scar on the delusional brain of the great and brilliant Trump - a legend in his own mind. The scars will be born by those who die from the virus, or die fighting for those who have it, or whose economic lives are upended by the great American shut-down. I hope this is the coup that brings him down with the thud he deserves. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Please Mr. Biden, win the election!!
Urbe capta sapientia dormit (Erie, Pa)
President Trump again has failed the American public. He stated that the states find their own respirators and equipment. This is when we need a unified, national approach. He never informed the American people why the Federal government is unable to find, buy, or build new beds and obtain respirators. So why do we have this incompetence on the Federal level? We cannot plan by tweets. We cannot plan on the basis of hiring people by loyalty instead of competency. We cannot plan by disbanding critical health components of the Federal government. We cannot lead by constantly churning critical lead staff. We cannot learn by ignoring the truth. We cannot learn by not acknowledging our mistakes and learn from them. We cannot plan if our President is more concerned with golfing, partying, and attending political fund raising activities. We cannot plan and learn if the VP is more concerned about fawning to the President (probably, because he is afraid that the P will find a new running mate). We cannot gain a foothold in reducing the number of virus victims if the Republican leaders in the Senate are more concerned with taking a recess instead of dealing with the Corona virus outbreak. We cannot have an effective government when the P places people in cabinet level and other high level positions who are more interested in destroying the office for which they are responsible. We cannot have leadership in this administration when they deny science and gag expertise.
Kajsa (Annapolis, MD)
Trump suppressed testing and the scientific community in general because he would rather have people die than have his numbers look bad. That's who he is. That's who you supported, Republicans.
texsun (usa)
Trump plagued by a lifetime of being an unprincipled man. Void of principle. Simple no amateur psychology necessary to understand his clownish behavior.
catinna (FL)
@Peter....too little, too late.
JohnKeohane (Austin, TX)
Right on! But I'll raise two more items: (1) those protecting their 2nd amendment rights can't shoot this virus, and Trump can't twitter it or mock it to death. (2) my heart goes out to those passengers coming in from Europe, perhaps to escape the virus, who, because of Trump's ineptitude and from the fact that he's down to almost only sycophants, rather than competent aides, didn't phase in this additional screening, and left passengers in large crowds with 7 hour lines to clear customs. Guess what? Large crowds are perfect for this virus to spread, but imperfect for providing any kind of protection for people to stay healthy.
Susan (San Diego, Ca)
Wasn't it ironic the way President Reagan, the head of all government, used to go on about how government was the problem? That was the beginning of the GOP's plan to handicap our government to their benefit...
Aaron (Baudhuin)
This is not about America nor politics anywhere. It is about a virus which in many ways can threaten the lives of humans everywhere. Too bad this point has been overlooked by almost all governments (and in this article too for the most part), each inventing it's own wheel after watching it's neighbors try, fail or succeed at doing so.
Michael Sorensen (New York, NY)
I have no confidence that the U.S. will do what is right during and after this pandemic. This country is structurally incapable and fundamentally unwilling to put people over money, and all people over just some. In the U.S., millions are uninsured or underinsured, people working multiple jobs can’t make rent, and workers making a few dollars an hour are told that if they miss a shift their hours will be cut. This is a society that responds to poverty with police, and to health care needs with jail. It may be true that viruses only see bodies, not class or immigration status, but there is no question that those who will bear the brunt of this pandemic will be the poorest and most marginalized. The fundamental inequality on which everything in this country is predicated will be exacerbated by this crisis in ways we cannot fathom.
Steve (Hailey, ID)
Well said, Mr Blow. The president has put all of us at risk with his refusal to accept and deal with the reality on the ground, leaving us woefully under-informed, unless we sought out sources without .gov at the end of the URL. And of course the incessant lying and negligence regarding testing is abhorrent. Part of the reason we assign blame, aside from simple anger, is to identify where the failures have occurred, to avoid repeating.
Bruce Northwood (Salem, Oregon)
"The Trump administration finally appears to be taking this crisis seriously..." Trump 's only concern in all this is concern for reelection. He cares not a whit about how all this effects the public. He has publicly stated he does not feel responsible for anything. As the nation's leader he is in charge of the effort to slow and stop this crisis and he has has failed miserably. What great leadership and on Monday's briefing gave himself a 10 for his response or lack thereof. This is great leadership? Millions out there in out there land believe it is. With people feeling that way A merica is doomed.
M.A. Heinzmann (Virginia)
Trump has earned a place on Mount Rushmore with his handling of the coronavirus epidemic thus far. He has made a lasting impression that will not ever be forgotten. His actions will be studied in all American history, public health and medical text books. Adding a sculpture of his posterior on the granite mountain would remind all of how he turned his back on America at the beginning of this viral epidemic and has continued to ignore most all scientific and public health guidance on the handling of an epidemic.
Lilly (New Hampshire)
Imagine if the DNC and the media, instead of continuously characterizing Sanders in every negative way they can come up with, whether it’s accurate or not, and they had discussed how essential, not only important his policies are to save lives, save the planet and increase democracy, away from the current fact that we are living in an increasing oligarchy. What would the election look like if instead of the hysteria and actually stating, how can we stop Sanders?!?!?! they all were even minimally being fair and accurate about how access to healthcare, which almost no American but the very rich reliably have, is a basic cornerstone of civilization? That’s what we see. Why don’t you? Because of the media and the narrative controlled by those who want to continue to amass obscene amounts of dynastic wealth. If I were you, I’d feel like I’ve been duped. I’d be angry. I am. I’ve lived in Japan, France and Germany and I know the truth. Don’t you want the truth?
Sophistia (FL)
@AutumnLeaf Please cite your sources for your claim. If this is the person whom you seem to be implying, he does not hold public office at this time (term ended in 2018) and has no role in this matter. Whether he is Republican or Democrat is irrelevant. Staying on topic advances the discussion. Thanks.
Sophistia (FL)
As Trump continued to self-congratulate at his presser today, the market defied him by having it’s worst day since the 1987 crash. His market manipulations are being read as “no confidence.” His obsession with his image and legitimacy without regard to others is probably pathological. Trump is incapable of considering others or sharing credit. He’s a master of duck, dive, and weave to avoid directly answering pointed questions. His gaping lack of leadership is not just benign neglect. It’s more akin to depraved indifference.
Jim (Alaska)
Constitution of United States of America. Amendment XXV sec. 4. It's time.
Doug McKenzie (Ottawa Ontario, Canada)
We don't have to rehash that Trump is a liar, he is a known liar; Do liars hang out with each other and that may be the problem with those that stand with him; Are we to assume they are liars as well? We do not have a choice but to think they are as well. Once trump is voted out, the people that stood with trump should also be known.
phoebe (NYC)
Let’s hope you are right and we will be rid of him in 2021.
RamSter (NY)
Can you for once, just once be a part of the solution instead of being a second guessing, contributing nothing armchair pundit? Are you so blind that you can't see that all of this is brand new and in fact, that the federal government is actually responding quickly to the now and to the 6 months from now. What exactly is the most difficult challenge you have ever faced? Nothing like this I'd bet... so why don't you try harnessing your platform for the positive, for getting folks on board with the plans to defeat the curve instead of being , well, a second guessing, contributing nothing armchair pundit?
Leon (Earth)
Why in Heavens is Trump on TV addressing the Nation? This man is poison to our well being. He has zero, better said, negative credibility. Everybody knows that everything that he says is false, that he has no information because he rejects to hear what he does not like, or that he has already deformed the information that he received and that everything else is a fabrication. If he says that there are tests available is because there are no tests available. If he says we are on top of this is because he does not know what to do. If he says we are containing this is because we have no idea of how many cases are there. And if he says we are going to be OK is because this is very, very bad. He should do all of us a favor and shut up. Go to Maralago, sneak under a rock, go into a hole. Disappear. Please.
Al (San José)
His cult seem to think he is doing a great job, because he says so. SMH
batpa (Camp Hill PA)
It's early days to predict how this country and all Americans will fare in this worldwide pandemic. However, there is no uncertainty about our president . Today, he scored his performance as a 10, the best possible. The only surprise is that he did not tell us that his performance was "tremendous", "beautiful" "unprecedented", all the superlatives that Donald Trump's limited vocabulary affords. Thanks to Fox News, his supporters are still convinced that the president will be their savior. Unfortunately, Trump's account is fiction and others are reality. We cannot expect a lifelong liar and cheat to solve this crisis. Thankfully, there are competent people working night and day to reduce infections and deaths. Our success is uncertain, we must pray that smarter, hard working scientists, physicians and caregivers will prevail. The Trump administration demonstrates daily, that they simply are not up to the challenge.
Jean (Cleary)
Right on Charles. Unfortunately all of the Trump supporters that I know still think that this Pandemic is overblown. These supporters happen to be in the extremely vulnerable class of those who need to be careful. There is no getting through to them when it comes to Trump. They think he is wonderful. However the plunge of the Stock Market may change their collective minds.
Walter Bender (Auburndale, MA)
It seems Mr. Trump's inaction, stonewalling, and finger-pointing regarding the scope and danger of social media misinformation campaigns is also coming back to haunt us. Why would anyone who has believed three years of accusations of "fake news" and innuendo about the "deep state" suddenly believe the NSC when they try to convince us that the text messages about a national lock down are fake. Reaping what we have sowed.
Dave (Virginia)
I'm surprised you and everyone seem to take at face value that Trump's test was negative. I don't think we can be sure he had a test, or if he had a test that it was negative.
Michael Cohen (Boston ma)
While we are a democracy and we have a President who is elected, the President is not our God or genius-in-chief but only a mere mortal. It is by no means obvious that if Trump were perfect on the Virus the U.S. would not suffer devastating losses. Instead of recriminations we should determine what needs to be done NOW and how we are going to do it. Instead of recrimination what needs to be done is for the public to decide what should be done now.
Lenore mass (Chicago)
I hope you are right that we will be left with a scar—maybe that continuing reminder of the price we’ve all paid for this president will help us learn not to repeat such a dreadful mistake.
cd (nyc)
Whatever has happened up to now is irrelevant. And we don't need Trump to tell us to wash our hands. What Tump and his cabinet need to do is focus 100% on getting tests to the public. They had the chance back in January when Obama's people tried to clue them in and share information. None even showed up, I'm sure on orders from Trump. For that alone he is guilty of cowardly irresponsibility. So now, if they really care, every bit of time and energy needs to be spent getting the tests out. Period.
allen (san diego)
this may sound harsh but: we are wrecking the entire world's economy to prevent a few thousand deaths. the world looked the other way when an estimated 800,000 Rwandans not merely died but were butchered to death. more americans die in auto accidents each year than will die from the coronavirus. and lets not forget the world is already over populated. even if 2 billion of us bit the dust the world would go one as if almost nothing happened, and the earth would heave a great sigh of relief. the fed is trying to prevent a virus induced recession but they have completely eviscerated their ability to react to a real recession when it comes. and come it will probably when the try raising interest rates again and sell the bonds they have purchased. the fed should not be in the business of try to save the administration from its ineptitude. so everyone get over it. if you are at risk then self isolate. other wise get out there and get on with your life.
Allison (NC)
“Few thousand deaths” no worries... I’m guessing you’re not a health care worker or have loved ones in the vulnerable categories. One day a virus may come that has a much higher death rate. Let’s hope we learn some important lessons from this.
allen (san diego)
@Allison just so happens i am in an elevated risk group.
AutumnLeaf (Manhattan)
'A Deadly Lack of Leadership' I know right? Instead of getting to work and resolving this, the Mayor ran to the YMCA and hid in his safe room away from responsibility. Democratic Party at their best.
Mangus (NJ)
He is dangerous. He needs to be removed. Now. Not in November. Now. WHAT are they waiting for?? I cannot believe Wall Street isn’t demanding his resignation.
JimM (Rochester)
This is how Trump becomes dictator for life. Think Republicans would object? Think again. They abandoned principles and the country in general a long time ago.
tom (oklahoma city)
I do not believe he took the test. He was just now saying that it was an unpleasant test. Isn't it just saliva testing? Regardless, the man is a liar and I don't believe him. Trust but verify. Show us the test results. Let us hear it from an unbiased third party. He lies every day and to an extent much greater than normal people.
Cousin Greg (Waystar Royco)
Trump's cult is beyond help; and they don't want it. They'll continue to mindlessly snipe and troll, but all that really means is they have internet access and know how to type. We need leave them behind. They are an anchor around the neck of this country, particularly now. Trump can't destroy this country, but his supporters can, and they will unless we forget about them and move on. It's the only way.
Mixilplix (Alabama)
Earth to Trump Voters: The airlines will get 50 billion with zero thank you. You will get absolutely nothing except the virus and zero health care.
Jim (Alaska)
Constitution of United States of America. Amendment XXV sec. 4. It's time.
WriterGirlCT (CT)
Bravo, Mr. Blow. I live with generalized anxiety disorder, and feel on the verge of tears at all times because the federal government has utterly failed this country. The "you had one job" meme would be perfect: This administration has spent literal months ignoring what was developing overseas, and put their collective heads in the sand. Did they think they could wish it away? Or did they not realize that stupid, wasteful, ineffective border walls won't keep out a virus? Trump's constant blaming of President Barack Obama is, as you said, gross. This shipwreck of a xenophobic, anti-science, illiberal administration has taken ZERO blame for ANYTHING that has occurred --or in this case, NOT occurred--under its watch. I am grateful my governor and 2 neighboring governors are abandoning the shipwreck, and making the hard choices that should have been made by the feds. One final thing: Mitch McConnell does not escape blame for the reaction. Hiding at KY fundraisers and refusing to call back the Senate to vote on relief packages is not only a dereliction of duty to country, but borderline criminal. And Devin Nunes, John Coryn et. al.'s encouragement to "go out to dinner" and "relax" shows how ignorant and venal the GOP has become. They don't care about their constituents nor their country. Shame on them and those who keep voting them in. Thank you for your wise takes; it does help to know I am not alone in my anxiety, fear, and anger.
Two Americas (South Salem)
63 million Americans voted for this guy. Houston, we have a problem.
Lucinda Edmunds (Vienna Austria)
The quote from Macbeth comes to mind: "Now does he feel his title/ Hang loose about him, like a giant's robe/ Upon a dwarfish thief."
Matt (MI)
It has yet to be determined how long this will remain in the American memory. After all, a mere eight years after Americans were so freaked out by the Dubya Depression that they actually voted in a black guy, this clown attracted enough votes to beat probably the most experienced and most thoroughly investigated presidential candidate in U.S. history.
WL Harper (Chicago, IL)
"We have absolutely no idea how many people have the virus in America, or how many had it and have recovered, because there has been an outrageous and embarrassing dearth of testing in this country." Lack of testing is the major issue. Also, half-baked plans with no support like what happened in O'Hare airport (and elsewhere) this weekend. Today's news: Governors should buy their own supplies while 45 continues to stump for a payroll tax which would deplete the Social Security coffers. What a moron.
Bach (Grand Rapids, MI)
Why do I get this feeling people will not demand invoking the 25th Amendment until they see Trump’s on camera meltdown a-la Bogart’s Captain Queen in the Cain Mutiny?
Panthiest (U.S.)
So, Trump wears a baseball hat with this name on it to a news conference about a national emergency. He is not only incompetent. He's a pathetic blowhard.
mag (Chicago)
It is - frankly - too much to ask of DJT that he somehow hold in check his pathological need for self-aggrandizement and insecurities. At this time of international crisis, it would be good to have a message of leadership and a demonstration of unity rather than self-congratulation and, as Mr. Blow so accurately points out, an orgy of butt kissing. As nauseating as Trump's demonstration of total self-absorption and cluelessness were the Greek chorus of Toadies lauding DJT as some deity rather than address the critical questions facing the nation. Thankfully, governors and mayors are taking up the slack in leadership.
smartypants (Edison NJ)
Instead of carrying on like the baby and dope that he is, Trump should man-up to tackle this problem as his full-time job. LBJ was man enough to forgo his reelection to another term as President to deal with the Nation's crisis at that time, not allowing an election campaign to distract him from that solemn obligation. Why the hell can't this clown do the same?
Sean Cairne (San Deign)
Because of the Blood Red MAGA hat wearers, because of the syncophant GOP, Donald is in the White House and his actions and inactions will kill Americans. Because of the MAGA hats and the GOP Americans will be dying from this virus who could have been speared. All but for the Trump supporters and the GOP, Donald would just be another failed rich kid cheating at golf. Come November, recall all those who have died because of their ineptitude.
JRS (rtp)
Yesterday I was simply disappointed that Gov. Cuomo has hot shown his meddle in dealing with the scourge that seems to befall NYS; today, I am decidedly impressed that Mr Cuomo has found his voice and he has, allied with three other governors to institute a fantastic plan of how he will protect New Yorkers. He would make his dad proud; our dear departed Mario was the greatest governor of my lifetime; pleased that Andrew is stepping up to the challenge that New Yorkers and indeed by default most of us together find ourselves.
JRS (rtp)
Oops, spelling: Mettle.
havnaer (Long Beach, CA)
Of course, maybe...just MAYBE...what we are seeing is a sinister form of leadership by no-leadership. The Emperor, who tweets about virtually every subject under the Sun, is strangely taciturn about the "Once in a millennia pandemic" of the Coronavirus. In response to the public's "End of Days" panic, we hear no words of comfort, no reassurance, no determined rhetoric from the top. It is almost as if "Hair-on-Fire" fear and frenzy is a desired outcome. Yet, if Trump can ride this Apocalyptic hysteria for a few more months - baiting the Medias to continue to blow the crisis out of proportion - he could suddenly, in September or October, declare the Presidential Election "postponed", in the same way that Schools, Sports, restaurants, Conferences, concerts, and all manner of gatherings are being canceled. This would allow him to remain President until such time as he deems the pandemic has passed. And that could be a very long time. Of course Republicans would rally to approve of the Emperor's "Leadership". But would House Democrats rise up to oppose Trump taking dictatorial powers? Remember 3 years ago when an Executive Order was issued barring travel from Muslim countries? Democrats strongly opposed it. But today, when an EO is issued barring travel from Europe, there is bipartisan agreement. So this is how the world ends, not with a bang, but with a whimper.
Jc (Brooklyn)
Yes, yes, yes all of that is true. Now will someone write some articles about the financial incentives that make Botox readily available, insulin and epipen costs unaffordable and research and manufacture of drugs for viruses and diseases that afflict the poor in this and other countries out of the question. For all that drug companies carry on about research costs many drugs were developed by federal agencies and given to drug companies to manufacture. Trump certainly but other administrations too have cut federal agencies to the bone and eliminated some. Other practices like cutting infection oversight in nursing homes proposed by Medicare’s Seema Verma, who beats Betsy DeVos by a mile, portend other epidemics in the making. Those cuts would certainly make nursing homes more profitable. Nothing is too small for capitalist investment. When Trump made his billion dollar offer to that German company for exclusive rights to a vaccine did you think it was for the good of the American people or just another very lucrative investment for him and his friends?
Ed (ny)
"(He finally got tested, and the results were negative.)" Unless he is lying .
Thomas C. (Florida)
@Ed: He is lying.
fFinbar (Queens Village, nyc)
@Ed That would make a lot of people happy.
Steve Fankuchen (Oakland, CA)
Why are there any casinos open in the United States ? In this time of National Emergency, when there is almost no leadership at the national level, it falls on our governors to do the right thing, to earn their taxpayer-funded salaries rather than lobbyist generated campaign contributions. If the right thing to do is to close down schools, how can one possibly justify leaving casinos open? In some areas casinos are run by First Nations (a.k.a. Indian) peoples. Some tribes, such as the Pojoaque Pueblo in New Mexico, showing more sense of collective responsibility than some businessmen and governors, have closed down their own casinos. Others, acting in the tradition of other "only the dollars matter" Americans, have failed to do so. This poses legal sovereignty impediments for some governors. However, those governors have the power to close down roads leading to the casinos and should do so, immediately after closing down all non-Indian casinos.
Terro O’Brien (Detroit)
A national medical supply chain planning operation must be set up to ration critical supplies, and direct resources to where they are most needed. There are existing scp ops that could be commandeered for this purpose (Amazon, US Army) NOW.
Bill Langeman (Tucson, AZ)
Reflecting on our miserable pathetic excuse for a president and his ignorant non-critically thinking delusional supporters, I remember what Winston Churchill said when Chamberlain returned from Munich. "You were given a choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, you shall have war."
Mixilplix (Alabama)
This man needs to go away. Forever.
SMS (Rhinebeck, NY)
"America needs a leader; it has a lout." You're golden, Mr. Blow. Thank you for this. It's already fixed in my memory. My fast-devaluing 2¢ for the day: Dante in his "Commedia" (aka "The Divine Comedy") showed how exquisitely the punishment fits the crime. It always has, it always does. King Midas in myth wished that all he touched turn to gold. He got his wish. His food turned to gold as he tried to eat, and his teeth bit down on precious metal. His wine turned to gold as he tried to drink, and he choked on it. (Ovid).
Hrayr Karagueuzian (Los Angeles)
Linking the dots of Trump's mischievous behavioral points lucidly outlined by Mr. Blow, one important point needs to be linked to Trump's vast network of incompetence: A threat to our National security!
Ken Wynne (New Jersey)
Well said, Mr Blow. Looking for leadership? Try town halls, local folks, health professionals. Forget Republicants. Time to stand up for your community. Don't fall for a conman like Trump. Better still, find the leadership that beats within you. Pitch in. We are better than him. Prove it.
bnc (Lowell, MA)
A lovely distraction. Before this crisis, we were after Donald Trump and all his crimes. What happened to Deutsche Bank? What happened to his blessing Putin? What happened to money laundering? What happened to Stormy?
Jeremy (Vermont)
Please stop talking, Mr President! As I watch your latest joke of a press conference (I guess 'social distancing' does not apply to the props you have lined up behind you), the markets dropped another 2%. Shut up and DO SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE! Fire up wartime measures to increase production of medical equipment and treatment/vaccines. Get National Guard on duty helping hospitals. Stop blaming Obama and act like a president, for once.
Jim Tackett (New Haven, CT)
When all is said and done, Trump should be indicted for murder.
Mixilplix (Alabama)
Have you heard the news? The dogs are dead! Better do as your told. Get out of the road if you want to grow old. - Pink Floyd, Animals
Virginia (Cape Cod, MA)
Tump: "I alone can fix it." "I take no responsibility."
Tyrone Henry (Los Angeles)
Can I just say that Drs Birx and Fauci are the most trusted individuals on Coronavirus Team! I don't trust anything that is coming from the others' mouths! But Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci have ampathy and speak the truth! That's just my observation! Thank goodness for them on the team!
Yetanothervoice (Washington DC)
So, from all that I have read, I gather that we are a few weeks behind Italy on the Corona virus curve. The White House has botched the response, of course, which could not have been as effective as in other countries because of our crumbling health care 'system'. What I am sure we will be seeing more of in the future is scapegoating, which is one of the few things the White House and its spin-lackeys are good at.
Jan (San Antonio, TX)
Anyone who was familiar with Trump's lack of character, feared the consequences of placing him in the White House. I recall a 60 minutes program regarding his not nonpayment of construction subs and honest businesses in New York and New Jersey which cemented my opinion of him. We will see how many people continue to support him on the basis of a strong economy soon and how many people we will lose from the Corona Virus. So your assessment of him is pretty accurate and the Republic Party's support of him no matter what? Well, there you are!
cece (bloomfield hills)
Republicans ruin economy -- dems get elected to fix it. Rinse and repeat. When will republican voters ever learn?
fFinbar (Queens Village, nyc)
@cece Ho-hum. How many times must this trope be repeated?
Cousin Greg (Waystar Royco)
Donald Trump has cratered his followers 401Ks. Because of his negligence, he effectively stole their money, and they still defend him. Think about that.
Michael (Brooklyn)
If this virus flames out over the summer, and if the economy begins to recover, Trump will campaign on how he saved the world.
Jim Ristuccia (Encinitas, CA)
Trump supporters got exactly who they hired. This is no surprise. It's not just Trump, but his entire administration: When you hire sycophants you get incompetence. We are fortunate we have real leaders in governors (both Republican and Democrat), scientists, and sports leaders that are picking up the slack.
Ralph (Lac Du Flamboyance)
Ok. So we all know that Trump’s a lout, ask Stormy Daniels and all he others he has fired over the last three years. But our nation is at war with a deadly viral attack, and so what is the Commander of the Anti-Virus Brigade Pence doing? Where is his Tactical Operating Center? Where is his Op Order? Where is his wire diagram or an organizational chart? Who reports to whom? Where are the daily briefings from Pence? How do we win this war, and be better prepared for the next Corona?
MrMac (Texas USA)
No matter the circumstances, this is Trump: 1. Be totally oblivious to the situation. 2. Tell us how great he is. 3. Lie about the situation. 4. Remind us how great he is. 5. Blame someone else for the situation. 6. Insist he is the greatest ever. 7. Wash, rinse, repeat...
Jo Lynne Lockley (Berlin)
You channel me, mostly, but what about the stealth privatization of the testing process to a company, Oscar Health, found by CEO Josh Kushner, Jered Kushner's brother. My immunity to conspiracy theory has been worn away by the continual assault on presumed reality, so I cannot help but wonder whether the refusal of the proven WHO kits, the obstruction of independent testing and the ensuing delay in a still pitiful state of testing does not have some connection to this solution. This is my wingnut brain worm alone rather being internet spawn, but what about it?
Lillas Pastia (Washington, DC)
this is one of the several columns penned by charles blow with which i happen to agree . . . but his credibility is still down at ankle level with me after his intemperate outburst of some weeks ago in which he tried to persuade us that african-american voters were not reluctant to support a gay american for president (read: buttigieg), when jim clyburn -- whose job it is to know this stuff, and presumably does -- contradicted him, as did the african-american voters in every state where they represented a significant portion of the electorate, until mayor pete folded . . . as daniel patrick moynihan once said in a different context, everyone is entitled to their opinions, but they're not entitled to their facts, and mr. blow's impassioned screed simply failed the truth test . . . after that episode, i read his pieces with a gimlet eye . . .
tjd (atl)
"Fear and panic will help etch this one into the psyche. This will leave a scar." And. We. Will. Remember. Your. Names. All of you. Every one. We won't need a hundred years to wait for history's judgement. You will all be tainted with the Golden "T". There will be no place for you in government, and, if we're lucky, no place in society. This cult leader, enabled and empowered by his mob, has the deaths of Americans on his hands.
T Smith (Texas)
Didn’t see much in the way of leadership during the H1N1 virus crisis either. But, wait, that wasn’t aTrump that was Obama. Could you reprint anything you had to say about that? Just asking.
Last Moderate Standing (Tennessee)
Well you wouldn’t have seen it on Fox News.
Tom Debley (Oakland, CA)
The message from Trump -- especially when he told governors to buy their own respirators, ventilators, etc. -- could not get any clearer: "Hey, kids, your own your own now."
robin (california)
Instead of complaining about Trump's leadership vacuum, SHOW it. Both of Justin Trudeau's addresses to the Canadian public are actual leadership in action. A 60 or 90 second clip would drive the point home in a simple and direct way that descriptions of what is missing cannot do ! PLEASE TRY IT NYT. It is a very simple way to make the point without ever having to say what is wrong with Trump. Just show what is right ! Here is a link to his Friday address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uPDSYFaJvQ CBC.ca is streaming today's full briefing at this moment, Trudeau has come and gone, other equally able members of his cabinet are speaking now.
Carol (NYC)
Bring back Obama! Bring back Obama!
Hub Harrington (Indian Springs, AL)
In short, during a crisis trump acts exactly the way he has since he rode down the escalator. Sociopaths with severe narcissistic personality disorder can generally be counted on to be consistent.
Michele (Seattle)
Trump to Americans: “Drop dead”.
james33 (What...where)
trump will play his only card: the zero-sum game he's always played and as long as incompetent and lily-livered synchophants continue to kowtow pathetically before him nothing much will change. He's a one-trick pony without a saddle, bridle or cowboy boots. You're emphatically right, Mr. Blow, he's a coward.
Jim Tackett (New Haven, CT)
When all is said and done, Trump should be invited for murder.
jc (Waco, TX)
Charles Blow, Thanks again for being "spot on" with your comments. I would add that the fault also lies with all his enablers.
Bob (San Francisco, CA)
Nailed again, as always. Keep healthy, Mr Blow.
LT (New York, NY)
To those who apparently cannot get the gist of this article. Mr. Blow and just about every commenter here are not blaming Trump for the virus. He is being blamed for his lies and lack of leadership. But not only with this virus issue. He has lied and shown no leadership in any other situation. Blow makes that point very clear so please, diehard Trump supporters, read and comprehend! For too long Trump has seen the coronavirus pandemic as a public relations and political issue, not a health crisis. Everything is always about him.
Cousin Greg (Waystar Royco)
@LT If they could grasp basic concepts, they wouldn't be Trump supporters in the first place.
Candlewick (Ubiquitous Drive)
@LT Unfortunately the NYT Artificial Intelligence Moderator system can't decipher poor reading comprehension; if it could, numerous comments would never be published.( I like the old system of human moderators).
Virginia (Cape Cod, MA)
@LT Keep in mind, though, that Trump himself knows that he could even shoot someone on Fifth Ave., a felony of his own doing, and he would not lose their support. He mocked a disabled person, attacked a Gold Star couple, has lied over 17,000 times, routinely behaves like a five year old with his name calling and whining....all of his own doing, and they excuse him, so their using the "It's not his fault" argument is bogus. Even if the virus WAS his fault, they'd excuse him.
Schimsa (The Southeast)
9 times out of 10, Mr Blow, I know by the title exactly what you’re going to say. I read you, nearly every op-ed, because of your voice that comes through in each piece, sometimes soothing, sometimes outraged, sometimes weeping. This piece in particular is simply explosively eloquent. The marvelous brain and heart in you are treasures you share, sometimes at great personal cost. Thank you, Sir. Please stay well along with your kids and remember to be kind, funny, and aware with them and then it’s ok to go to your room!
Pam (Skan)
What would lessons learned look like? - Adequately staffed and equipped health care, with crisis scenarios strategized in advance and scalable resources quickly deployable. - Honest leadership providing evidence-based information and decisions to all stakeholders including the public, without muzzling, minimizing or propagandizing the findings and input of qualified experts. - Global, interstate and interagency coordination on information, best practices, and resource deployment. - Paid personal and family sick leave to flatten contagion curves, minimize the drain on critical resources, restore the workforce to productivity and tool up economic recovery as rapidly as possible. - Circuit breakers to pause student loans, mortgages and other middle-class debt and eliminate co-pays, length-of-stay maximums and surprise medical expenses. - Affordability through responsible taxation, competitive procurement and stable management. - Both parties benefiting from clearly demonstrated bipartisan support and resulting high approval ratings. Imagine all that - and a return on investment in the form of an economy and stock market that maintain their health as well.
Caded (Sunny Side of the Bay)
And yet there are still millions in his base who watch him and somehow see a strong leader. Sigh!
John K (New York City)
It is still incredibly hard to get tested in New York City. My wife is a health care provider who sees vulnerable patients. Even she is having trouble getting the test now that she has the symptoms. Lots of talk about red tape, the CDC guidelines. All sorts of baloney. By now, everyone who wants to be tested should be able to get tested. Until that happens, the number of cases that governments announce will remain untrustworthy.
bl (rochester)
Glenn Kessler's WaPo article www.washingtonpost.com/ politics/2020/03/06/trumps-bogus-effort-blame-obama-sluggish-coronavirus-testing/) should also be cited as part of any of the recent canards that the testing fiasco was "inevitable" and due solely to CDC+FDA bureaucratic turpitude. The disbanded Pandemic task force would have had the power to cut through whatever red tape there might have been, and surely would have activated wider testing capability far far earlier. To assert that the delay was an inevitable byproduct of bureaucracy below the WH level, something many commenters apparently sincerely believe, is to engage in typical f-x "news" type dissembling and straw man argumentation in order to not point each and every finger at the one powerful person who justly deserves all the insistent pushback that MSM can dish out.
pressel99 (los angeles)
Our federal government's response to the coronavirus pandemic gives the lie to Ronald Reagan's quip that "government is the problem." No, incompetent and corrupt government is the problem. A competent and honest government is the solution to our biggest problems. Hopefully, that is a lesson that we Americans will learn from this crisis.
Jordan (Melbourne Fl.)
The sun came out this morning, it's Trump's fault, just ask Charles Blow or any other NYT writer or commenter on this website. Ask yourself this question, you've been consistently predicting the end of the world since January of 2017, do you honestly think swing voters are paying any attention to you anymore?
Cousin Greg (Waystar Royco)
Anyone else notice Trump supporters can't even begin to address the substantive criticisms of him?
JRoebuck (Michigan)
I think they can plainly see the failure before them.
Marty Feinstein (Chicago)
When newspapers, television and the media begin posting COVID-19 obituaries, as the New York Times did in its 9-11 Portraits of Grief, perhaps a sidebar with a picture of Donald Trump calling the virus a conspiracy and a hoax will serve as a reminder on election day.
bl (rochester)
While the time line in Leonhardt's op-ed is invaluable to help lessen the ability of disinformers (including many apologists here) to push their revisionist narratives, readers shouldn't lose sight of bolton's decision in May 2018 to disassemble the Pandemic task force. This action was surely something trump would have known about. It's beyond plausibility, i.e. plausible deniability, that he never knew about it. That he chose not to reestablish this unit soon thereafter, or at least after he dismissed bolton (in his eyes for good cause for fussing over giulani's behavior) is his responsibility. It essentially rendered us institutionally incapable of responding quickly/coherently to what began in December '19. In particular, the two initial screw ups can naturally be traced back to the complete absence of a unified task force (in early '20) to oversee/coordinate/expedite all relevant components of our collective response. These were the protocols to follow to repatriate exposed or already ill citizens. In addition to protocols there was the not so little matter of insuring adequate levels of supplies needed by emergency care providers to minimize contagion during the transfers. These 2 features of the inept response at the borders provided an effective window of opportunity for the virus. Absent irresponsible leadership began there. Commenters who fail to see these basic points are merely apologists for protecting their savior.
Jorge (USA)
Dear NYT: Isn't it time to lay off the hate-mongering and try to unify our country to fight this virus? This is really sad.
Marty Feinstein (Chicago)
@Jorge Tell that to the president.
bl (rochester)
@Jorge What is particularly sad is that you have been convinced, surely by repeated and uncritical exposures to the disinformation channels relied upon by trump to run interference when needed or to lie when called upon, that the rigorous criticism of his lack of effective leadership for two months (though the initial seed for the current disaster was planted in May 2018 when the Pandemic task force was dismantled) is now characterized as "hate mongering". Justified criticism of powerful people who make really bad decisions repeatedly, and who then claim they are not even responsible for anything that ensued, is not hate mongering.
Cousin Greg (Waystar Royco)
Just to confirm: the political coalition that attracts and welcomes neo-Nazis and violent white supremacists says it's time to "lay off the hate-mongering."
OldNCMan (Raleigh)
“There are decades when nothing happens,” Lenin wrote, “And there are weeks when decades happen.” And when a leader places himself as the victim of a hoax, refusing to face the reality citizens are confronting perhaps a more apt end to the quote might be "And there are hours when decades happen". Every hour of a failure to act with urgency makes flattening the curve that much harder.
Ole Fart (La,In, Ks, Id.,Ca.)
I honestly think if republicans (McConnell) had done their job and dismissed Trump in the impeachment trial lives would have been saved. As much as I disagree with Pence, his behavior during this crisis is somehow reassuring. Perhaps in part, because it shows carefulness and earnest effort to address our peril. With 45 we have a crazed ego, raging in the WH, many of his minions like Nunes telling people to go to eat, party, etc. Behavior that endangers us all, not just them. Is fox finally getting it's journalistic act together on this? I feel like we're all that victim Trump claimed he could shoot in broad daylight in NYC and nothing would happen to him.
Tom Carney (Manhattan Beach California)
The energies that have always been driving Trump are the following:Envy,Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Pride, Sloth and Wrath. In addition, an objective, dispassionate scientific analysis of what we call Democracy will reveal that it is these energies rather than these Love, Brotherhood, Compassion, Equality and Justice, that are behind the policies of half-wayness that are being championed by the so-called moderate Democrats. Does anyone really think that a billionaire's child is worth more or superior to a poor mothers child? Really? Time for for another look at Animal Farm.
roy brander (vancouver)
Trump's punishment, for a few hours at least, was that foxnews.com all morning had only one copy of his name on the page: an old headline about the Michael Flynn pardon. They just put up a few more: two celebrities criticizing Trump, and the new main headline about a "foreign disinformation campaign"...which turns out, when clicked to be an announcement by administration officials. But, basically, even foxnews is not looking to the man for anything useful. When news was "debatable", Fox would carry it, along with their side of the debate. But when there was no way to spin something like sharpies on the weather map, they just stayed silent on the story entirely. Now they're going silent on Trump himself. His worst nightmare isn't criticism; it's being ignored. It's actually important for writers like Mr. Blow to stop writing about Mr. Trump, even to criticize. Write about the current crisis, write about the real news, not the yap-yap about Trump's performance. Simply ignoring him for the duration is the harshest criticism you could level, and will hit him the hardest. He will make efforts to get your attention with the usual flailing about enemies and conspiracies. The right response is a headling "Trump attempts to distract" and a first paragraph that casually dismisses his attention-grabbing effort before the rest of the story is about real news, and calls it as such.
Joe Rockbottom (California)
Just wondering, Is ANYONE still claiming that Trump can "act Presidential?" The operative word is "act," and it also requires a teleprompter to keep at least the words coming our of his mouth coherent. Of course, he muffs it up as soon as he is allowed to "speak" for himself, that is, let his short-circuiting brain cells spew out whatever words fly by in any given moment.
Jeanie LoVetri (New York)
The religious "right" supports Trump because god chose him. He is there to facilitate stopping abortion, stopping any and all social services, eliminating as much government as possible and making sure the evangelical churches keep their tax-exempt status. He is there to prepare us for the rapture. He is there to help people devoted to the "biblical lifestyle" whatever they say that is, to hold offices in courts and legislatures all over the country. He is there to be sure that they take over the government and return it to its "christian origins". If you think about it, it makes explains why the people who could stop him don't....they have a higher pledge to their god that supersedes any oath to the Constitution. If you think this is nonsense get a copy of "The Power Worshippers" and read about it. The idea that the government should help with people not getting sick, or not working, or not being tested or having anything to do with the virus is foreign territory to the GOP/god network. All charity is to come from individual churches that use their money to "reach out" except that they often to not. The people who support Trump believe what they hear on FOX and in the pulpit. Your righteous outrage, Charles, is wasted on them. Looking to Trump or Washington for assistance is a joke. Maybe the states, the cities and the towns will make up for this malfeasance. God bless the child that's got his own? I guess. Jesus must be crying.
Cousin Greg (Waystar Royco)
By any objective matter Donald Trump's "leadership" in this public health crisis has been an abject failure. The only people who will try to say otherwise are his cult, who would say that even if he were giving them the virus directly. Donald Trump is a colossal failure.
Hiphop (NM)
It’s not just the President, it’s the Republicans,Fox News and the evangelicals. They not only have not reined him in but have often supported his behaviors.
Pete (SoCal)
@Hiphop Just read about Devin Nunez encouraging people to go to restaurants. Beyond belief....
g zurbay (minneapolis mn)
@Pete Truth is the alternate truth scam has been the basis of the Far Right drive to drown the government in the bathtub. Why, oh why do people vote republicans into government when their sole purpose is to eliminate that which they are SWORN TO DEFEND??? Does it get anymore 'voting against your best self interests' than this??
Daniel B (Granger, IN)
Trump did not reveal anything new regarding his lack of leadership, empathy and basic fitness for the job. All he did was provide more examples.
Dick M (Kyle TX)
I spend a lot of time lately wondering what would be happening to us if the coronavirus was much worse than it is. If a pandemic was facing humanity and was significantly more deadly, could we expect government's responses to be crucially better? Would or could 330 million Americans expect significantly more effective action and greater population protection than it seems our government is provideding today? That is a truly frightening question. If a disease arose with a much greater potency than coronavirus and was shown to have caused greater needless sickness and death to the people of China, Europe, etc. could America be defended and its citizens' lives safeguarded by the visibly incompetent leadership that we're seeing now? Is the reason for this situation strictly due to governmental failure or are the world's advanced, rich, technological advanced societies everywhere unable to endure better than in the 14th century?
Vincent (Ct)
As Alfred E. Neumann once said “ what me worry “. Wilbur Ross said that the American economy would prosper with jobs returning to this country fleeing the virus in China. Steven Mnuchin stated that after the panic subsides investors will return to the stock market. Trump’s whole administration has not a clue on how to contain the pandemic nor of the possible economic ramifications of a recession. Nor have they shown any indication of learning from their mistakes or setting policies for the next pandemic that scientists say will eventually arrive. For them the only health of the nation is economic. Medical health seems to be of little concern.
Smilodon7 (Missouri)
Even if their concern is only on the economic repercussions of this, they are failing miserably. What happens to all the people whose paychecks have stopped & don’t fall under the narrow confines of the relief bill that may or may not pass? What do you think the effect will be on Trump’s beloved stock market when millions of people lose their incomes, maybe for months. Most people cannot work from home.
OldLiberal (South Carolina)
Trump is a politician's politician. He looks to turn everything into political gain. In this case, he's facing a pandemic and he wants solutions that will help him get reelected in November, not mitigate the pandemic. It's not any more complicated than that. He's not stupid or incompetent. His calculations are heartless political calculations. What should I say or do today to gain support for my reelection in November, no matter the cost to others? It helps to be a sociopath devoid of morals or personal integrity.
Smilodon7 (Missouri)
You’d think taking measures that militate the pandemic would be the best way to get re-elected.
G. Sears (Johnson City, Tenn.)
No holds barred Blow, and rightly so. Trump still does not get it and most likely never will even in the face of what is yet to come vis a vis Covir 19. America will persist but not without serious life consequences because of the deep character afflictions of DJTrump.
Gus Gallegos (Rio Linda, CA)
In three fast years, this president has eroded my trust in The Federal Government’s ability to do ANYTHING, with this egomaniac in pseudo-charge. Remember how you feel now, in November. Time to end this Clown show.
Michele (Cleveland OH)
Trump and his lackey Pence will go down in infamy. The lack of remorse and awareness is terrifying.
MIMA (heartsny)
The biggest disappointment? Dr. Deborah Brix. She stood up during a press conference and held up Jared Kushner’s nonsense plan for drive through testing! Shame, shame, shame! Any credibility the woman had went off to the wind. Kushner convinced a company to produce his insane idea of drive through testing. Donald Trump told the citizens of the United States this would be implemented “soon” in all US communities. The company ramped up volunteers to do this! And Trump got Brix to put on the Jared show in a press conference. THIS was a hoax. I am a nurse. I am educated in healthcare and have served decades. I case managed five ICU’s in a large city and worked hand in hand with the best intensivists in this country. I know what I’m talking about, Get Jared Kushner out of the United States healthcare! He has no business even being on a ruthless Trump healthcare counsel. People are dying, families are writhing, healthcare providers are giving their lives on the frontline. Cast Brix aside. She undermined our integrity, our faith. She has succumbed to a Trump directive instead of upholding integrity and healthcare itself in the midst of this crisis. I have commented about this before and the Times has refused to publish my comment on this. Why? We are the American people in the midst of a crisis. We deserve so much better than Jared Kushner, no medical training - and Dr. Brix has shamed the medical community!
Smilodon7 (Missouri)
I don’t remember voting for Jared, last time I checked the boy wonder was never on a ballot. He was never confirmed by the Senate. He wouldn’t even have security clearance except for Trump. So why is he in charge of everything important now?
Phaque Di’Aronald Jay Chump (California)
Kushner and Pence are in charge so they can be the fall guys when it all blows up. Classic Trump tactic.
Ben (Florida)
South Korea has set up drive through testing stations. They seem to be effective. I don’t know how Kushner’s plan compares, but I can’t dismiss it outright.
Wyn Birkenthal (Brevard North Carolina)
This Whitehouse lacks credibility to the point where I hold recurring doubt whether Trump actually submitted to the testing protocol. What an ugly self-realization, I’m wondering if a story carried by most national news outlets including NYT is fake news. Thanks President Trump, you’ve erased my once considerable faith in the federal government and you have me wondering if major news media adequately vet their reporting. Only He Can Do It !
Objectivist (Mass.)
Yawn. Never let a good crisis go to waste, right Charles ? Actions count more than words in the infectious disease field, and Trump's actions have been on the emark, as attested to by Fauci and others. Even Mr. Blow will be unable to cobble together a false narrative sufficiently believable to place blame on Trump for a faulty reagent from an external vendor causing delaays with test kit production. But he'll try.
roy brander (vancouver)
@Objectivist No, no, all those problems were far below the executive level. We're blaming Trump for insisting on a made-in-America test when a working one was already available sooner, and proven reliable. He rolled the dice that America could do a good test in one try, and lost the bet. Even if it had been reliable, he cost America time with that decision. In business, time is money. In epidemiology, time is lives. He wasted time. He wasted lives.
AT (Idaho)
Funny mr blow should mention families at the border. Does the left STILL think we should just throw the borders open and take care of everybody who shows up? No borders was never a good idea. It’s insane now.
Smilodon7 (Missouri)
Neither is letting them sit in crowded squalor on our border-if they get it there it will spread to Texas. Something more humane needs to be done than this.
Pilot (Medford Massachusetts)
The Emperor’s New clothes...
jt (Boston, MA)
Spot on...
gene (fl)
Its going to be even worse when he wins against lyin Biden.
mbrody (Frostbite Falls, MN)
Maybe if we had open borders and free medical care for illegal aliens it would not be so widespread in this country. If Trump had ordered 200,000 additional respirators in January (when he closed passenger service for all non- US citizens from China) Then Blow and cohorts would have shrieked he was using a false health care emergency to enrich pharma industry. What else can he be doing?
CR55 (Missouri)
"America needs a leader; it has a lout." That says it all.
peggy (nyc)
Each word/sentence penned by Mr. Blow is exquisitely precise.
Mikxe6 (San Diego)
Right on, Charles!
Martin (Chicago)
"Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job", Bush. "Trump, you're doing a heckuva job", Trump
Claire (D.C.)
Great article Mr. Blow. Unfortunately, there are still millions of people who believe in potus and think he's doing a great job. I just don't get it. I guess until they or someone close to them comes down with a severe case of COVID-19, lose their jobs, and/or lose money, they will blindly follow him.
SC Mac (Baltimore, MD)
Bravo Charles
Richard Pollock (Ontario , Canada)
Re: Deadly lack of Leadership I believed that I had read everything that could possibly be said on this all consuming virus, Even so, Charles Blow nailed it . Be it Biden or Sanders, to be heard, you need only read that piece aloud Putin’s trolls have no toxic elixir to offer in a pandemic because people look to leadership . What is the Achilles heel for President Trump? The inability to demonstrate true worthiness to be a President . The lout is out. Richard Pollock Windsor, Ontario [email protected]
Bernard Oliver (Baltimore Md)
Eloquently stated Mr. Blow, nothing left to say.
Muffles16 (Elizabeth NJ)
Amen. Amen. Amen.
tubs (chicago)
If the White House announced that Trump tested negative for the coronavirus we can be sure of only one thing. He tested positive. Why would anyone assume that at this particularly fraught moment something has changed there?
Lex (The Netherlands)
Wearing a hat with your own name on it says it all.
EllyNC (NC)
Who believes not only what he says but those around him? Whatever the test results were going to be we were going to be told “negative. “ He (in his own mind) is the greatest, the best , the highest of high. Never would he admit in his own cavalier attitude and habits he was infected.
WesternMass (Western Massachusetts)
I’m actually not even sure he really took the test!! I wonder if his mother ever read “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” to him when he was a kid.
Bob (Portland)
One big problem is that Trump's supporters that think the virus is all a media/Chinese/Democratic plot will not take warnings seriously & pay a heavy price. Nobody wants that. In the meantime states (governors) & cities (mayors) are leading the country. Trump is a distant follower.
Carl (KS)
We have Trump's word for it that he's not positive for the virus. That makes the odds maybe as high as 50-50 that he's clear.
John LeBaron (MA)
Whenever President Trump is tested for anything, the results are negative. Even in those rare instances when he makes a positive move, within hours he destroys whatever good he has done with unconscionable impulses and intemperant rants. Once again, global securities markets have resumed their downward spiral. The reasons are legion but Sunday's incomprehensibly public hint that Trump might dismiss or demote Fed Chair Jerome Powell helped worsen an already-bad case of market jitters. This carnage was exacerbated by Trump's gratuitously venemous rant against former President Obama, Hillary Clinton and the "fake" news media, demonstrating clearly that his limited capacity to focus is trained more upon wild conspiracy theory than on the pandemic at-hand. Now, with the president's spineless cronies embedded securely in senior administration posts and a feckless GOP in charge of the Senate, America will need to wait nearly a year to rid itself of its clear and present executive danger. Whether the nation can survive that long is anything but clear.
I just read a 17 year old's post on a neighborhood message board. She offered babysitting services while she is out of school. Why do people such as Mr Blow insist on highlighting all of the doom and gloom that is often out of our control when there are so many amazing people in our country doing small things that can make all the difference for a family?? Let's take time to highlight the ways that people are coming together to help each other during this time rather than complain!
CastleMan (Colorado)
Yes, Trump is a significant contributor to our problems of national denial of reality, a.k.a. ignorance and arrogance. But he is also a symptom. For my entire adult life - since 1981 - I have seen this nation fall farther and farther into the Alice in Wonderland world in which religious dogma, conspiracy theories, plutocracy worship, and rejection of science dominates the Republican party and, for 23 of those 39 years, the White House. Even when the GOP hasn't held the White House, its collective insanity, fed by the liars and charlatans on Fox, AM radio, and right-wing websites, and its control of Congress between 1995-2007 and 2011-2019 has prevented Democratic administrations from making any significant course correction from the destructive path we've been on since the election of Ronald Reagan. It began with the economy, where antitrust was tossed aside and monopolization encouraged. It spread to the courts, where "original intent" has weaponized the First Amendment to prevent anti-corruption laws and encouraged a plutocracy, and then to the agencies, where anti-science dogma has dangerously delayed a policy response to climate change. Now we see it in public health matters, where overt ignorance is being demonstrated at the same time as a nascent pandemic by elected Republican officials. The country's politics have been broken for a long time. Its institutions are not much healthier. This crisis might be the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. Wake up, US.
runaway (somewhere in the desert)
An excellent column, Mr Blow, but I dunno. He fools far too many of the people far too much of the time. This country fell in love with loud mouth know nothings far before Trump. Try talk radio or sports talk, reality TV or social media. The spewing of ignorance by big personalities has been a large part of our culture for decades. Finally, we chose a carnival barker for the largest stage in the world. We are shocked, shocked to find that he doesn't know anything about anything.
Stephen Merritt (Gainesville)
Wait for more conspiracy claims from Donald Trump after the Democratic nominee is chosen, if it looks as if the polls are favoring Donald Trump's opponent.
Terry Lowman (Ames, Iowa)
I was hoping you could do a oped telling us what Obama would do (and what he did do with H1N1, MERS and Ebola) and contrast it with what Trump has done. Obviously, Trump was will to trade our lives for his money--which what he keeps talking about. For all his love of money. he doesn't seem to understand that dropping the Fed interest rates to near zero is not bullish--it's a sign of ominous things to come.
Rick Morris (Montreal)
Trump's performance since the crisis began borders on criminal. His craven disregard for testing to keep the numbers 'low' will directly lead to needless deaths. His boasting that there was nothing wrong led to false sense of security that has exacerbated the spread of Covid-19. When his Presidency mercifully ends, he should be charged with manslaughter.
Steve Beck (Middlebury, VT)
My wife said to me last week one evening that she is not sure how she feels. I guess she has a "head full of quandary" as Joni Mitchell sang. We talked about it a bit, and she realized that this is probably worse than how she felt after 9.11 and I think Mr. Blow used the correct words. And I do think it is intimate, I really like that. Moi? How do I feel? I know exactly how I feel and my rage is directed at the Republican Party and all Trump voters, two in particular: my wife's BFF and her younger brother. I have removed all vestiges of one from my life and will limit family time with the other. It is depressing really, how intimate it is.
Concerned (Michigan)
No one is saying that Trump created the virus. Surely, he did not! The issue is his handling or lack thereof of the situation. I am not a Republican, but I have always respected past Republican presidents, as they warranted much. Trump is of a different caliber. He is for himself and those who worship him. This is alarming because he is the President all Americans--those who like him and those who do not!
K. (Ohio)
I find your columns quite predictable and this one is more of the same. In these uncertain times maybe you should take a break and call for leadership across the political spectrum rather than more Trump hate. It really is an extraordinary time and as a political agnostic I hope and pray that leadership steps up. This type of column does nothing but stir more animosity. Sorry but not needed at this time.
Ole Fart (La,In, Ks, Id.,Ca.)
I honestly think if republicans (McConnell) had done their job and dismissed Trump in the impeachment trial lives would have been saved. As much as I disagree with Pence, his behavior during this crisis is somehow reassuring. Perhaps in part, because it shows carefulness and earnest effort to address our peril. With 45 we have a crazed ego, raging in the WH, many of his minions like Nunes telling people to go to eat, party, etc. Behavior that endangers us all, not just them. Is fox finally getting it's journalistic act together on this? I feel like we're all that victim Trump claimed he could shoot in broad daylight in NYC and nothing would happen to him.
DebbieR (Brookline, MA)
The picture accompanying this piece - of Trump's baseball hat that he wore to the conference - emblazoned with "Trump" on the rear (and "USA" on the front) - really says it all. What kind of leader constantly wears clothing touting his own brand - and to a news conference about the corona virus crisis no less? Mick Mulvaney told us that Trump still considers himself to be in the hospitality business, but in fact, Trump is really in the marketing business - and what he markets is the Trump brand. That is what excels at - that is ALL he excels at. Is there any doubt that any other world leader to appear in a similarly branded article of clothing to answer questions at a press conference would be regarded as a narcissistic megalomaniac? Every day I wonder when the veil is going to fall from Trump supporters' eyes and they start seeing him for the empty suit he is.
William Whitaker (Ft. Lauderdale)
If we needed this virus and the impending recession it is going to cause to get rid of Donald Trump in November, then it was worth it.
Big Text (Dallas)
"I take no responsibility." (Yes, he actually said it!)
EllyNC (NC)
Can you imagine we pondered and pondered and banged our heads against the walls to see what would people listen to and believe about our president proving he is not doing the best for us. One simple word. “Science “ yes his ignorance of, disdain for, lack of understanding and acceptance of Science. Along with the republicans. It comes down to something so indisputable as science and facts which can’t be explained away. Not if you are sound mind.
LArs (NYC)
This opinion is based on the assumption that national leadership can influence the spread of Covid-19 The evidence is that it can not. We now have data from Europe From LeMonde, today "The exponential increase of the coronavirus epidemic in France has so far not changed an iota despite measures adopted gradually over the past two weeks. The number of cases identified was 4500 on Saturday evening according to the Director General of Health, Prof. Jérôme Salomon, specifying that the rate remained doubling every 72 hours. This actually means that the epidemic remains on its natural rhythm." https://www.lefigaro.fr/sciences/coronavirus-la-trajectoire-exponentielle-de-l-epidemie-ne-montre-aucun-signe-de-ralentissement-20200315 France is a highly centralized country under the leadership of the decisive and educate Mr. Macron Neither has exponential increase slowed down in Italy, in spite of extreme measures. See the data in LeMonde
Howard Herman (Skokie, Illinois)
When did President Trump ever show any true leadership?
East Ender (Sag Harbor)
Trump believes that if his assertions are emphatic enough or loud enough or repetitive enough, the truth will bend to his will. And of course, that we will believe his lies, his obfuscations and his manipulations. We see right through him. We see his incompetence, his ineptitude. We see his cowardice and now, we see his fear. I only wish those who follow him, like ticks on deer, will catch up soon.
Wolf Kirchmeir (Blind River, Ontario)
Just did some statistics, using numbers form Ontario's covid-19 information site, updated this morning https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus#section-0 Population of Ontario: 13,000,000 Tested, not infected: 8464 Testing (waiting for results): 1537 Total tested/testing:10,001 Infected: 172 Resolved: 5 Deaths: 0 Ontario, like the rest of the West, wasted about two months shrugging off covid-19 as a purely Chinese problem. Serious testing did not start until the end of February. Almsot all infected cases are returned travellers, or people in close contact with them. "Community transmission" is at present very low, but expected to increase rapidly. I expect reports of the first deaths in the next 24-48 hours. USA: 327,000,000, about 25 times that of Ontario. Assuming similar response to covid-19, and similar infection and transmission rates, we should see numbers like the following in the the USA. Tested/testing: 250,000 Actual: unknown Infected: 4,300 Actual: unknown Resolved: 125 Actual: Unknown Deaths: ? Documented 69, actual unknown. For those who wish to follow the worldwide statistics, Johns Hopkins University has a website. Because the data are of varying reliability and timing, the numbers are in my opinion understated. https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6
TimesChat (NC)
We've come a long way from Harry Truman's "The buck stops here" to Donald Trump's "No, I don't take responsibility at all." The effect has not been salutary.
Richard Hutton (Nelson, B.C., Canada)
The poor, poor USA. Thousands of Americans will needlessly die because their President listens to no one but his own gut. And he only has the knowledge of a fourth grader. He ignores scientists, doctors and other experts only to blurt out his ignorant comments. Worst president in any country of the modern world by orders of magnitude.
stefanie (santa fe nm)
We can only hope there will be enough of a scar on the US voters' psyches that they vote every GOP including the Liar/Denier in Chief out in November
J (The Great Flyover)
It’s happening...this guy’s incompetence is going to kill a lot of people...and there’s 233 days left til November 3. Then, even if he loses, he’ll have 78 days to burn what’s left of America to the ground before he’s dragged from the White House.
Paul C Hsieh (Walnut Creek, CA.)
Trump is a fraud... and he makes all those surround him the same... just hear when PENCE talks... his standard opening remarks would be how great his boss was... I am sorry for America...
teach (western mass)
A pox upon your house, Trump. Not ours.
Cara (Halfmoon Bay)
if you deleted all the self-contratulatory remarks that djt makes, if you deleted the lies and exaggerations and half-truths, if you deleted the complete ignorance he displays about science or medicine, if you deleted his slurring sloppy endings of "god blesh amerca" there would be nothing to hear. But since rallies are now cancelled, be prepared for many more Rose Garden appearances to soothe his ego.
Diogenes (San Diego, CA)
After a while some might feel sorry for the guy. He knows he's in over his head.
Dion Rumsey (New York City)
👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 Three claps for writing what many of us New Yorkers have known about him for over 30 years. He is a fraud, a huckster and classless buffoon who takes credit for the positive and throws the innocent under the bus when it’s bad. If there was an episode that deserves impeachment, it is his mishandling of the pandemic.
99percent (downtown)
Opinion columnist Charles Blow hates Trump: every single column is full biased nasty invectives, such as today's: "America needs a leader; it has a lout." (an uncouth and aggressive man or boy.) Trump has taken unprecedented leadership with/against China. Twenty years ago, China's GDP was 1/9 of US GDP; during the Obama administrations, it leaped up to over 75% of US GDP, in part by taking advantage of unwitting leadership. NO MORE! Trump's leadership vis a vis China has been criticized, even ridiculed, by Mainstream Media. Yet he is well on the way to generational-level achievements. The Wuhan Coronavirus must be viewed through that context. Trump cancelled all travel to/from China within weeks of the outbreak in China - well before Mainstream Media understood the situation, yet MM chastised him for it. Since then , Mainstream Media has and is ramping up the virus to be the political focal point of the 2020 election. It is grotesque what Mr. Blow and the NYT and WAPO editorial boards are doing, and CNN/MSNBC's fear-mongering and distortion are sinful. At least Trump calls it what it is: a virus originating in China (from eating bats and snakes and dogs!) - yet Mainstream Media won't even say that anymore because "it's racist and insensitive" (even though they did in the beginning). Shame on the media!
Ben (Davis, CA)
Trump has botched the response to Hurricane Maria; very nearly caused the start of WWIII to distract the people from his impeachment proceedings, and now his ineptitude and narcissism got us a very delayed response in which the Federal government distributed flawed virus tests and made fun of the threat, calling it a hoax of the fake media. He said that he could shoot someone in the middle of fifth avenue and not lose a single voter. I am sure that he is causing the death of countless people, and still, he will not lose a voter, except for those that will perish because of his stupidity.
Dante (Virginia)
Sorry Charles. Sound like you are politicizing this virus. Let's work towards solutions. Trump is a horrible communicator but it does not make him responsible for the virus. Let's stay focused on solutions which will most likely come from those evil and dastardly drug companies!
Paul (Canada)
"The constant attempt to shift blame and accept none is a serious character flaw and the mark of a coward. The constant shadow boxing with the ghost of President Barack Obama is embarrassingly consuming. And his need to be endlessly exalted is disturbing." Most accurate description I have read about this man-child. Congratulations Mr. Blow
Mary Elizabeth Lease (Eastern Oregon)
an excess of deadly leadership
M (CA)
Same story, different headline. It's his skin color that bothers you most.
Cousin Greg (Waystar Royco)
@M Actually it sounds a lot more like it's Charles Blow's skin color that bothers *you.*
Chris Lindley (North Carolina)
I blame Trump for the desperation of those Americans who are living with tremendous anxiety because we’re sick and can’t get tested. Trump had the opportunity to get test kits from WHO and didn’t. His colossal lack of concern and leadership is criminal. People will die because of his fragile ego and ignorance.
btrack (SB ca)
but hey, lets buy the dip! And thank god we didn't restrict payday loan rates, because they arent price gougeing the desparate they provide a service. And think of the disressed real estate we can scoop up when all the service people in the country get laid off. and it is such an smergency we have to close this paper. sorry just wondering
Invincible Sun (UT)
I believe this time Trump's shield of invincibility has gotten a few cracks. I see doubt on the faces of a few hard core Trump supporters I know at work. Some of them are finally seeing this pathetic man for what he truly is: a clownish facade, devoid of substance and incapable of emoting and relating to any type of human suffering. I truly think his Presidency is virtually over. This is the week that killed it.
Bill L (Connecticut)
This column articulates well the shortcomings of trump. He is a horrible person, and horrible at doing this job. As annoying, irritating and disappointing as he has been up to this point, this is different. His incompetence, dishonesty, and self-congratulation in this time of crisis has made me angry, truly angry. For those who defend him, for those who excuse his utter failure in office, I'm begging you to look inside yourselves and ask why. Why defend and enable such a travesty, for which America is paying such a steep price?
DK (Boston)
Where are the test kits?? This negligent lack of government preparedness is criminal. Out with the lout!
Lawrence Grant (New York)
“America needs a leader; it has a lout.” Love it!
Bunbury (Florida)
Trump lives in a universe which revolves around him. Aside from his moonlet children the rest of us are just space dust.
Kevin C. (Oregon)
"Democrat hoax!" "I take no responsibility at all." This is Trump's Chernobyl.
J.R.B. (Southwest AR)
I've started watching Joe Biden recently. He is stepping up before the public projecting a gravitas, calm and thoughtful responses, showing concern for a fractured America at a time it's facing a major (and potentially international) viral pandemic which is having a devastating economic effect domestically and internationally. After three and a half years, I'm reminded of what a President of the United States has been and should be: a leader in good times as well as bad, who seeks to unite people instead of divide and mislead them and lie to them. It's a stark contrast to the one who currently occupies the chair, rides with his buddies on AF One, plays a lot of golf and vacations a lot, and otherwise watches the news and Twitter rants and bashes.
Anna (Germany ç)
His supporters don't care. For them it's clown time. He is so funny. Experts are elitists. His supporters believe in Fox and hate mongering Evangelicals. I suppose they still prefer a doctor to a priest, but it's probably close.
mstar (Calif)
Ahh, Mr. Blow if only you were currently President. The virus is disturbing enough, but the utter corruptness and greed of the current Executive Branch makes it vastly more frightening.
Peter (MASS)
Listen in these times no matter our side, were we are political we are at the end of the day Americans first and foremost, We have done more than most nationals because of our character. I am personally tired of the attacks on this President I didn't believe in the administration of Obama, but I always respected him. Time to change the way we are doing things politically or we when not be relative anymore.
Brad Blumenstock (St. Louis)
Sorry, our current President was not worthy of anyone's respect before this crisis even began. Why are you making excuses for his pathetic leadership?
Spartan (Seattle)
@Peter Count me out. To me, and I'm possibly not alone, Trump is not a President he is a crook, and the criminals around him are his accomplices. He, therefore, doesn't get the deference reserved for government leaders. How you can compare Obama to Trump with what I assume is a straight face is beyond me. Trump is the clear and present danger to our country. Far more dangerous than a virus. So ridding this country of him and his accomplices is the objective.
Joe Rockbottom (California)
@Peter "...tired of the attacks on this President I didn't believe in the administration of Obama, but I always respected him." I cannot respect a sociopath who has been proven to have lied to me over 16,000 times in the last 3 years. And he is lying every day now. EVERY DAY. Trump will NEVER have the respect of any normal person.
Pia (Las Cruces NM)
Publish the test result.
Louie (Calitfornia)
America under Trump: Death by a thousand cuts.
Cindy Mackie (ME)
He said he got tested. I don’t believe a word out of his mouth or from anyone in his administration. They are so dishonest and corrupt.
Gustav Aschenbach (Venice)
@Cindy Mackie Perhaps he was afraid he'd fail that test, too.
Mark Paskal (Sydney, Australia)
Millions of Americans voted for a person unfit to hold public office. They took out their frustrations and disillusionment by voting for a clown. They thought it might be entertaining to see a developer and reality-TV personality stick it to "the establishment." They cheered as this ignorant oaf lied, grandstanded and dismantled many of our time-honoured institutions. Who needs the rule of law? The separation of powers? Basic decency? So now many of Trump's "base" will fall ill and die. Such is life.
Eric (Chico, Ca)
Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that read "The buck stops here." What would he think of a President who takes responsibility for nothing that does not fuel his psychotic need for self-aggrandizement? More distressing is how on God's Earth anyone takes this buffoon seriously anymore. Great piece, Mr. Blow. I hope some trumpies read it.
Steve Griffith (Oakland, CA)
Trump, his cronies, enablers and supporters have plagued our houses with all manner of viruses over the last three-plus years—the viral infections of everything from sexism and misogyny to racism and xenophobia. Although they may not be the direct cause of it, I suppose it was only a matter of time before their boneheaded selfishness, incompetence and Neanderthal narcissism exacerbated and led to the viral health crisis in which we now find ourselves. After abusing and insulting our closest allies, including Germany, we learn that Trump offered a “large sum” of money to a German biotechnology firm for exclusive American rights to their vaccine. No wonder Germany is telling Trump and, by extension, the rest of us to stuff it. This is what happens when Trump blusters and brays at our one-time friends when we suddenly need help. His endless loop of stupidity and myopic, misanthropic worldview once again leaves us high and dry.
Dr. Andrew R (NYC)
To echo my earlier thoughts: Trump and his minions can classify this as a Chinese virus and so on but what are his solutions? An incoherent speech from the Oval Office and most tellingly a germphobe who during Friday’s pressure was shaking hands and rubbing his eyes and nose repeatedly. Of course we can wish this away and wait for warm weather to kill it. And here I thought magical thinking and believing in dragons and such stopped at about age 4.
Diego (NYC)
40% of Americans are convinced that Trump is doing a great job, the best job, the most perfect job against this Democrat virus hoax.
Paula (Sydney, Australia)
"The constant shadow boxing with the ghost of President Barack Obama is embarrassingly consuming." Too true.
Gary Valan (Oakland, CA)
I don't know about you all but I am eating a lot of garlic and will hang garlic pods outside my front door. I am getting excellent social distancing! no one will come within a few feet from me and the vampires, including Trump, his son-in-law whatshisface and Miller, will stay clear. If it was good enough for the plague, its good enough to keep the naysayers at bay. I don't know about the coronavirus but will report back soon. PS: Garlic in Chinese, Indian and Italian food is awesome... Sorry to be facetious but I need a moment of levity in the face of all this extreme stupidity.
George (NYC)
How does one lead Mr Blow against a virus when the medical profession has no better solution then to tell people to wash their hands?
Gustav Aschenbach (Venice)
@George If by "medical profession" you mean Fox/Pravda and trump, then yes, that is their only solution. Doctors, however, have more to say.
Christy (WA)
Deadly he is, for the nation. Every time Trump lies or pats himself on the back for minimizing or mishandling this national health crisis he is killing Americans. And every time his Senate enablers and Fox News propagandists let him get away with it they are killing Americans. When will they realize the folly of letting him continue his murderous reign and invoke Article 25?
Steve Ell (Burlington, VT)
His behavior is criminal. He has betrayed his country and it’s citizens.
James (Hilliard, Ohio)
Trump supporters thought they were electing a leader instead they got the Fyre Festival.
Des Johnson (Forest Hills NY)
Someone in Trump's gang has an eye on the main "thing": the election in November. The German paper, Die Welt, reports that Angela Merkel is highly incensed by Trump's attempt to buy an exclusive right to a vaccine now under development in Germany:(https://www.welt.de/wirtschaft/article206555143/Corona-USA-will-Zugriff-auf-deutsche-Impfstoff-Firma.html) and (Le Monde.fr
Chelle (USA)
His incompetence and mendacity will literally cost lives. The GOP had the opportunity recently rid the country of this conman. They refused. They, too, are guilty.
Confused (Atlanta)
Mr. Blow, we’re you the very first voice to suggest that the US cut off air travel with China. End of discussion!
Sian Perry (Virgin Islands)
“America needs a leader; it has a lout.” And there we have it. Poetically said.
RjW (Chicago)
This is what “ no government “ looks like. Congrats to Republicans and the other nihilist hyper individualist groups. You’ll now get what you wanted. How’s it look? How’s it workin out for ya.
churinl (Princeton, NJ)
It is time to utilize the 25th Amendment.
Tankylosaur (Princeton)
Who says Trump was negative for COVFEFE-19? His "doctor"? Just as likely, he is in fact Positive. We can only hope. He and his minions are packing our courts (as per accompanying NYT articles) so we have no justice available. He now wants stock prices to drop so he can buy at the bottom. When he finally must go into hiding, where will he seek refuge? Russia? Alabama?
Lane (Riverbank ca)
This weekend at a supermarket parking lot I saw a hoarder with a SUV packed full with toilet paper and napkins. It was repulsive to see...as is the Monday morning quarterbacking in this piece...leftist seeking political gain/advantage when it is imperative we all come together and do what we are able to do to help.
Jill (SC)
If your leaders lie, where do you turn for fact-based information on what to do to protect yourself and others? This is the sad state we are in for electing a serial liar.
Ron (Houston)
I could not have said it better. Thank you! We will overcome this. The cost will be significantly greater because of his incompetence, arrogance, impudence, lack of empathy, stupidity, disdain for others, megalomania, ad infinitum. I do, however, believe the result of all of this will be his defeat in November. I take comfort in that.
Mike (Winnipeg)
A Deadly Lack of Leadership; because Trump is unwilling to accept the full reality of coronavirus. "I reject your reality and substitute my own" - @realdonaldtrump
Tim H. (Flourtown PA)
This is what happens when you have an electoral system that awards the individual votes of the uneducated willfully ignorant backwater populous of rural America with far greater weight than those of us that live in urban areas. How about one person, one vote all counting equally. No way that the star of “The red neck ice bucket challenge” https://youtu.be/xnP_F_7cOl4 vote should count for more than mine. Sorry but it’s wrong.
Ralph (San Jose)
Bingo, Charles. Does anyone need any further proof that Trump is lying almost continuously, regardless of the circumstances? It is scary, but our President is a criminal con artist.
Dra (Md)
“It’s gross.” That says it all.
Songsfrown (Fennario)
Charles misses the mark to blame the Impotus. This is the logical culmination of decades of allowing a scatological death cult acting as an organized criminal gang to have responsibility for governing. This is what empowering domestic terrorists to use all of the tools of the formerly greatest nation on the planet and the most noble experiment in the history of humanity looks like. The only way to deal with it is to remove all republicans (by the ballot box) from office come November. We will survive. 2020 Rdin' with Biden 2021 Truth and Reconciliation - Co chairs, Kamala Harris and Val Demmings.
Pandora (IL)
We elected a hyena to lead a group focused solely on money and hate of everything else. Including us.
Moe, Larry, And Joe Besser (USA)
Congratulations Don! Your name is on every headline around the world. Maybe one day your picture will be in every post office,
Mandrake (New York)
Self praise is no praise.
Jim Anderson (Bethesda, MD)
"The constant attempt to shift blame and accept none is a serious character flaw and the mark of a coward. The constant shadow boxing with the ghost of President Barack Obama is embarrassingly consuming. And his need to be endlessly exalted is disturbing." Well said, Mr. Blow.
Harbo (Australia)
Trump’s favourite piece of furniture? A mirror
Pia (Las Cruces NM)
@Harbo Favorite object.
S Norris (London)
You say nothing about Mitch McConnell leaving town in the midst of all this....
bike fan (NYC)
I feel like we're at war but it's being fought at the local level while at a national level they're dear leader is trying to figure out how he and his contributors can profit from this tragedy. You can bet he's looking for the construction company who gives him the biggest contribution to bid on the contract for mass graves.
Ben (Florida)
Here is a story which bothers me. I don’t know where else to tell it. A few weeks ago I went over to a good friend of mine’s home. I haven’t been there in over a year because I don’t get along with her boyfriend who moved in (I’m married, it is my wife’s best friend, and she can’t even talk to the guy). I get stuck with him. He has pro-Trump memorabilia around. Me and him haven’t ever discussed politics, but I know his girlfriend hates Trump. I don’t say anything. He takes me on a tour of “his” house (really my friend’s house which has been adjusted to host his family) and into one of his son’s (there are two living there) bedrooms. There are model airplanes and cars everywhere. There is a model of the Red Baron’s WWI biplane I notice, and his son says “My dad says we need to get rid of that one because it is Nazi.” I look at his dad, who is looking sheepish. I say, “Don’t worry, that is a German plane, but it isn’t Nazi. It’s the Red Baron’s plane from WWI.” The kid turns out to be a bit of prodigy, surprisingly, and ponders for a moment before saying “Yeah, the Nazis didn’t take over Germany until the 30s so they weren’t in charge then.” But why did that guy have what he thought was a Nazi model in his son’s bedroom? Why did I not know he was a Trump fan? And what is he doing in my friend’s house?
Peter (Hampton,NH)
Is there a concept of journalistic leadership? Mr. Blow might consider the fact that our president and vice president have not done absolutely everything wrong , have they? President Trump congratulates himself constantly for several reasons---(1) No effective journalists or other liberal Democrats will---(2) Trump's braggadocio gains free media time for his reelection campaign and policy announcements, and (3) It helps Mr. Blow and the NYT to sell papers and digital news time and money (Paradoxical intention?)
Pat (Iowa)
This is what happens when the country elects a narcissistic, incompetent reality TV star president. Way to go trump supporters.
anne from france (france)
I'm in France. You all need to stay home. Seriously.
Gregory West (Brandenburg, Ky.)
The Walter Cronkite Republican has previously noted that the wannabe emperor has no clothes.
Trump's personality, history, accomplishments and opinions have always been in the public record - often front page news. He was a known commodity. He has been consistent over the years. He got 63 M voters. He was not your choice. You and other pundit predicts with certainty on election night he had no path to victory. You have no credibility. He was legally elected. You were not. You are self-appointed . Stop complaining and use the political system to get what you want and stop whining. Grow up ..this is a democracy and you votes and lost. Get over it.
Robert L. (RI)
and when PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor asked trump about the shutdown of a pandemic response unit in 2018 he called it a nasty question...and then blamed the shutdown on others. The question was never answered... The very appropriate question was never answered. Today in this time of a pandemic ; with trump as our leader and chief... the question as to why the PANNDEMIC RESPONSE UNIT was shut down remains unanswered... Please Yamiche Alcindor and Mr. Charles Blow and all the free press keep asking the Nasty Questions !
jjllss33 (nj)
Trump from a serious "i" disease: ignorance, incompetence and a negative IQ.
Mary Ann (Eureka CA)
And while this coward bungles one of the greatest crises this country has ever faced, he speaks of pardoning Michael Flynn.
Alois vom Lugers (southern Wisconsin)
Mr. Blow: My hat is off to you. Beautifully written, straight to the point, brilliant. If I could I would award you a Pulitzer Prize for this shining example of editorializing at its best.
shstl (MO)
I didn't think my disgust for Trump could rise any further, but his behavior during this virus has pushed it off the charts! And NOW, what does the White House have the gall to say?? In response to last night's debate.... "...Bernie and Biden offered little more than plagiarizing President Trump's response, which will now be the model for all future pandemics." A MODEL FOR ALL FUTURE PANDEMICS?!?! Are they insane?!
Sandra Mason (Edmonton, Alberta)
Your president has followers who are still strongly supporting him, according to a call-in radio program I listened to yesterday. As a Canadian, I continue to be amazed at how he maintains support and the handling of this major public health pandemic adds to my amazement!
Mikem (Highland Park)
Charles, I haven't always agreed with your point of view but this time you hit the nail right on the head. It's somewhat disappointing that Trumps test was negative. A positive would have been poetic justice.
Denis (Brussels)
It's something that could not be said of any other leader in the world, but if this tragic crisis results in Trump losing in November, it may go down in history as a positive turning-point. Trump is literally that bad. I don't worry (so much) about his terrible personal traits, but about the disastrous impact his presidency is having on the environment (destroying the EPA), the climate (withdrawing from Paris agreement), inequality and poverty (tax breaks for the rich at the expense of the poor), world peace (upending the careful negotiations of decades of expert diplomats), justice (filling courts with ideological appointments who will vote "loyally" regardless of the legal arguments. It is terrible that it may take a global tragedy to help people realise what an utterly awful leader he is, but maybe it will help prevent even greater tragedies that would inevitably result from another 4 years of his "leadership" ...
hen3ry (Westchester, NY)
Too bad the GOP and Trump don't understand science or medicine. Here's a clue: germs don't care about social status, skin color, intelligence, honesty, piety, etc. All germs care about is finding a host to live in, off of, etc. Therefore none of us, including the GOP and Trump, are safe from germs and their interest in finding hosts. 3/15/2020 9:34pm first submit
Pia (Las Cruces NM)
He promised to dismantle and disrupt. This, he achieved. He promised to "shake things up". This, he achieved. It's hard to surpass death due to dereliction of duty. For that, I give thanks.
Grant (Boston)
Charles Blow reveals his true color. Crisis, real and imagined, allows character to rise to the surface. Blame shifting is the foundation of the coward. Unity, calm, and reassurance are the hallmarks of leadership and necessary to uplift and unify collective will and strength to persevere. Blow, instead, resorts to the behaviors of other members of his Party, most notably Biden and Sanders, imaginary leaders pushing the panic button with repeated blame shifting while turning their backs and running from a simple handshake to promote fear. How pathetic.
Jack Noon (Halifax)
Grant, you’re on the wrong site. Fox is your natural home. Trump always blames others for his misdeeds, lies and miscalculations. Always.
Phil (Athens, Ga)
@Grant "Blame shifting." Have you listened to Trump?
B Wright (Vancouver)
Congratulations Trump you have just guaranteed a large pandemic outbreak, and the deaths to follow.
John Valentine (Memphis)
I just hope every person who voted for this man will finally realized the danger they put this country in. How they mortgaged our future and well being to turn back the reality that many Americans, including white ones, realized an African-American man was the best man to lead a nation that had spent over two hundred years promoting racism and white supremacy. Now that their lives and the lives of their children are seriously at stake will they continue to believe that a corrupt, dishonest, and racist white man is a better leader than bright, dedicated, and devoted women or people of color? I think finally we may be realizing that viruses and diseases know no color and will strike anyone simply because we're all human. Maybe we'll be better people and a better nation when we come out on the other side of this. I certainly hope so.
Michael Livingston’s (Cheltenham PA)
People who just attack Trump are no longer relevant now.
Cousin Greg (Waystar Royco)
@Michael Livingston’s Charles Blow made a substantiated argument. You did not. It's the people who reflexively defend this colossal failure of a president (and a human being) who are no longer relevant. And they never were, but the Electoral College let them win on a technicality.
PhillyBurbs (Suburbs of Philadelphia)
Trump needs to be censured. It can be done.
Drusilla Hawke (Kennesaw, Georgia)
I’m sure the White House has plenty of toilet paper. Maybe trump would consider tossing the masses some rolls from the safety of the Truman Balcony—a reminder, as if we ever needed it, that trump is no true man.
ER (Chicago)
Love this! Can just picture it!😊
Markymark (San Francisco)
I take no responsibility, said our president. Famous last words.
GJ (Fresno, CA)
Trump - ever the petulant man-child is himself simply incapable, and at all times, completely enabled by Mitch McConnell and the GOP. The latter absent for the weekend, too busy with breaktime to attend the nation’s health. Oh, and then there’s daffy Devin Nunes, the California Congressman, efervescente Trump cheerleader on Fox News encouraging fellow citizens to head to the pubs to congregate. Astonishing! Survivors, let’s be sure to reunite in November and turn these louts, every last one of them, out!
alan (MA)
President Trump is a great Leader...…...of praising Donald Trump's "perfect" actions. Too bad that is the opposite of what Our Country is in need of to fight Covid-19.
William Dufort (Montreal)
"According to the German newspaper Die Welt am Sonntag, which first reported the story on Sunday, Mr. Trump offered CureVac roughly $1 billion in exchange for exclusive access to the vaccine. " This is taken from another front-page story of the NYTimes. Trump is not only a failed leader, he has demonstrated, over and over again that he cannot be trusted with anything, anywhere. Here in Canada, it is reported that Justin Trudeau is resisting calls to close the border to all visitors (since all Canadians returning home must be quarantined for 14 day), because he fears that Trump might consider such a measure as a personal slight and could, in pure spite, shut off the flow of essential merchandise, such as food and medicine entering Canada. Let that sink in for a minute. Trump is as despised in the rest of the world as he is in most of America. And he is a present danger to all, his clueless base included.
TRS (Boise)
This is all you need to know: His first responses were it's a hoax, then a Democrat ploy. His next statements were that it's going to go away, that warm weather cures it, and the best way to get rid of it is to return to work. He then double-downed on the Democrat hoax, still being played by Hannity and Limbaugh ... and here we are. Endangering the health of his own citizens is his most impeachable offense yet.
MarkH (Los Angeles, CA)
The way we’s tried by sycophants when he gives press briefings reminds me of a mother duck waddling leading a line of baby ducks. How can these guys not be embarrassed by having to fall in line for Trump’s shows. Is he afraid he might be called on to provide a substantive answer to a question? And what about his wearing a baseball hat these days? Will he next start carrying golf clubs to interviews?
Bronwyn (Montpelier, VT)
The terrible result is that his millions of cultist followers are taking his "hoax" accusation seriously despite the declaration of a national emergency. Just yesterday I heard a man in rural Vermont say that the virus is a liberal hoax. A friend told me that when he went into a bar and asked for Purell, a fellow at the bar said, "you don't believe that s...t, do you?" Devin Nunes told people to go out to restaurants. In New Orleans, Bourbon Street is one big crowded party, while the airports have people crammed together, waiting for hours for re-entry. Meanwhile, in Italy, the death rate is around 7%. I wonder how all these people will feel when their friends and family members get sick and die, or they get sick themselves.
Hunter Gatherer (CA)
Trump's got to go. Now.
Tom Sullivan (Encinitas, CA)
It's never a good thing for the American president to be an ignorant narcissist, even in the best of times. These are not the best of times. I sincerely hope that enough people will act accordingly in November, specifically, enough of the right people in the right places, given the anachronistic Electoral College. Like so many other "warts" blemishing American History, the Trump legacy will endure. All that remains for us to do is to minimize the damage by limiting him to one disgraceful term.
Tom (New York)
Well done, spot on!
Tim Lynch (Philadelphia, PA)
Three things: He said he was tested. He said the test was negative. He is a pathological liar. Nothing can be trusted out of his mouth. He is obviously,despite Pence's endless homage to him, a non-factor in this situation. He is shot,his mind is gone,the meltdown is complete. All the experts ,thankfully, ignore his and his "in-law cabinet's "suggestions, and take charge of the situation. The deep state is showing its mettle and he is proving he has none.
Maureen (Boston)
I don't believe for a single minute that he was tested. We may be facing the biggest, most widespread crisis this country has faced since WWII, and we have a narcissistic clown in the WH. I am furious at my fellow Americans who put him there, and the entire, pathetic GOP who has enabled him. After this passes, people need to be held accountable. Did the "administration" hold up obtaining tests so someone in the Trump family could profit from them?
nzierler (New Hartford NY)
Trump congratulates himself because he is a textbook sociopath, defined as a person who lacks the capacity to empathize with the suffering of others and believes he is infallible. We need leadership desperately and instead we are getting the tiresome self promotion of a shallow, self-absorbed mind.
Enrique Puertos (Cleveland, Georgia)
Trump, with his infinite wisdom, made a colossal miscalculation when he thought he could downplay the Coronavirus crisis or call it a hoax. He was able to convince his supporters that this was no different than the flu and they bought it. Instead of focusing and preparing for this deadly virus, he chose to concern himself with trying to get re-elected in November. That only worked for a few weeks. As things continued to deteriorate, it became more and more evident that he either lacked the mental capacity to understand the gravity of the situation or he simply didn’t care. Perhaps if he had approached this as a public health threat instead of a re-election threat, we would have less to worry about. Perhaps if he stoped reminding us how he has everything under control we would be less worried. It is ironic that every time he tries to influence the stock market it seems to make things worse. Maybe the stock market is trying to say, it is not the economy stupid.
Angela (Aiken SC)
Charles, your articles are always spot on. You are absolutely right - it's gross - he's gross. Angela Bari
Trump must be removed from office ,even the desperate moves by the FED to save his precious stock market to help his re-election may fail. If the economy heads downhill there is no reason to keep a lying blowhard carnival clown in power as amusing as he is let him go back to TV reality show lets make a deal !
DMT (Out West)
This is the inevitable result when you have a fool for a president like trump. He never had any of the skills or intelligence necessary to take on such an important job. And now, for this, many Americans will die and American life as we've known it may never be the same.
Max duPont (NYC)
This president is symptomatic of America which is prone to self-aggrandizing delusion. While we spend 800 billion dollars and are prepared to start a war of aggression against a weaker and poorer nation at as moments notice, we are totally unprepared and impotent to protect ourselves against a virus. Shame on us!
Matt Rockefeller (Braintree)
@Max duPont is correctly frustrated and embarrassed about the country's leadership. The only solution would be to organize the people to throw out the bums. That and getting out from under the pandemic would take a little while.
Jane (Cambridge)
Thank you, thank you, Charles Blow. You for a long time have been the belllwether. Your comments have given heart to many. Your commentary is so clear and cogent that I don't groan or weep in sympathy: I raise a fist to the sky and say "No more."
Emily (NY)
Given the whole rest of the article, how can Charles Blow write "He finally got tested, and the results were negative." It should have read: "He is finally said to have gotten tested, and the results were reported to be negative."
Been There (U.S. Courts)
There will be many innocent victims who will die unnecessarily because of Trump's corruption and incompetence. But their surviving families can take some consolation from knowing that many of the racist white old men who empowered Trump will be among the deceased.
Megan Terry (Texas)
Why not wait until things calm down before you spew negativity about Trump’s reaction to the current crisis? How is looking backwards helpful right now? It’s sad that not even in times such as these some people can’t put their personal feelings aside and use that energy to help others. Your platform to voice your opinion would be better served to encourage people to come together. Hope you’re proud of yourself.
Rich Patrock (Kingsville, TX)
Unfortunately, you sing to the choir. We are all singing to the choir. The always Trumpsters need him to be President because, heck, I have no idea why. They just do. I was asked by one if I believe there is a corona virus emergency. My response was to point out that nearly 400, 386 Italians died of it yesterday, and that it is on the rise there. Before I could finish that we are on the same schedule but behind, she started shouting about fake news. 'How do we really know?' If and when this disease really hits us, not in the wallet but in the chest, they will go to their graves railing against fake news.
sharonm (kansas)
"His lies held no sway with a virus." [They still hold sway with a great many of his supporters.]
Mari (Left Coast)
Charles, 45 is the typical narcissist and sociopath. He takes no responsibility for the wasted weeks where Americans didn’t have access test kits! Though the World Health Organization offered test kits to the U.S., Trump refused them! In the meantime, in my state we were waiting for test kits, while people died! Trump has shown America how utterly incompetent he is!
fred (Bronx)
Just like Dubya's invasion of Iraq, America cannot have a do-over. The damage is done. Even if he is voted out of office, the stain on our national honor will never come clean. The pandemic and resulting exposure of total incompetence, and the juxtaposition of how we ignore the needs of the majority, compared to the rest of the world, may bring about a much needed progressive shift. I doubt it, though, we have the monied elite playing the idiots who love trump, and they have guns.
Chris M. (The Emerald City)
“A Deadly Lack of Leadership” One of the most perfect headlines of all time ...
Jack Craypo (Boston)
Trump's only interest in the coronavirus is in acquiring "exclusive" rights to the vaccine. Like a comic book villain, trump would try to use his control of the vaccine to extort personal gain from other countries just as he tried to use American aid to extort personal "favors" from Ukraine. Trump is a monster, and we will all suffer for the craven cupidity of Republican senators. Many thousands will die for it.
Other than Trump’s core, who are unfit to have a vote, reasonable people know Trump is a jackanapes, impudent, and fearful with a small mind. Unreliable.
bruce (montgomery AL)
The best advice the media could give to its readers is to constantly ignore whatever Trump says on any issue. We all know he is a mindless and preposterous fool, obsessed only with promoting himself, so don't waste any more time or space telling us what he says or thinks, because nobody really pays attention or cares any more, except for his brainwashed Fox News viewers.
Jpkelly (Oregon)
‘The time for honoring yourself will soon come to an end’ - from Gladiator Trump and all his sickening sycophants should heed this warning. The rest of us will be doing the hard work of saving the economy and taking care of those that are suffering and in need.
Roy (Fort Worth)
Dear God, please keep Joe Biden healthy until November.
Jon Rosenberg (New Smyrna Beach, FL)
Very well said, a very well deserved article. Americans, all Americans need to be reminded, and reminded, again and again, that the pretender-president we have is an incompetent, a narcissist, pure and simple. Many of us see those traits, which most ironically have given literally nothing to his ‘base’, except a way to vent their spleen, and hate. Now we see, so clearly, he is so much worse: He is a mortal danger, to all of us.
Frank (NYC)
Given that Trump's "doctor" shaved pounds off his weight as well as added inches to his height, can we really believe that he is not infected or that he really took the test? Hard to believe anything a liar states as truth.
Iamthehousedog (Seattle)
Let’s hope all those trump supporters receive justice in the form of infection - perhaps they will learn then.
Paul Wortman (Providence)
Trump's self-aggrandizing, deceit, and denial will leave much more than a "scar." It will leave tens of thousands dead who otherwise might have been saved by a rational leader who acted, as did President Obama quickly to deal with the swine flu epidemic (yes, Trump lied and distorted it), rather than a mentally-impaired "epic narcissist" (according to a fellow columnist) who lacks any sense of empathy.
Frank (Colorado)
Couldn’t have said it better myself!
Donna Kraydo (North Carolina)
The very stable genius who stared straight into the sun during an eclipse, believes windmills cause cancer, stated that global warming is a Chinese hoax meant to damage US manufacturing, and suggests raking the forest to stop wild fires... ...cannot be trusted to lead us out of this very real crisis.
Walt (CT)
The White House told us he tested negative. When has anyone in the White House spoken the truth? None of their Press Secretaries have, not Spicer, not Sanders, not the current one. Hope Hicks told the Mueller team she lied for Trump. Adm Rony Jackson lied for Trump, the prior doctor lied, the current doctor has lied. Maybe he did test negative. We have no reason to believe that and every reason to disbelieve it.
Cassandra (Arizona)
The administration says that Trump tested negative for corona virus. This may be true but who can trust anything that comes out of this White House?
Yuri Asian (Bay Area)
Any excuse -- in fact no excuse at all -- will do for the Corruption-in-Chief to get his rich pals cheap money -- now free money -- so they can go bargain hunting in a crashed market and consolidate their choke-hold on the economy. Before the pandemic corporate coffers rivaled drug cartels for surplus cash piled up in warehouses; now a castrated Fed Reserve shovels even more free cash into corporate coffers risking a massive de-evaluation of the dollar backed by "the full faith and credit" of the US Mint's 24/7 nonstop printing presses operated by Trump's confederacy of dunces. In other words zero faith, credibility or perceived value, just like the counterfeit dollars Little Rocket Man manufactures in North Korea. It's Fiat money that's less reputable than Fiat cars. Ironically, Italy gets the last laugh as it's among the few nations with massive gold holdings to back its economy while the dollar is propped by tweet bleats from the Bankruptcy King best known for being the only casino operator in world history to go bust. Trump knows two things: cheap and cheat. Just like billion and trillion, he thinks spelling is the only difference. At this rate, the new global currency will be face-masks and toilet paper, and instead of Brent Crude as the metric for oil, it'll be a twelve-pack of Charmin from Walmart in Omaha. At least Nero knew how to fiddle. Trump only knows how to fiddle himself. Too bad Stormy Davis doesn't run the Fed.
David (CO)
A perfect response. A perfect phone call. A beautiful Tax Cut. A great man that Putin. Very stable genius. And still they love their Trump, the master of chaos and the king of sociopaths.
Jeff (Northern California)
My guess is Trump will stay in form and head off to Mar-a-Lago to meet with corporate profiteers to "work this thing out"
Diane (Hershey, pa)
Anyone else reminded of the Emperor That Wore No Clothes??
Michael N. Alexander (Lexington, Mass.)
Mr. Blow says America needs a leader, but has a lout. “Lout” is correct. However, bear in mind that the Pied Piper was a leader. Trump has been America’s Pied Piper.
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
Time to put off satisfying Trump’s need for attention to some other time. The government is the people’s and it exists to serve our collective needs. He can’t lead, he never learned. Apparently this crisis is freaking out Trump so that Pence is stroking his ego to help him keep it together. We are not going to have the Federal government lead in managing this crisis, it’s going to follow as it has so far. That’s because Trump cannot think far enough a head of events to act in time. The states and local governments must try to work together and to anticipate the next moves. Fortunately, there are enough bureaucracies used to dealing with public needs to work through this. This pandemic is forcing the human race to respond to keep it from doing a lot of harm. It means interrupting economic activities and limiting people’s freedom of behavior in highly populated areas. It’s about as big a challenge as we have faced since WWII and mostly people across this planet are behaving well. But it means that businesses are losing money because society is preventing them from operating and people are not making money for the same reason. They will be compensated or the consequences will be very disruptive after the pandemic is past. For now, we wait and see. Trump was never educated nor experienced nor blessed with the talents to lead in such a time. He’ll either sit this out or behave inappropriately.
Steven (Topanga, CA)
Very well said.
DK (Philadelphia, PA)
Finally, someone is saying what I am thinking. The media needs to keep up this kind of in your face response. It is certain Trump will spin this and turn it all around, and he might be successful if the press and media continue to respond like helpless bullying victims on the playground. Heck, he is already doing this.
Gabbyboy (Colorado)
And now he wants to pardon Flynn under cover of the virus.
Oh My (Upstate, New York)
To the author. This situation would have been take care of by Bloomberg. You slammed Bloomberg unnecessarily and we lost a great competent candidate against Trump. Hope you are pleased as punch by your great writing efforts. So you will get stuck with Trump due to your horrible editorial efforts. Thanks.
trautman (Orton, Ontario)
Give the man a break. It had a rough last weekend playing golf and giving us the bill which we now know he charges the Secret Service and other government employees higher rates than his friends. Gee whiz, he gave up golf this weekend. Interesting for days even though there are growing number of cases in the UK and Ireland they were not on the list, could not be because he has failing golf courses there now would it? No, how cynical. After all his misinformation speech was written by experts, Kushner and the racist Miller they know almost as much as he does. By the way with the economy in free fall has he called his pal Putin and Prince concerning the war on oil. Good to see the Saudi brain on par with Kushner is losing and pumping more oil but still losing market share. Think there was a reason why he arrested his uncle and others before he started the war. What a cast of stupids and throw in Johnson in the UK and at least it appears his good friend Bibi might be toast. This virus is not a one off it is connected to climate change, raging fires in Australia interesting how the media has not discussed all that soot and ash what impact is that having on the environment. This is a taste of things to come. Lets see when his lackies at the Fed have taken the rate as low as it will go, what will he rant and they do. The economy has operated on rate cuts, people load up more debt for the past several years, well how does the Great Depression feel.
What people have missed or ignored is the exponential infection rate of this novel coronavirus. An analogy is "if the infection rate doubles each day, and it takes 30 days to cover the entire population, how many days would it take to cover half the population?" The answer is 29 days. At the early days there are few signs and easy caseload and the hospitals and clinics are quiet. Thus, this shameless, accidental president can spin a sinister story, saying that it's a hoax perpetuated by his political enemy, and that the number of infections would go down to zero soon. How utterly wrong, and dangerously irresponsible, is this message!!! Just days later, the number of infection increased dramatically, finally spreading to all 48 states by Mar 15. Soon a larger fraction of the population would be infected and the number of death climbs exponentially if decisive and timely measures to contain the spread of this novel coronavirus are delayed again by this incompetent administration led in circle by a me-me-me, incompetent person. Health and lives are at stake now. The country has a narrow window of time to reach a medical, epidemiological and political solution.
Olivia (NYC)
I will vote for Trump again. No liberal leftist propaganda can stop that.
Phil (Athens, Ga)
@Olivia Please keep going into crowds and touching your face regularly.
johnlo (Los Angeles)
This is what Americans see every day in this paper and on the major networks...finger pointing, demagoguery, panic inducing, fear mongering. Most people know what its all about. Its about taking the President down. No more, no less. I thought we as a nation we're supposed to pull together in moments of crises? Fact is, up to now, the only problem is the panic, not the virus.
Bonnie Schneider (Baltimore City, Md.)
Charles Blow’s opinion commentary is right on target!! Under Donald Trump’s administration we/America have lost our soul and our moral compass! There is no real leadership! DT is interested in one thing only and that is himself!! Our country is in serious trouble and it’s not just from the coronavirus!!
Burns (Tucson)
How will the homeless fare with the virus? Where do they go? Who's going to feed them? The estimate is that 600,000 people are homeless on a given night. Families have it worse is my guess. Finally, should we be testing the homeless for the virus?
Scott Franklin (Arizona State University)
When will our real leaders on the Democratic side start hammering away at the impeached one? Why don't they act like a president and take charge? Denounce every single thing the impeached one says? Don't let him get one syllable in. Cut him off, interrupt him. Why wait? Practice makes perfect! "I take no responsibility" should be on a billboard in every state. I watched his highness the other day at his virus "coming out" party and he sounds bad. Maybe this tragedy will wake his followers up? I won't hold my breath...stay safe everyone.
toomuchrhetoric (Muncie, IN)
The scariest part about our current situation is that millions of US citizens are getting their news from Fox News Hannity -- assuring that this is just a flu and don't worry. Same as Trump.
bnc (Lowell, MA)
Communication is the key to cam. Donald Trump's lies have led to panic.
HJS (Charlotte, NC)
I can live with a nine month scar. Failure to expel him from office will result in our country's permanent disfigurement.
Gazeeb (San Francisco)
Trump has over the past three years demonstrated himself repeatedly to be an individual with severe deficiencies of intellect and characterized by an astounding array of personality disorders. Making him unfit to carry out the responsibilities of Presidential leadership. It’s no overstatement to say that Donald Trump is unsound, a sociopath whose administration itself is a threat to America.
E Bennet (Dirigo)
Trump will be more erratic and delusional without the ego-fuel from his rallies. We are in 25th amendment territory with a cabinet of toadies who will never initiate this remedy.
Jim Brokaw (California)
Trump does 'lead by example'. Trump is also a great role model for children. If you want to be a great leader - "Don't Be Like Trump" is all you have to remember. If you want your children to 'grow up right' and be 'good people' all you have to do is teach them "Don't Be Like Trump". So when I read articles about just how worthless, just how terrible, just how incompetent and corrupt Trump is I say - "you are absolutely correct", but Trump -is- a great example. For what not to do, and how not to be. There is an answer to all this: Show Up and Vote. Vote Them All Out!
Okkie Trooij (Netherlands)
Nice analysis of Charles. Hopefully the corona-disaster will reveal who Trump really is: a disaster.
Omrider (nyc)
I'm missing Obama more than ever. What I would give for competence from the President. Oh, and not being a Russian Asset. That would be nice.
Chris P (Virginia)
Unfair!.... Trump has been practicing social distancing from the hoi polloi almost all his life. In office he has systematically distanced himself from hordes of well informed, honest legislators and deep state bureaucrats. He has conscientously kept far away from those all who espouse truth, facts, common sense. He associates only with himself and a small coterie of sycophants who have been tested and proven free of viral knowledge, integrity, empathy, moral standards. What we need is for Trump to wash his hands of actual pandemic management and to practice social distancing from governance. Don a face mask imprinted with "Make America Well Again" that constrains him from mouthing the churlish lies and absurdities fawned upon by his cultish base. The White House is a petri dish of contamination. Better still if he leaves it permanently.
MICHAEL (Nashville, TN)
I can’t get past how small this man is. The lack of empathy for the health of America’s citizens is wildly disturbing. Trump prioritizes this nation’s wealth over its health.
Suzanne (Connecticut)
I keep going back to the sense of dread I felt on election night when Trump gained the lead in electoral college. This is just unbelievable, incomprehensible, that he is absolutely worse than what I had dreaded. Every. Single. Day. Waking up to a new insult and injury to our great nation. And then this, this complete insane ineptitude. Well. We have our families and our friends, and many good and learned people to help us get through this.
Red Mumbler (Hillsdale, NY)
Trump's entire incompetent presidency, summed up in one short column. At this point, if you now fail to realize the danger he poses to the country and the world for his own selfish needs, you will never see it. It should have never been allowed to go this far. It should have never started in the first place!
Pamela L. (Burbank, CA)
His lack of leadership is appalling, but we must get over it until November. Right now, we must look to doctors and scientists for truthful information. Our lives depend on it. Two-thirds of the country has been holding its breath, hoping something like this wouldn't happen during his presidency. Now, we're faced with the stark reality of his utter self-serving and vindictive nature. He is, clearly, mentally ill. This man is an affront to our country and its origins.
Rubad (Columbus, OH)
Trump and McConnell's handling of the corona crisis is nothing short of criminal negligence. They will kill untold people with their failure to understand or do anything about this virus until the horse was well out of the barn. What is more infuriating is the Trump supporter's blaming of the Democrats, who they think control the CDC. Last I heard, CDC is part of the EXECUTIVE branch. A shameful lack of knowledge and ethics is what it amounts to.
GraceNeeded (Albany, NY)
Yes, Trump is absolutely to blame for his ignorant delay and coverup of the spreading Covid 19. He Is the most lying and corrupt president ever. What concerns me more now is Republicans are still supporting him, as well as Evangelical leaders. We received a chain email today where Franklin Graham praised Trump for declaring today a National Day of Prayer. We believe in prayer and have been praying for our president since he was elected. He definitely needs our prayers, but how can Graham continue to lend his good name in support of this president, who shows no sign of openness to spiritual things, and that includes prayer. Even children recognize Trump is a bad man. Republicans in Congress did not even want to seek the truth in a trial, as they knew the truth would confront them with their hypocrisy. How have they and Trump cared for the least of those among us? Where has Trump done anything that would be seen as after the heart of God? If you are yearning for revival in our nation and in the world, you have to be ready to stand for truth and justice, not playing along with the ‘fake’ president. Justice will be served. The day of reckoning will come.
Kathryn (NY, NY)
Isn’t it tragic that Trump, whose strategy was to instill fear of “the other” in the American people, has in fact done just that. Everyone is now suspect. If someone sneezes or coughs, they become someone to avoid or shun. Without much needed tests, we have absolutely no way to know who is sick and who is well. People who were paying attention knew that, up until now, we have been extraordinarily lucky. Trump has been the President for over three years and the US has not been confronted with a deadly crisis. But our luck has run out. His unfitness to serve may cost thousands of lives. Worst case, millions. This is more devastating than most of us could have imagined. That this man has run roughshod over our country, completely unfettered, is on the Republicans. Their greed and lust for power has unleashed a pandemic in our country. Did they cause this virus? No. But they enabled a dimwitted, narcissistic psychopath and allowed him to wreak havoc with his lies, denial, and ineptitude. SHAME. Shame on all of you.
Robert McKee (Nantucket, MA.)
It is, now, way beyond embarassing. This person, Trump, is not the person to listen to about anything at all. Who IS this guy and why do we pay any attention to him. at all? He conned his way into, of all things, the presidency, but the office has been demolished by this nut case. Stop listening to anything he says.
Ron Cumiford (Chula Vista, California)
Trump supporters' childish "I know you are but what am I" arguments amaze me. Can't they differintiate the nuance of a blame for cause and a blame for lack of reponsibility after the cause? It's as if Trump's childish deflections are transferred to his supporters so they can make the same naive, deflective perceptions. It just puts a spotlight on the cultish minds that support such a failure of leadership.
Kris (Santa Rosa, CA)
Is anyone surprised? About 52% of Americans know Trump is a pathological liar and narcissist and 40% will believe anything he says. Luckily, most of us don't believe a word he says, and we are following the advice of health care experts. Good luck to the others!
Lee (Southwest)
"Lout" is such an apt word. He's also worse, but at his best that's all he knows to be. Looking for profit angles, and re-election so he can scoop up more wealth and attention. Greed kills.
And let’s remember that Trump didn’t censure Wilbur Ross for his initial assessment that coronavirus would be a boon for America and give us a financial edge over China. This administration is inhuman and ignorant.
Dave (Lafayette, CO)
"The buck stops here." TRUMAN ______________________ "I take no responsibility at all." TRUMP Two bumper stickers. Side-by-side. Anybody?
Lilou (Paris)
I would like to comment on the sheer, scorching frenzy surrounding the Coronavirus in the U.S. media. There is an information vacuum in the U.S. There is no one cohesive plan for testing, purchasing respirators and protective gear, no accurate case count, because testing isn't done, and no timeline for accomplishing these tasks. Journalists are left to speculate and wind up the public about Covid-19 in the U.S. Lack of information makes people panic in the face of a deadly unknown. People still go to restaurants, bars and schools -- closures have been a patchwork, based on local cases diagnosed. By contrast, Europe has closed bars, restaurants and schools. Tests are readily available, and unnecessary speculation about cases doesn't exist. People are not in panic mode--there is plenty of toilet paper. Trump denied the seriousness of Covid-19 for two months, refused to buy testing kits from W.H.O., and has not come up with a plan. Instead, he bailed out Big Oil. This is an abysmal, inexcusable failure on Trump's part. For real-time worldwide case counts, visit https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
A Russian peasant finds a bottle while plowing his field, when he opened it, a genie popped out, “ I will grant you three wishes, “ proclaimed the genie, “but whatever you wish for your neighbor will get double.” The peasant loathed his neighbor, who felt the same way about him. For years they had cursed one another when their paths crossed. The peasant didn’t think hard enough about the genie’s proportion because the first thing he wished for was ten thousand rubles. He was ecstatic until he discovered his neighbor had discovered twenty thousand rubles on his property. His joy vanished, he cursed his neighbor and tried to think about something more important than wealth. Finally, he smiled, “I’d like to marry the most beautiful woman in the world,” he said to the genie. Immediately, he held an absolutely gorgeous women in his arms, who made him the happiest man in the world. Or so he thought. Somehow, at his neighbor’s wedding, held the next day, the bride was, unbelievably, twice as beautiful. It ruined all his pleasure that his neighbor had beat him again. ”I must do something about this.” the peasant said to himself. Finally, he walked over to the genie, swallowed hard, and said, “Make me blind in one eye.”
lg (hamburg, germany)
Hopefully the scar will remain visible enough to get him out of the White House in Nov. He has to be kicked out at least if not sent to jail.
Nm (Battle Creek)
I woke at 5:03 this morning with a tear running down my check. Last night my kids and granddaughter flew home from out west. I had texted my daughter-in-law to ask if she needed anything, and she said she was going to the store and that it was probably best given their family had been through two major airports, that they stay away. I woke thinking about that. I woke thinking about what I would do if my spouse was supposed to go into isolation and I couldn't be with him. I thought of the possibility of never seeing my grandchildren again. I thought of how i had never seen a photo of trump playing with his grand children (I believe he has grand children), only of him with Melania trailing behind. I got out of bed and woke to emails of two major retailers and the local casino closing. I saw an article about how I should take joy that the stock market has good value right now. I didn’t cry again. I have been angry with trump and his supporters since the election, and I am still angry at them. Trump is incompetent. I thought of every truly ignorant stupid thing the president has said about the virus and his claims it was a hoax, a media out to get him and what an expert at virus's he is. The GOP backing this ignorant man is beyond me. His entourages standing with him disgust me, they are all sycophants bowing to a false god. Someone in power needs to bring sanity back to our country. In the meantime there is a deep and profound sorrow in my heart.
Kathryn (NY, NY)
@Nm - me too. A dear friend is an emergency room nurse. I am terrified for him. My husband’s office hasn’t closed yet. He’s driving to work so that he doesn’t have to take public transportation. I’m scared that even though I’m socially isolating, he’ll bring COVID-19 home. My sister is a funeral director and I’m wondering if she’ll be infected. I KNEW something very bad would happen with Trump and his people at the helm, but this is beyond my wildest imagining. I feel so sad -on the verge of tears most times. I don’t want to lose anyone dear to me. And, knowing it’s going to get much worse is unimaginable. I am so very angry at Trump. I have been angry for four years. My anger now is immeasurable.
manfred marcus (Bolivia)
All your statements about cruello Trump may be accurate. But we knew his narcissistic personality much before we elected him. That he was a cheater all his life. And a shrewd liar. And a demagogue. And with huge ignorance. And still went ahead. Don't we realize that Trump's misbehavior is sealed, he is unable to behave like a human being with responsibilities towards each other, and necessary feelings that go with it? The only solution is ousting him and confining him to the fringes of society...where he may not do this much harm...anymore. Too bad we have a pliant G.O.P., pocketed emotionally by a charlatan, similar to the control of his clueless 'base'. Could it be we deserve such a beast, by not educating ourselves, or looking the other way? Just asking!
David J (NJ)
His lack of concentration and intellect is evident. For better or worse, he is a puppet of anyone else around him who can pull his strings. Thank goodness Dr. Fauci and the CDC are putting words in his mouth and Pence’s. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, he tends to go off script and blurts out some untruth that is corrected by others, showing us his limits. He falls back into his only defensive tactic, diversion. So now it’s Flynn. Murderers, traitors, no matter.
Phil (Athens, Ga)
Trumps' incompetence and total awfulness "dealing" with the crisi, will not appreciably hurt his standing with his base. (See the WSJ/NBC poll that just came out, polling to 3 days ago; his approval is at 46%). We are dealing with a cult. When basic beliefs of cult members are clearly disproved, they show even more allegiance to their leader. The worst part of the past three plus years is not Trump. It's the sad fact that 40 percent or so of the American public are ignorant, bigoted and dumb (some just ignorant and dumb), or otherwise so greedy for assumed economic growth that they just don't care about anything else or so obsessed about abortion that they don't care about anything else.
Queen Bee (NYC)
We the People. We must take back our country.
Conservative Democrat (WV)
Mr.Blow, this is the sole fault of China’s failure to effectively ban live animal wet markets after the SARS virus. I realize everything in your view is Mr. Trump’s fault, but come on, man, at least be intellectually honest with your readers.
Frank (Columbia, MO)
President Truman had a plaque displayed proudly on his desk : “The buck stops here”. With Trump it’s “The buck stops anywhere else”. How far down we have come !
Robert (New York City)
The Child President actually brands himself on the back of a cheap, ridiculous baseball cap that he wears to what should be the most serious appearance at this time. Unreal. This fool should have been removed from office ages ago. At this point, he is harming the Republican party to a degree from which it will never again breathe unrestrained oxygen. Democratic candidates will be elected in landslide victories for years to come.
Portola (Bethesda)
And yet Senate Republicans keep mum. So it is not only Trump who is so cowardly. With the sole exception of Senator Romney, cowardice defines the entire Republican leadership.
Jim Simpson (Almeria, Spain)
And yet still 43% of Americans want him to be their President!
ASD32 (CA)
If there’s any justice, the biggest victim of Covid-19 will be the so-called Trump presidency. On November 3 it will be contained and on January 20 it will be eradicated forever.
Mickey (NY)
The Republicans and their government hating culture are to blame as well. Trump is pathological, abysmally ignorant, and dangerous especially in this context, yes. But the Republican establishment has been disempowering and defunding institutions that protect us for decades. They hate science, they hate planning, and they hate any kind of committee unless it’s in the service of moving America’s resources into the pockets of the billionaires that get them elected with dark money. When hurricane Sandy came and devastated the Rockaways, I really noticed how much this nation changed. The lack of concern, the lack of will to rebuild, the lack of a national community, the subsequent fight for resources... The religion of the conservative is that only the the freest of free market economies will save us. Nothing else matters but that. And now that we have a real tangible threat we have no expertise, no wisdom, no leadership, no vision, and no plan. Nothing but a speech from a compulsive liar and buffoon and a bunch of sycophants to billionaires in Congress remaining silent.
David Cache (Valle Crucis, NC)
Americans will prevail by sticking together and helping each other. The time to sit in judgement of the face of this avoidable cataclysm will come in the next few months. The face of sarscov2 is topped absurd looking red hair, a fake tan severely lacking around the eyes and brain so used to lying that it lacks any sense except blaming others like a spoiled child. Now is a good time to forget that face and focus on helping the old and poor.
Stu Reininger (Calabria, Italy/Mystic CT)
Here is a quote from the review by Times critic James Poniewozik of the film adaption of David Roth's novel "the Plot Against America." What is it with this guy? Get him off the arts beat and into real-time reporting... He nailed it. the charismatic bigot in the White House is not simply an aberration who can be erased and forgotten like a bad dream. The problem is as much the passions and cynicism that made him possible: the citizens whose prejudice was validated, the officials who got a taste of thugocracy, the society that learned the norms of decent behavior were always optional, the minorities who found that equality is revocable.
Kevin Rothstein (East of the GWB)
This is your country led by a sociopath. How ironic is it that tonight HBO is premiering a series based on the late Philip Roth's novel "The Plot Against America" where Charles Lindbergh and his "America First" isolationist philosophy defeats FDR in 1940?
sandyb (Bham, WA)
A popular chant during marches "We need a leader--not a creepy tweeter! I can think of "harsher" words to use, but this is a public space.
Li (Santa Cruz, CA)
From your lips to God’s ear Charles. May it scar us to the bone.
Zor (Midwest)
The country is paying a very high price for the corrupt, self serving dealings of an incompetent Russian mole. He is aided and abetted by millions of morally corrupt, cowardly Republicans and their well paid for mercenary "representatives" in both chambers of Congress. The entire right wing ecosystem is very good at dulling down their listeners' critical thinking, and feeds off their ignorance. More insidious is the constant supply of malicious falsehood being distributed by the right wing media, amplified by Facebook which refuses to check the veracity of false propaganda. Until we find an antidote for confronting our society's ignorance, the nation's vitality will be sapped by social media's viruses. Trump is simply the host and the spreader of falsehoods and lies.
AJ (Chicago)
Does anyone believe Trump was tested...Does anyone believe the test came back negative...
Cynical (Knoxville, TN)
But will the germophobe be finally be undone by germs?
celia (also the west)
Words that will go down in history. “I have a hunch”; “National Emergency. Two big words”.
Craig (Los Angeles)
All those good words, and yet you—even you—credulously report that Trump took the COVID-19 test and "results were negative." Can you think of a single reason, drawing solely from the history on his own medical health reporting if you must, why that report should be given an iota of credence? Your newspaper still struggles to find the word "lie" in its style guide. Sometimes it slips through in opinions. But then the snapback to stenography comes back and dominates. Until the New York Times and all responsible journalists can take the mantle to report what everyone in the profession knows as the truth, to say it with clarity and conviction, this outrage will continue unabated.
John Grillo (Edgewater, MD)
Although the Senatorial removal of this Fake President, after his House impeachment, has already been attempted but corruptly stymied by his craven Republican enablers, as Commander-in-Chief of our military forces why can’t the Chiefs of Staff now convene a court martial proceeding against him based upon a multi-act dereliction of duty to protect the country from a war-like, comprehensive viral attack on the nation’s health? Although that DOJ Office of Legal Counsel memorandum provided Trump with a “stay out of jail” dodge for his criminal obstruction of justice violations, as set forth in the Mueller Report, a successful military conviction would place him, at last, in the brig and away from committing more Oval Office menace. MAGA.
ElleJ (Ct)
One can only hope that the lasting scar cuts his ridiculous approval ratings among the sycophantic republicans. If they can’t bring themselves to vote Blue, just stay home and stop this insanity that is literally killing our country in so many different ways.
dairubo (MN & Taiwan)
How was this clown imposed on us? Who and what is to blame for that? Voters who did not do their job . . . media which profited by giving the lout the unmediated use of their platforms . . . the economic elites whose fear of losing their privilege and power and so sided against the best interests of the majority of the country . . . political insiders who failed the nomination process . . . the Republican party whose minority hold on power depends on lies and vote suppression.
Luna (Florida)
This is what happens when a criminal is elected to be our president. This person is credibly suspected of tax evasion, real estate fraud, money laundering, banking fraud, sexual crimes, election fraud, mafia ties, attempted bribery of Ukraine, and conspiracy with Putin. And those are just the things we know about. All presidential ( and vice-presidential) candidates must be required to receive full security clearances from the FBI and CIA as part of the qualification process. Why would we accept anything less?
C. Pierson (La La Land)
The sign on Trumps desk should read, “The Buck Never Stops Here.”
Cheezy22 (California)
Gov. Cuomo's press conference this morning was brilliant. Facts, figures and remedies were clearly laid out. I learned more in 45 minutes than 4 hours of Trump and Co. blathering about how how "unprecedented" his leadership has been. It's unprecedented all right.
Thijs4419 (Netherlands)
If the US ever get's a handle on this crisis, it will because local leaders, mayors, governors, and health professionals took their responsibility. Not because of anything the president did.
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
Our system of federal government mitigates Trump’s lack of leadership and of executive skills. There are plenty of governors and mayors who have authority to act and the bureaucrats have rules and procedures to follow that do not require a strong and responsive head of the state to do their jobs. We will get through this. But Trump’s inability to anticipate challenges just makes it into a wait and see and then confront the problems kind of response.
JK (Pawtucket)
How do we know that Trump's test came out negative? Can we believe anything they say?
Deirdre (New Jersey)
Every time leaders stand behind the president and tolerate his lies without correcting the record they are complicit enablers and fail the American people. Stand up, correct the record in real time and don’t allow Trump to lie.
PamJ (Georgia)
It’s past time waiting for him to man up. It’s never going to happen people. Biden should just go ahead and gather and solicit advice from the experts and get his pandemic mitigation plan published now.
John (NYS)
Do some of us not love our country more than we hate Trump? Reading the top reader picks sent a sad message to me. While we could have done better on testing, early travel restrictions seem to have bought us time. Looking at the data from https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ it appears we have far fewer cases per 1M people at 11.5 than many European countries. At this point we need to continue to focus on getting through this and put the divisiveness aside. Fixing the problem is more important than assigning blame. John
Trump tests negative for the virus. That would give him a 100% negative rating.
wak (MD)
It’s not simply we don’t have a leader in the positive sense of that word; we have someone ... Trump along with his subservient followers ... who makes the matter we face with coronavirus2 worse through ineptitude and folly and nonsensical statements intended to achieve unmerited optimism. It’s a life-or-death matter for so many now ... made incredibly worse that a silly rallying hat and jabber will not, because it cannot, dismiss. Trump’s met his match ... the truth he at last cannot finesse. The truth! The fraud Trump is, is now, more than ever, on public display. The good news begins with that. The recognition of his his hopeless is, for a better day, the nation’s regained start for hope.
Amos (CA)
Trump has ZERO, I mean ZERO - NADA credibility. The more he hugs the mic, the less credibility he has. At least that is what I see. But who are the people who believe him? Should they all get infected? Would that solve our problem? This message is self-healing.
Charles Epstein (Philadelphia)
Let's hope it leaves a scar that lasts at least until early November.
dell (lansing)
Trump supposedly tested negative. But since he lies so much, this report is not to be trusted. If he doesn't appear in front of a camera for 2 weeks, we know that he is deathly ill.
iVoicia (US)
Anyone else have the feeling we're on a bus that's speeding ahead while the driver keeps nodding off?
Robert (Oregon)
One of the only things we have to fear is Trump and his Enablers!
Oliver (Earth)
I saw trump on the news today and he should never again be allowed to call someone “sleepy” or “low energy”. He was the very definition of both.
Chelle (USA)
One of your very best columns. Thank you. Electing trump president is one of the worst, if not the worst, things the American electorate has done.
Rick Bryant (England)
But he's going to get away with it again, isn't he? This new money funnelled money to the rich, more debt to the rest, with the latter increasing their indentured servitude to the former, and those of us who survive will all be so grateful we don't die. And the dead, well, they'll be dead; stone cold losers. All praise to the great showman.
WDP (Long Island)
I keep reading that Trump is only interested in his re-election campaign. This is not true. In reality, Trump doesn’t want to be president at all. The reality is much more weird and frightening. Trump is only interested in defending himself and, along the way, dragging down his detractors. That’s it. He’s not thinking about consequences, his responsibility as leader of the free world, re-election, issues that challenge our nation, most immediately of course the Coronavirus. He’s against the wall, and only defending himself and dragging down others. The nation is being led by a seriously mentally disturbed individual. Look at his face! Listen to him! Can’t everyone see this???
Tom Q (Minneapolis, MN)
Standing behind the podium on Sunday wearing the cap, Trump looked more unprofessional than any leader I have ever seen. It reflected a total lack of respect of all Americans who are worried, sick or near death. If ever something reflected a sociopathic personality, it was Trump today.
Wildwitch57 (Canton, NY)
It will leave a scar, but not on him. He walks away from everything, criminal behavior, cheating, not paying debts, and the endless lies. He will be celebrated for the rest of his miserable life because he was president. He will walk away richer and still immune to the laws of this land. The only true justice for all of his horrible, illegal and immoral behavior is prison. It's the only thing that will humiliate him, but it will never happen. It would be the delight of my life to see T-rump get his, but like I said, it won't happen.
John-Manuel Andriote (Norwich, Connecticut)
As long as fear and panic get translated into votes on November 3, we can succeed in ending the opportunistic infection known as Donald J. Trump.
Phyliss Dalmatian (Wichita, Kansas)
It’s not exactly “ government “ that should be drowned in the Bathtub. NOVEMBER.
Maury (philadelphia)
Sad that it will take the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of Americans to reveal (what any rational person already knew) that this man is incompetent. However, conservatives repeatedly promote policies that punish their base and always get away with it. In a saner time, an Op-Ed like this would resound across all political parties. Unfortunately, America has a greater sickness than Covid that has been corroding it for years.
Phil (Philippines)
Blame should also be laid squarely upon the shoulders of the GOP as a whole. They had an opportunity to not vote for him. They had an opportunity to keep him in step. They had an opportunity to remove him from office.
tombo (new york state)
Yes, when it comes to responding to the coronavirus pandemic Trump and his administration have failed and failed miserably at that. That should be obvious to anyone, but it is not. Republicans and conservatives think that Trump and his team are doing a good job. Think about that. It is astounding. There is no longer any room for doubt about the ugly truth that the Republican Party is now a cult dedicated to it's deity, the vile, venal, ignorant, lazy, vain and morally and ethically bankrupt Donald J. Trump. The press and the Democrats need to stop pretending otherwise. They need to use harsh language about that reality. They need to alarm the rest of the nation to the dangers that cult is posing RIGHT NOW to all of us. The nation cannot be saved from them if it doesn't grasp the danger they pose. Enough of politeness. Bluntly call them out for the dangerous radicals that they are so that they can be stopped from destroying this country.
writeon1 (Iowa)
In the house cleaning to come, the Senators who kept this fool in power need to go along with him. They know what he is but they feared that doing their duty would cost them their jobs. Now their failure is going to cost lives.
G (California)
"Trump’s thoroughly inept handling of this crisis will not pass from the American memory easily. Fear and panic will help etch this one into the psyche. This will leave a scar." Not in the minds of the ones who most need the scar: Trump's supporters. They live in a media and social (and social media) ecosystem that echoes and reinforces Trump's lies, and peddles outrageous conspiracy theories designed to reframe reality as an anti-Trump hoax. Trump has a lot to answer for in his appalling failure to prioritize the nation's interest over his own, but so do those who have closed their eyes, ears, and minds to anything but his messaging. And those whose livelihoods depend on pounding that message home, in defiance of the truth and the well-being of their audiences, had better hope there isn't an afterlife: eternity will not be pleasant for them.
Tired (Michigan)
Typical - Republicans come in, wreak havoc on the economy, and leave a big mess for the Democrats to clean up.
Barbarossa (Longuyland)
When the history of President Trump and his administration is written, it will without a doubt be memorialized as by far the most corrupt and incompetent in the long history of this country. His completely self serving and inept handling of one of the greatest public health threats America has ever faced will be his everlasting legacy. If we survive as a functioning democracy until November, President Trump and all his sycophantic accomplices and enablers must be voted out of office completely.
Brian (Downingtown, PA)
Thanks for the great article. The emperor still has no clothes. Trump came out yesterday and told us about the great action taken by the Fed. To his credit, he got the rate cuts right. But Trump couldn't help himself, and he started gaslighting us again. Needless to say, the futures tanked. Obviously, there aren't any adults in the room. Trump is so terrible that I feel somewhat comforted by Mike Pence. I guess it's easier to listen to a sycophant than a narcissist.
snm (bangor, maine)
At a time when we need strong leadership; the country is saddled with a feckless president who is surrounded by a group of incompetents. I am sure that we will get through this in spite of the president and his ineffectual team.
S.P. (MA)
Where is the 25th Amendment? Trump is not just some incompetent lout. He is unhinged. He cannot form any realistic idea of his responsibilities. It is his medical condition—not just his character—that compounds the nation's viral emergency. By contrast, Vice President Pence was a reassuring return to sober leadership. Pence's performance ought to encourage and embolden Trump's Republican supporters. Get Trump out of office now, before his craven, overweening, self-besotted, aberrations wreck national governance and kill hundreds of thousands.
Joel Sanders (Montgomery, AL)
Republican senator, in their abject failure to do their duty and convict a Trump in the impeachment trial, knew that they were leaving in place an incompetent, shallow, and dishonest president. They had to know opportunities for disastrous leadership were coming. And here we are.
John (Carpinteria, CA)
The most appalling thing is that Trump still has enablers in the Senate and elsewhere high in government, as well as numerous average Americans. If we don't take back our nation from these people this fall, we will see it destroyed before our eyes.
AndyP (Cleveland)
And yet early indications are that the President;s supporters, or rather cult members, stand four square behind his pathetic act. At Monday’s news conference, he and Pence used members of the Public Health Service as props as they praised Trump, misled the public about how incompetent their response to covid-19 has been, and downplayed the enormous danger. When death or serious illness soon stalks us all, perhaps the scales will be lifted from some of his followers’ eyes. Or maybe they are so deluded that they will sing his praises with their dying breath.
Neander (California)
With any luck, the scar will help fellow Americans from ever again electing an incompetent, experience-free, self-serving cretin into a position of ultimate public responsibility. The virus Trump has unleashed will leave pain and turmoil for some time, and his cronies to date seem only willing to use federal resources to shelter and protect the wealthy, the banks and brokers.
Jeff (UK)
I expect no less from Trump at this point. What continues to shock me is that the top NIH scientist, Dr. Fauci, and others on his team, are not demanding more. If I could send a message to Dr. Fauci: Dr. Fauci, YOU need to publicly tell President Trump the following: President Trump, The United States is at war. The enemy is a virus. Not a "foreign" virus, a virus. The virus has already spread extensively throughout the US. There is no stopping it. The front lines of this war are all US hospitals and our soldiers in this war are all hospital staff. As president in a time of war, you need to take bold action and USE EVERY AVAILABLE RESOURCE OF THE US GOVERNMENT TO SUPPORT OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM. This is the only way to prevent thousands of additional Americans from dying. We must immediately mobilize the military to build medical facilities as fast as possible. We must do everything we can to produce medical supplies. We must make sure our hospital staff is protected. Every moment we lose will cost American lives. Dr. Fauci, YOU know what is happening. You know the math. The medical systems in Europe are collapsing and we are just starting to see what is to come. We are on an exponential curve. We have NO TIME. This will be orders of magnitude worse than 9/11. Moments of crisis are what define people. If YOU are not willing to make this statement, you should resign now because history will not look kindly upon you.
PAD (Torrington)
Maybe Trump could invite all his enablers, sycophants and pardonees to a gala at Mar el Lago, and have Rush or Sean read Edgar Allen Poe’s Masque of the Red Death to the exuberant crowd. It would be a fitting lesson.
Paul (Pensacola)
Thank you for calling Trump a "lout". That's a good word. I like to call him a buffoon, but that is too kind.
Ulysses (Lost in Seattle)
I have two questions that Mr. Blow ignores in his diatribe: (1) what should, in Blow's opinion, Trump have said and how would what he said have made any material in regard to the course of the pandemic; and (2) what should, in Blow's opinion, Trump have done differently and how would that have changed anything in regard to the course of the pandemic? Much iike Joe Biden -- whose "plan" for the virus is identical to Trump's -- Mr. Blow criticizes Trump's plan but has no alternative to offer.
jck (nj)
Blow laments the lack of "Presidential leadership" which demonstrates his dishonesty since he has dedicated his efforts to undermining President Trump's leadership since the day of his election.
Jim (Placitas)
Did he get tested? Were the results negative? He lies about everything, cannot be trusted to tell the truth in any situation, his sole objective at all times is self-preservation and congratulations. Yet, with this, with no release of the test results, on the word of the same doctor who declared an obviously obese Trump to be the picture of health, we are content to accept the results without confirmation or question. So, let's imagine for a moment what would happen if he were tested and it came back positive. I can think of no outcome that would be more devastating to his personal brand or more undermine his absurd claims about containing and controlling the virus than if he himself were to become infected. Beyond that, would he then have to be quarantined? Pence as well, considering how close he has been to the president? In such a situation of incapacity of both the president and vice president, would the 25th Amendment be invoked, handing temporary authority to Nancy Pelosi, the next in line? I'll admit to wearing the tin foil hat of conspiracy theorists if somebody can convince me that in this scenario, the absolute worst nightmare he could possibly imagine, there is no reason to doubt the word of the White House. Until then... Did he get tested? Were the results negative?
Mo (WI)
I agree with the general principals of your statements, but you ain't John Steinbeck.
Deb (Blue Ridge Mtns.)
Ah Republicans.... It seems their goal since Reagan declared the federal government a curse with his "I'm from the government and I'm here to help" to Grover Norquist's "reduce government to the size it can be drowned in a bath tub", has been fully realized in the convergence of a malignant narcissist and a deadly virus. And thanks to them, here we are - facing an existential threat to our health, our freedoms, our economy, independence and to humanity in general. We can eradicate the threat on 11/3/2020 - be it Bernie or Joe, vote. For your life and this blue planet, vote blue. Vote them out. All of them. Everywhere possible. Eradication by voting booth on 11/3/2020.
freyda (ny)
When Trump was elected the meme that went around was "we're all gonna die." Everyone imagined this would take place when he started a war as a way to increase his power or hit the nuclear button out of rage or perhaps by mistake or just because he could. We didn't imagine a pandemic then or that this was the way that he would kill us, the people, and maybe democracy itself along with us--by fumbling and bumbling the national response so badly that we could no more recover from the virus than from the rest of his exploitative, gaslighting presidency.
treabeton (new hartford, ny)
Trump: This coronavirus has been so unfair to me.
Susanna (United States)
America does, indeed, need leadership at this critical time, but no one....not one single candidate representing either party...has a clue how to provide that. Bernie and Joe... still yammering on about ‘fairness’ to so-called ‘asylum seekers’ and illegal aliens while the scenery crashes down behind them. National unity and common culture is a thing of the past. Scary times ahead!
SR (Bronx, NY)
Those MAGA, and more recently KAG and (here) USA, hats the loser wears are almost as garish, unprofessional, and unbecoming of even a parody of a president, let alone the actual one we've lacked for almost four years, as himself. I can't wait for a 45th President to undo his malcompetence and I desperately hope he'll make "White House" and "tweets" two separate things again. Twitter assaults democracy.
EEE (noreaster)
I don't feel comfortable blaming someone who so clearly is very ill. It's like the Gods are punishing him for his mendacity to the point where he CANNOT tell the truth. Perhaps he is dying to, but the words won't come out. So he is institutionalized in Mar-A-Lago, where he is surrounded by the delusional and the sycophantic exploiters. It's a venue which he now is barely able to crawl from.
Jay Tan (Topeka, KS)
You are right, Mr. Blow-so what will we do about it? The Orange Menace and his corrupt acolytes were hoping of having "low numbers" of infected people by deliberately ignoring and suppressing sound advice and pleas to get test kits. In the meantime, governors and state public health officials started organizing and leading the way to protect lives and the sp3rrad of the epidemics. The stock market plunge made this incompetent administration realize that something needs to be done-NOT people dying, NOT increasing number of positive cases, NOT the safety of the American people. How incredibly sad and disgusting in the same time.
D. Lipsitz (Wisconsin)
Trump's "base" does not see him as the source of their woes, and they trust him more than they would the deity they claim to follow. To them, he can do no wrong. As for American memory, it is that of a goldfish, Once the crisis has passed, we'll swim around the fishbowl a few times and forget all about COVID-19. I hope I am wrong, but I seriously doubt it. After all, look how fast Republicans forgot all about 9-11-2001 (while accusing their opposition of doing so) and joking about the WMD's that magically disappeared (along with any facilities to build them, the mobile chemical warfare trucks, and our national credibility), and yet Bush Jr. was reelected. Unless this crisis extends into the general election, and we actually are allowed to hold said election, I would not place too much faith in the memories of those who elected Trump despite knowing full well what he was about. My advice to minimize the fallout from superstorm in a dumpster fire? Ignore Trump, and for G-d's sake keep him off social media. That means not printing/posting his lies, his ego trips, and his childish fits. Electronically and publicly isolate him and only pay attention to experts who know how best to handle this global crisis. Be thankful this wasn't a major military conflict, because far more would die under Trump from that than from all the viruses we are susceptible to, combined.
Sandy Courser (Los Angeles)
I'm convinced that all of this hoarding and panic buying can be laid at Trump's door. It's obvious that he has no idea what he's doing and that he's too incompetent to lead at all, especially in this crisis. When people don't trust the president, it's too easy to let the primal part of the brain take over and scream, "Shortages!" when they see an empty shelf at the grocery store. Then they buy 30 packages of toilet paper, leaving more vacant space to trigger the next poor shopper.
KB (Brewster,NY)
Again, Professor Emeritus Trump is only speaking to and for half the population of the country. If you don't think or believe in his words of wisdom, you are probably not a "Trumpite". You probably don't believe the facts that Trump had " a brillant" uncle, who taught at M.I.T., and that Trump never attended medical school himself makes him eminently qualified to to refute Dr. Fauci, whose recommendations for addressing the Corona virus have been the opposite of everything Doctor Trump has said. Trump supporters DO believe Trump's judgement supersedes trained professionals, including Dr. Fauci who only has 50 years of experience in medical epidemiological medicine. Yes, Trump represents a deadly lack of leadership, but only because of the enormous number of his ignorant followership.
Quilly Gal (Sector Three)
Trump got elected. I take no responsibility at all.
Bring Back Barry (Philadlephia)
Time to invoke the 25th!
Stephanie Butler (Oregon)
"Leading a cult is not the same as leading a country. Presidential leadership is born of character — morality, honesty, courage, stability..." Amen and amen. Sadly, you've hit the nail on the head Mr. Blow.
woofers (Seattle)
The price of playing poker with the nation’s fate has risen. It’s no longer abstract and theoretical. Although the immediate results are tragic, there are benefits as well. For awhile it looked like Trump might not be seriously tested and his incompetence not fully exposed. Now that concern has Ben allayed. Only Trump’s fellow lunatics and the most densely ideological of his supporters can plausibly continue to pretend that his reign is benign. If Americans return this buffoon to office after this pathetic performance, they will have no one but themselves to blame for the consequences.
Tom Hayden (Minnesota)
And this, this is just a dress rehearsal for another far worse crisis: climate change. Global warming also will not be amenable through willful ignorance. The frog in the pot goes humm de dumm.
Kathy Lollock (Santa Rosa, CA)
Charles, what did people expect of Donald Trump during a time of crisis? Was this not all predictable from Day One? Even during the Obama administration when that wonderful man was successfully steering our nation's runaway train back on the track, he still had the Gulf Spill and the Ebola crisis. Both of which he was on in a proverbial split second. How many times was he the Consoler-in-Chief who shed tears for those who lost their lives at the hands of crazed white men who took the 2nd Amendment to its nadir. We now have a fraud sitting in the White House who threats you, me, and all Americans as people not deserving of respect, dignity, and certainly equality. Trump is a man who denies global warming, criticizes the need for vaccines, and refuses to heed the advice of infectious disease experts, all because of his egomania and profound narcissism. So far, in spite of egregious and heinous actions, in spite of being impeached, he remains unscathed. FOX continues to support him as do his Cabinet, McConnell Inc, and disturbingly his MAGA family. He has always been the wrong "president," most especially during this devastating pandemic. You write, "Trump's thoroughly inept handling of this crisis will not pass from the American memory easily." Oh, how I hope you are right.
ALF (Philadelphia)
Leopards do not change their spots, and Trump cannot change his behavior. After years being quintessential Trump he continues now in that mode and this will lead the US to have more deaths than it would have otherwise, and nothing coming from his mouth should be believed since he has not earned the trust of so many Americans and maybe, just maybe, his rabid followers we see his flaws. This is real and all the lies in the world will not wash it away.
Stan La Vin (Oz)
Trump says he doesn’t have coronavirus, but can you suddenly believe him?
Lawrence Garvin (San Francisco)
We should all “just relax” as the Mad King tells us. After all, he has put Jared in charge.
R.S. (New York City)
Has there ever been a crisis in America for which the President was so unprepared, so out of his depth? With the exception of a small rump of ever-Trumpers -- sadly including Fox News -- is there anyone left who will defend this president, or this presidency? A sliver of silver lining: "I don't take responsibility at all" will go down in history as one of Trump's defining utterances. Together with "good people on both sides", it will form bookends to this awful presidency and come to define this uninformed, incurious, mendacious narcissist.
Edward (Bellingham Wa)
My bumper stickers “Donald Trump: Enemy of the People” and “Make Lying Wrong Again” are continually highly relevant. It is my fervent hope to remove them in November. Keep on keepin’ on, Charles!
Drusilla Hawke (Kennesaw, Georgia)
A Brief History of the Trump Presidency: “I alone can fix it” (2016). “I don’t take any responsibility at all” (2020). This slim volume, whose reviews have been “perfect,” is now available in the bath-tissue section of your favorite grocery store.
Black Goose (Manhattan)
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." -- President Ronald Reagan, first inaugural January 1981 "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." -- Galatians 6:7
KenThe Vibe (A)
The scary thing about trump’s mishandling of this epidemic is that there appears to be a solid following that believes GOD put him in power now precisely to preside over these end-times plagues. I’ve heard the commentators bloviate over how his bumbling will finally expose the incompetent fraud that he is. But I’m afraid it may have the opposite effect - biblical prophecy made real. And the Hannitys Ingrahams and Limbaugh’s pound it out daily.
T. Rivers (Seattle)
Everyday, Trump makes himself like a totally incompetent clown lying about why he didn’t do his homework. I do, however, continue to be impressed by the likes of Andrew Cuomo, Gavin Newsome, and Jay Inslee. Fortunately there are some local governors of competence and gravitas.
Jeff (Tucson)
"That puts lives in danger, and surely, in the end, will have cost lives." OK, and Trump cares because...?
Milton Lewis (Hamilton Ontario)
I just do not get it. At a time when Trump should be focused on the worst American calamity since the Second World War he is spending time thinking about pardoning his friend Michael Flynn. The man/child is both shameless and incorrigible.
morGan (NYC)
The House must subpoena John Bolton on why he, or who order him to, disband the pandemic office of NSC? If he did it on his own, he must be prosecuted for the lives lost. If the impeached WH occupant orders him to do it, then both must be held accountable. Don't let him get away with this. Citzen die and will continue to die.
Bill Roach (California)
Donald Trump’s behaviour is reminiscent of the fable, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”. Except in this real life scenario he did and continues to do quite the opposite. “Nothing to see here. Move along. All is well. I have everything under control.” With oily, greasy hands he has massaged his worshipping cult followers, enhanced his world wide Trump criminal enterprise, and overtly proved Bloomberg’s accurate description of being nothing more than a con man.
Liz DeMarco (NJ)
This pandemic, more than anything the Democrats can do, will sink Trump in November.
AR (Oregon)
@Liz DeMarco I certainly hope so. One problem is that the MAGAmaniacs probably do not believe that there is a crisis since Trump tells them how "great" he is doing. The narrative that these people are immersed in is a 180 turn from reality. The disconnection from reality never ceases to amaze me.
Connie (NJ)
@Liz DeMarco God willing it surly should cause a Democratic landslide. #Biden46
Jacq (Oregon)
@AR Talked to my family yesterday, and they don't think it's a big deal. They think it is all media hype, Trump haters and "hair on fire" types. "Just look at the numbers". "Less than the flu". With no connection to the idea / understanding, that if there are no test, then that equals artificially low numbers. They still plan on voting for Trump again. "Its all a lie to get the Great Trump out of office".
KatyDaly (Exeter NY)
I am 63YO. I am very afraid. I am not so afraid of the virus, but seriously concerned about how our President is ignoring it. Give all the speeches you want about what a great economy you personally have created, and then watch it all fail because your ego is out of control.
J.R.B. (Southwest AR)
@KatyDaly Ego played a big part in it, but the root problem is that the man is in way over his head, he does not possess the qualities, the capability, and the knowledge and leadership skills for the job, and never did. Many people simply keep their blinders on regarding his business/professional life in the years leading up to 2016. He took hundreds of millions from his father and squandered it in failed and bankrupt business ventures. He stiffed contractors and others he owed for services they performed for him. He squandered huge bank loans (and yet they proved to be enablers by giving him further loans). His personal life was as murky and sordid as his professional life. So now he's faced with a crisis on two fronts (public health and the economy) and he's being looked to for guidance. The aftermath is going to prove very unforgiving to a who was in deep over his head from since election day 2016.
Robbiesimon (Washington)
More wonderful writing from Mr. Blow. Thanks. (However, as eloquent as he is, he still can’t quite capture the horror that is Donald Trump - but no one can.) One quibble, however. Mr. Blow says Trump is “more concerned with his own image and electoral prospects than with the safety and security of the American people.” I think the his record proves he isn’t concerned with the safety and security of the American people AT ALL.
lastcard jb (westport ct)
KMW - You say you would vote again for a man that completely ignored a dangerous pathogen, downplayed its effects, dragged his feet when he should have been proactive. His total disregard for the people of the United States , lack of empathy and general lack of leadership is appalling . This is his crisis and no one elses. This can't happen again and with an ineffectual person in control it will. People aren't blaming him for the virus, they are blaming him for the abysmal response.
willw (CT)
I make copies of articles I want to keep which inform the characteristics of the day they were printed. This description of what Trump presents is the most truthful and complete I have read so far. I will make a copy of Mr. Blow's article and keep it close for easy reference.
Durango2 (Boulder, Colorado)
And yesterday he falsely claimed that its not a big deal for young people, they'll be fine. I don't which is more terrifying, his absolute ignorance or his on-going childish bluffing. But wait, now we learn he offered to buy a German vaccine company and obtain sole rights to a COVID 19 vaccine. Seriously, short of a military coup, how can he be removed from office now?
Brandy Danu (Madison, WI)
@Durango2 HOARDING - (& Profiting...) I don't think the Germans are going for this insanity.
Alan C Gregory (Mountain Home, Idaho)
Like the commander of an Air Force fighter wing, the president is ultimately responsible for what happens on his watch. He has shown, repeatedly in recent days, that he is not a true leader. He is everything but...
LTCKal (Columbus, OH)
We are getting a taste of Totalitarian leadership. In Totalitarian systems, such as they are, there is only one goal: to keep the leader in power. All energy surrounding the leader is expended for this purpose, and there is nothing left to solve other problems. Even the thought that a leader might need help is seen as treason. In a word, all else is neglected, included existential crises. The people are left to fend for themselves, which they do, but piecemeal. This is the way the Soviet Union staggered around for decades until it finally collapsed.
William Mutterperl (NYC)
No, Trump didn't bring us this virus. And if we had a better leader, we still would have a serious problem. And if his Administration hadn't eliminated the Pandemic Task Force set up by Obama, we still would have a Pandemic. But when Trump said over the weekend he knew nothing bout the Task Force's elimination, the decision must have been made by someone in his Administration, and then stepped away from the microphone and deferred to Dr. Faucci, he hit a no low, which for Donald Trump is hard to do.
BigSon1 (Washington DC)
My fervent hope is that America will rub their hand over that scar which Blow tells us that fear and panic has etched into our collective memory - and that we will remember that scar when it comes times to vote!
Hothouse Flower (USA)
I'll wait to finger point until after we have (hopefully) emerged on the other side of this crisis. There are more important things to think about than Trump doing or not doing what when, and nothing will give me greater joy than to be able to Monday morning quarterback when I can analyze this crisis in my rear view mirror. But until then all I can say is that we are all in this together, be socially responsible in your decisions and be decent to one another. Articles like this are just not helpful right now.
Tran Trong (Fairfax, VA)
@Hothouse Flower It's not a Monday morning quarterback when people have been screaming their hearts out from the beginning only to be called a hoax.
Barking Doggerel (America)
I am surprised that no one is calling his behavior what it is: criminal negligence. The definition of criminal negligence: "Recklessly acting without reasonable caution and putting another person at risk of injury or death or failing to do something with the same consequences." No reasonable person can view Trump's acting or failing to act as anything other than criminal negligence resulting in the deaths of thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of innocent people. It is impeachable, indictable, felonious, malicious, imprisonable behavior. We may not respond with appropriate seriousness, but we should at least call it what it is, not whitewash it as incompetence or narcissism.
Consiglieri (NYC)
Fear the incompetency worse than the gaslighting. Forecasts by pandemic medical doctors estimate 70% possibility of contagion. Do the math at a 3.7% mortality rate, much higher for seniors and persons with other risk factors. This virus will be present in our lives for years, and the only solution besides fast track research is social distancing to aminorate the contagion exposure. Truth must be told that at this time the chances of mortality will rise, because hospitals do not have the capacity of beds, respirators and intensive care units, for urgent care cases. It is criminal to lie and fabricate to our citizens in an effort to deviate responsibility.
C. Davison (Alameda, CA)
Any chance the majority of GOP Senators that acquitted Trump will have a moral epiphany? Use existing impeachment documents and bring in witnesses and documents earlier eschewed. Or do they prefer dead constituents and economic Armageddon?
Edgar (NM)
When you avoid, lie about, or ignore a problem, it always becomes worse, it does not go away. Adults know this. Immature people not so much.
Bill Carter (Eau Claire, WI)
I await polling on whether any significant share of Trump true believers have changed their minds about his "leadership."
Tran Trong (Fairfax, VA)
@Bill Carter 45% still trust him to handle coronavirus pandemic, we are doomed.
Dave Davis (Virginia)
many good people warned us in 2015 and 16 that DT was unfit to be president and millions didnt listen. Now we have a dysfunctional white house in the midst of the worst medical crisis in generations. We need to go vote in Nov and remove Trump for the sake of our well-being.
Olivia (New York, NY)
“This will leave a scar.” You wish! I refer you to an article in this paper over the weekend: Trump Supporters Knew Where to Turn in a Crisis - To Him by Elaina Plott and Dionne Searcey. It is because he leads a cult that whatever he says/does they will follow/believe/trust and vote for him again. Nothing will dissuade them. That’s why the GOP embraced and enables him. He created the support and infrastructure for a permanent Republican majority. They have a lock on the levers of power now. And they didn’t do it in secret! We all looked on as Karl Rove articulated the goal and Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch and Mitch McConnell worked (and are still working) their “magic.” The Republican “base” sees Trump as he sees himself: as the only one, along with his family, deserving of being elevated to the “throne.” His status will only change if and when they understand how he sees them: with disdain for not being billionaires, zero compassion and only as votes (not people) to keep him elevated. So far it seems they are still viewing him through rose colored glasses.
PaulM (Ridgecrest Ca)
I agree with all that is written but that is not the worst of it. Trump above all is an opportunist, and he will likely evolve to see this crisis s an opportunity. With all of the discussions of domestic travel bands, the use of the military domestically, national guard, quarantines, postponement of primary elections curfews and executive orders, therein he will see the opportunities. He could cancel the November election indefinitely and retain the presidency and cement his autocracy. Trump doesn't care one iota about the well being of this country, he only cares the opportunities that it provides to himself. We're in danger from more than just the virus.
Tran Trong (Fairfax, VA)
@PaulM And maximum tax cuts, lowest interest rates to help himself.
Frosty (D.C.)
The lies are the most difficult. Do we know he he tested negative? How do we know that. With a president who lies as often as Trump, it's difficult to know what the truth is. Almost everything he has said in the last few weeks has been contradicted by experts.
Michele (Seattle)
I am listening to Gov. Andrew Cuomo present a master class in leadership during a time of crisis. Would that we had anything resembling that from the current denizen of the White House. We need the governors to take control of this situation since we have no effective leadership from the “I take no responsibility at all” president. Immediate construction of field hospitals and surge capacity has to happen now. Get the Army Corps of Engineers and the National Guard mobilized especially in hot areas like ours. And everyone, stay home as much as possible!
Enrique (Los Angeles)
Like many this election year, Charles M. Blow focuses on Trump's failings in curing the catastrophic coronavirus disease engulfing humanity. As this disease spreads, this is also a failure of democracy. And when we consider other countries such as Italy or Egypt, this is also a failure of government. In the whole sweep of history, this is not the only or biggest failure of government. On slavery, it failed in pharonic Egypt and in America from British King George to to the American James Buchanan. The catastrophic coronavirus failure is part of the arc of government; we wouldn't be aware of crucial elements in this disaster if we had overlooked government's characteristics.
Judy (Canada)
Now Trump's ignorance, incompetence, and narcissism will cost lives. He has willfully ignored advice of experts and knowingly given misinformation to the public to minimize the threat of this virus. That the richest country in the world has such an inadequate response is appalling. Of course the fact that your healthcare system is based on profit rather than the needs of all of your citizens does not help. How can hospitals be coordinated if they are profit centers and owned by corporations and other groups? There are two truths that are glaring here. The first is that Trump is utterly incapable of providing the leadership necessary in this crisis. He cannot even provide the information given to him by his team without skewing it to his advantage, keeping himself as blameless as possible while claiming credit for anything he can. The second is the weakness of a healthcare system that is geared to make money, including the insurers who usually look for ways not to cover claims. The US spends more money than any other developed country on healthcare, but has dismal outcomes on many indicators like infant mortality. If you are very rich, of course you have access to great care. If you arent't, good luck. Thank God for Anthony Fauci, the voice of truth and reason in this, and his refusal to kowtow to Trump. This virus knows no borders, no nationalities, no political or religious affiliations. You are all in this together. We, around the world, are all in this together.
jdmignola (NJ)
Just watched Governor Andrew Cuomo's press conference regarding how NY state is dealing with this crisis. This is what leadership actually looks like.
MDB (Indiana)
Trump showed his hand the other day when he denied responsibility for disbanding the pandemic task force months ago. This latest passing of the buck, which up to now has always stopped at the Resolute Desk, is forcing state and local governments to take action on their own, creating a inconsistency of emergency responses that could lead to an even bigger crisis (if that is even possible). But, this inaction at the federal level creates the very means for him to again hide behind his seal of the office, point fingers, lay blame, and further distance himself from doing the job he was sworn to do — all while continuing to look “presidential”. His platitudes from the podium are now nothing more than the magical thinking and denial of facts and reality that he’s engaged in since Day One. But now it’s no longer a joke — it’s a matter of life and death. Trump: the biggest coward and the worst “leader” we have ever seen. Ever.
jill otey (portland or)
One can only hope. Unfortunately, it is far more likely that his cult of followers and his enablers in the GOP will continue to believe and/or mouth exactly what he erratically spews when he garbles out his self-congratulations. One can only hope those outside the actual death grip of his cult will now see the truth etched large in this disastrous morality play that is his residency in the most important position in the world. Or it used to be ... until he began walking away from America's position as moral and practical leader of the free world.
Lmb (Co)
“A Deadly Lack Of Leadership” combined with “I take no responsibility for it” means we are going to be in a world of hurt, pain, and death until trump is voted out of office. How many people will die as a result of his failure to lead our country?
Jeffery Schul (richmond va)
As Charles points out Trump cannot lead by example because he is himself. In a perverse way, I hope this is the nail in the coffin which precludes his reelection.
Thomas Payne (Blue North Carolina)
My wife just reported that the parking lot at the local liquor-store is packed.
John (SF ca)
First, they came for the press, and I did not object. Next, they came for the scientists, and I said nothing. Then, it was the Constitution, and I held my tongue. Then the virus came for me, and I was silenced by it.
Midwest Mom (St. Louis, MO)
@John Bravo, Sir. Thank you.
Connie (NJ)
@John This is so true. Most of us Democrats have been complaining about the lying, incompetence and corruption of Donald Trump since he took office. It was obvious he was in over his head from his first day in office. He’s an embarrassment to the USA in front of the entire world. He has damaged all of our international relationships. He should be forced to immediately resign the office and let VP Pence take over for the remainder of this Presidency. Ever single time Trump speaks during this time of crisis, he clearly inspires no confidence and strikes fear into the hearts of the vast majority of citizens.
Liliane (Canada)
@John Did you ever nailed it! Congrats.
simon simon (los angeles)
As a lifelong Republican, I would like to see Trump and GOP create effective solutions to this covid and economic catastrophe. Why is it that the Democrats are on the forefront with policy solutions such as free testing and support for affected workers, while Trump and GOP are missing in action or are in denial? This catastrophe is not a hoax! My family members who are doctors have compiled the data of the exponential growth of infections and deaths. Just today, I personally have seen the bare store shelves at Walmart and Costco and all my local grocery stores. I’ve never seen life this bad in America. It’s disgraceful! If Trump and GOP don’t do better handling this catastrophe, I’m going to vote for someone else who can get the job done!
Peter (Michigan)
The implication is you are still considering voting for Trump and republicans despite all of this. I continue to be flabbergasted by Republicans. Even an apparent apocalypse doesn’t move the dial with them. Incredible.
David adamson (Silver Spring, MD)
@simon simon Why is that the case? Because the Republican party is now ruled by big money interests and cares little for the average American. Democrats want to help people, not prop up the profits of giant corporations. Repubiicans have become allergic to policies that benefit the middle class and lower-income people. Won't raise the minimum wage, won't support student loan forgiveness, and are systematically undoing environmental regulations and by doing so making America's health and air/water quality worse. The basic package of emergency support measures passed by the House was labeled "an ideological wish list" by Mitch McConnell. You have to wonder why Republicans have no policy ideas for this crisis? It's not in their DNA. They will have to be dragged into doing something by the sheer volumne of the crisis.
David Albrecht (Kansas City)
@simon simon For 40 years, through endless repetition and amplification, the GOP has blasted out the same message to this country and to the world - "Government BAD! Business GOOD!" And after decades of denigration and defunding government, the GOP and GOP voters like yourself are shocked, shocked! to discover that government doesn't work well when run by people who despise the very idea of government. Case in point - the Obama administration created a multi-agency system to track and prepare for epidemics. The CDC at that time had field operatives tracking disease outbreaks in 40 countries. In 2018, Trump deliberately eliminated this system, and removed disease response from the NSA, and now the CDC works in 10 countries, thanks to budget cuts. So, paying attention now? That's nice.
Mike F. (NJ)
My reaction is mixed. Trump totally blew it with conflicting "facts" and his abhorrence at science when it doesn't support his desires and outlook. He stumbled badly when trying to read prepared statements. Compare his performance with what you would expect from Obama or Reagan. He put Pence in charge of the covid-19 effort but Pence more than anyone in the administration believes in the power of prayer rather than science. Prayer can't hurt but it's science that will save us. Trump reduced funding for the CDC and eliminated the NSC group that evaluated the risks if pandemics and disease. Yes, I agree. Trump has displayed a deadly lack of leadership. Covid-19 is not his fault but his handling of the crisis leaves much to be desired. On the plus side, I applaud Trump's goal of bringing jobs and manufacturing back to the US. The greed of Corporate America for profits has lead to an over-reliance on other countries, especially China, who is definitely not our friend. China is a sole source of supply for many of our critical commodities ranging from drugs to n95 face masks. To the extent possible, all critical commodities and the raw materials needed to produce them should be produced in the US, and perhaps a few trusted allies like Canada. Trump is absolutely right in this respect.
Paul Kunz (Missouri)
I believe our true leaders have decided to ignore Trump. Thank you Governors, mayors, school boards and superintendents, church leaders, chancellors, and professional and collegiate sports authorities.
Occupy Government (Oakland)
A greater fear is that Congress fails to raise a quorum and cannot act. Then Trump assumes executive enforcement of the laws (he likes) and postpones the election... for the public safety. We'd better stay tuned to government even as it fails to deal with the pandemic.
Celine (Munich, Germany)
As a German resident, I must say I’m shocked by the response to this pandemic situation, not only by trump but also Boris Johnson. They complete have shown a lack of leadership which will cost a lot of lives, only not to appear weak in the media. While countries like Italy and South Korea taught us how to act and what to do/not to do, closing borders and ordering quarantine, U.K. and USA should have learned in return from us. Nothing is worse than chaos and incompetent leadership, it will hopefully open the citizens eyes so that they demand a more competent professional at the top, one who is a role model to every single one of the countries inhabitants. Many lives will be claimed - sadly - , quarantine is about to come for months!
Thomas Zaslavsky (Binghamton, N.Y.)
@Celine Those who do not want government are not the ones who can make government work well.
Anne-Marie Hislop (Chicago)
@Celine If you are shocked by the response of Trump & Boris Johnson, you really haven't been paying attention. In fact, both are responding in character.
sandra (candera)
@Celine Boris Johnson & trump were the result of Paul Manafort's ten years of working on "Putin's Global Vision" of taking down democracies & installing right wing fascists & outright dictators;it's no coincidence the rise of the right is global, it was Putin's Vision to recreate the Russian Empire. And the corrupt GOP Senate & McConnell played for pay with Putin. This is in line with the 1% Evangelicals, a nonchristian group that follows "Left Behind" and not the words of Jesus. The 1% corrupt take care of themselves;the tests will never come if we wait for trump.
mmwhite (San Diego)
I hope this will not pass out of American memory easily. Trump has made the situation exponentially worse by his many, many character flaws, but even he might not have put so many people at risk if we did not have one political party that has devoted 40 years to dismembering our government, and particularly any part of it that smacks of socialism - like universal health care, and a decent baseline of benefits for the ordinary worker. If people knew that they would be tested (for free) as soon as a disease started spreading, treated (for free) if they got sick, and could stay home (with pay) while they were sick, I suspect we would be looking at a much slower infection rate, to the benefit of the entire population (even the rich folks who are so loath to pay a few taxes to support this kind of thing). If we had decent funding for hospitals, we would have fewer worries about overloading them. And if we valued (and funded) science, we might see things coming and get cures sooner. Trump isn't the only Republican who needs to be voted out of office, come November.
JRW (Canada)
@mmwhite Thank you. I agree with everything you say. The only thing I would suggest is that you use the term "social safety net" instead of "socialism". The one ensures that a society protects all its citizens, especially its most vulnerable citizens. The other is a governing system that uses central planning for many/all of the economic activities within a country, a system which has failed time and again, often due to corruption. They both start with the letter "s". Other than that, they are very different concepts. Thanks again. Vote out the Republicans for your own safety!
Rich Pein (La Crosse Wi)
@mmwhite Vote them all out. I also want to point out that the Titans of Industry and Retail referred to the people as consumers. Not one of them referred to us as citizens. We have been commodified. We are just interchangeable parts giving them our money. This is the culture that should change.
ML (Boston)
@mmwhite Republicans would call public libraries socialism and ban them now if anyone tried to suggest we initiate such a public good. And they already do call public schools socialism and try to steamroller them with charter schools. So the words we use matter ... but Republicans call any reasonable person's "social safety net" socialism.
Pat Lunn (Milwaukee WI)
This mess was brought to you in part by the people who've been screaming for years that the best government is no government at all. They've put government agencies on a starvation diet (except, of course for the ones they like), and now these agencies are weakened when we desperately need them.
TMSquared (Santa Rosa CA)
@Pat Lunn I keep thinking of Ronald Reagan's "folksy" quip: "The 9 most frightening words in the English language are 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help." That sentiment has governed our politics for 40 years. I hope we'll take the collective lesson that an honest and effective government working in the public interest is essential to a decent civilization, if not to the survival of civilization itself.
Saturn (cottonwood ca)
@Pat Lunn It has always been only a matter of time that a catastrophe that requires intelligent, coordinated government response would happen. When Steve Bannon proclaimed the end of the administrative state, he proclaimed the end of that which, right now, we desperately need. We need administrators who can co-ordinate a unified response and deploy resources. But the Trumpers intentionally damaged our government, our ability to work together to solve great challenges. Government at its best is us. He has devastated us in order to benefit corporations to plunder all resources, including American workers, with no brakes and no regard for consequences.
Eli (RI)
@Saturn Which explains why Trump failed to act resolutely. purposefully and quickly to get testing kits. Trump and his ilk thought testing kits would exacerbate the public relations problem making visible the number of people getting infected daily. It is the reason Trump even suggested some can even go to work with COVID-19. If we did not test maybe people would not know the extend of the problem. You recognize Trump's simple and simplistic reasoning of the proverbial ostrich putting their head in the sand. It is the thinking of the naked emperor not knowing people can see him. Let's hope the dynamic actions by Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases that filled the vacuum of responsibility and Trump's lack of leadership, came in time to prevent the catastrophe.
JoeG (Houston)
China, Italy, Spain and the United States are not very efficient for now. Mexico had a big out door music festival with many attendee's but also televised a soccer match with no one in the stadium. Cuomo in a interview made plenty of lame excuses for not closing down schools and then closed down schools. He could have done it sooner. Nothing goes as smoothly in a crisis as we'd like. Except in Scandinavian countries. Denmark maybe not. They weren't restricting travel because they believe it wouldn't contain the virus. Maybe they changed their minds by now. We're in full panic mode thanks to the media but might even be worse than we thought. In Italy 368 died yesterday. But how does any leader take the models of a few scientists as fact. What if he shuts down everything and not much happens? He'd be a joke wouldn't he? Maybe some objective reporting could be done on how Obama handled the swine flu pandemic. Just for some perspective.
Ad (Scottsdale)
We are only in full panic mode because we don’t know who is sick with COVID 19 and who is not. If there had been sufficient testing capacity prepared, we would know who to isolate and there would be no panic. There was no preparation because of a failure of leadership
Marie (Grand Rapids)
We are in full panic mode because the US gave up on international organizations and failed to lead the battle against the virus. There is no one else than America to do that job, and here we are. Actions are not even coordinated inside the US. It's a terrible mess.
Tom Hawkins (California)
A leader doesn’t worry about their perception. This is in reference to your comment “What if he shuts down everything and nothing happens? He’d be seen as a joke.” And therein lies the problem with running his administration based on PR. Trump is no leader.
NorthernVirginia (Falls Church, VA)
Let us be clear: This catastrophe originated and spread under the autocratic rule of Chairman for Life Xi Jinping of China. Chairman Xi's encouragement and toleration of the exotic wildlife trade guaranteed the emergence of the present contagion as well as many others to come. Chairman Xi's paranoid policies, intolerance of internal criticism, and fear of foreign judgment guaranteed that the rest of the world would be ignorant of the true nature or extent of this plague. So, go ahead and criticize how others have reacted to this global pandemic, but remember that Chairman Xi and the Chinese Communist Party are the sole cause.
lieberma (Philadelphia PA)
Do not agree. Trump has assembled an impressive team to Fight the coronavirus and provide economic relief.
The Pessimistic Shrink (Henderson, NV)
@lieberma I know this is a matter of different perspectives, which have recondite reasons, but for me and millions of others it is so obvious that Trump has been cajoled and tantalized with ego-satisfying rewards into supporting the helpful steps he has endorsed. No way on God's earth did he initiate a molecule of analysis, interest in expertise, or prosocial energies toward the alleviation of the nation's suffering.
Patio Furniture (Corolla, NC)
Sorry, to tell you this. That impressive team was forced on Trump, after his repeated fumbling turned a potentially manageable problem into a national emergency.
Carolyn (Altadena, CA)
@lieberma The economic relief is woefully inadequate for most working class people. Unemployment insurance is generally less than half of a person's salary. It simply cannot stretch far enough for most people who live in California, as well as other parts of the country where rents and mortgages are an unreasonable share of one's income. If people become homeless because of their job being shut down, and having no school to send their kids to, then that will compound this problem greatly.
Olivia (NYC)
Trump is doing everything that Obama would have done without the criticism.
Jack (Houston)
Already forgot how Obama appropriately reacted to the pre-2012 mid terms manufactured Ebola crisis? Not remembering the criticism played in loop by wingnut media, that is until the mid-terms, nothing afterward...? How self serving, convenient and partisan of you...
Nancie (San Diego)
@Olivia Do you mean that Pres. Obama would have blamed others, not taken responsibility, and called it a republican hoax? Where have you been living? Near a Fox tv station?
Ronald B. Duke (Oakbrook Terrace, Il.)
Leadership presupposes direction--what, in the present instance, is the right direction? It's already understood that medical interventions are of limited value, prevention through self-isolation is so far the best thing. What Mr. Trump can and is doing is preventing the financial system from seizing-up. Beyond that encouraging words and reassurances that the government cares achieve very little. Let's stop attacking President Trump for not doing what can't be done; let's try supporting him for doing what he can actually do--and please, I know leftists can't do this, but let's try leaving politics out of it just for now.
Nina (H)
@Ronald B. Duke You just injected politics into it. I agree with the columnist, trump has not handled this well and his concern should focus on the public health system under his direction as potus. The stock market should be secondary.
Jack Walsh (Lowell, MA)
@Ronald B. Duke Tin ear. When there is massive, realistic fear flowing through the population, standing up in a goofy hat saying relax just makes everything worse. If trying to keep the financial system from falling apart is the best he can do, so be it. On a related issue, this does remind me of 2008, when the mavens of finance ultimately fled to the protections of government intervention. There are no capitalists in foxholes.
David Bruce (New Orleans)
@Ronald B. Duke I'll leave Trump's dubious economic proposals out of it. What he could and should have done was to take this threat seriously from the start, and most critically, ramp up testing capabilities earlier as was done in other countries. Though we have 3000 known cases, in reality it will be weeks before we have any idea how many cases are truly circulating because so few people can be tested. Even with a doctor's order, no one gets tested without meeting very restrictive criteria (basically either symptoms and contact with a proven case, or critical illness on life support with no other explanation). Those in the community with suggestive symptoms but no traceable contact cannot get tested as things stand today. Until we have widespread testing basically we are stuck telling the whole country to stay home and take no chances. Trump's procrastination and denial is damaging the economy in ways that cannot be alleviated by cutting taxes and interest rates. He simply is not qualified for his job.
Charles Becker (Perplexed)
After careful observation and sober deliberation, I have come to realize that what bothers us most about Trump is that he is a mirror in which we see ... ourselves. All of us. See ourselves.
Walsh (UK)
Well, in as much as being good is struggle for all of us, and he isn't struggling.
ShawGynan (Bellingham)
I disagree. I recently retired from 30 years of university work and I led an honest and productive career. I prided myself on being fair to everyone and in keeping politics out of the classroom. I do not see that honesty in Trump.
S.P. (MA)
@Charles Becker — You have achieved what seems to be the most obscure rendition yet of the, "Both sides do it," excuse.
Mike a. (Fairfax VA)
Please. NYT. I promise to subscribe-for-life if you suspend all Trump-bashing articles until the coronavirus emergency is over. Everyone is trying to do the best they can, These articles help *none*.
Yes - please stop. I don’t want to know about the incompetence of our president while our president’s incompetence is causing harm to our nation. Perhaps an opinion piece on why puppies are so cute?
Mari (Left Coast)
@Mike, fact is: Trump said it was a “hoax” ....he said “we will be down to zero cases”....he refused test kits back in early January from WHO! The POTUS IS responsible! As Truman said, “the buck stops here.” To not criticize incompetence is to live in ....tyranny!
@Mike a. Even in the midst of this crisis, the only person Trump is trying to help is Trump. So, no, the media needs to continue to report on his incompetence, lies and general idiocy.
I'll take my chances like Millions of others with the incumbent come November. After watching Bernie and Joe argue about who could stop the Ebola virus last night its a No Brainer. Trump will get it right. Our country is in much better shape than Europe and Iran. I have no doubt this country under his Leadership will do what needs to be done, despite the naysayers on the Left that are trying to make this "Trumps Katrina or 9-11".
Brad Blumenstock (St. Louis)
Denial of reality will destroy this country. Congratulations on doing your part to hasten the end.
Carol lee (Minnesota)
@WB Its just started. Rather than listening to Trump, listen to the infectious disease specialists.
Wendy Sizer (Tucson AZ)
I am elderly and I have a respiratory illness. I still work as a psychotherapist, a profession I dearly love. My health and my career, thanks to 43, are in serious jeopardy. And I'm sure this is the case for a multitude of others in this country. We cannot be tested as his narcissistic personality disorder dictates self-aggrandizement before all else. What's more, if we choose self-quarantine, how long should we remain so? No one has any idea how many people are infected, thanks to his presidential foot-dragging. His mental illness, especially in the face of this pandemic, continues to plague (pun intended) this country, its people, our economy, our institutions and our morale at a deeper level than ever before. This man needs help, but certainly not at the expense of the American people and our democracy.
Son Of Liberty (nyc)
Commentators like Charles M. Blow need to stop and take a deep breath. We should look at some facts: Donald Trump DID show himself to be a "visionary" leader because in 2018, Trump fired the US pandemic response team. More brilliantly Donald Trump's fiscal year 2021 budget proposal included a 16 percent reduction in CDC funding from the 2020 spending levels. We don't know how this will resolve, but I will bet anyone a case of hand sanitizer that Donald Trump will be considered, to have done more damage to our country than any other American in our entire history.
Ian MacFarlane (Philadelphia)
Trump is the tip of the Republican Party's pyramid scheme. A thusfar untouched fall guy in it for the money and ego who has taken our eyes off the prize. He will retire unscathed and wealthier. His deep pocketed backers have successfully packed our entire Federal Court system with a judiciary which will favorably rule for their literal monetary enrichment and class separation for decades. He has done his job.
Max (NYC)
This and other columns in the Times would have us thinking that people are keeling over in the streets. Meanwhile, we're sitting 69 deaths. In China, a backward country with a billion people, where the virus started, has a death toll of about 3500. These numbers should be comforting. But the media can't resist the opportunity to sell papers and push their agenda. They stir up the fear, which then pressures the government to shut down the whole country, which then allows them to breathlessly report an economic meltdown. Great situation for the media, not so good for the rest of us.
Suzanne (New Jersey)
In addition to the disregard for our health and well being, this amateur has created another situation where he and his wealthy cohort will no doubt make a killing investing while prices are low and the rest of us will foot the bill and suffer the consequences.
Rob (Vernon, B.C.)
Trump's approval rating is undiminished, despite his tragic, irresponsible and ongoing bungling of this crisis. Please, Americans, throw off your rose colored glasses and accept the cold reality your country faces. The Trump base will remain loyal to the grave. And I mean that literally. Trump supporters on their deathbeds with Covid19 will still support him. Until the rest of the nation truly understands this fact, Trump's likelihood of remaining president after November is extremely high. Make no mistake, Trump will find ways to use this growing crisis to his advantage. With Trump, absolutely nothing is off the table. From extreme measures like martial law or postponing the election to more insidious ones like disenfranchisement efforts or courting foreign aid while the focus is on fighting the virus, Trump will work this to his advantage and his people will stick with him. Do not underestimate the viciousness and amorality of your president.
larkspur (dubuque)
Let's focus on what we can do now. Trump will be president throughout the year. There will be no impeachment for incompetence or lies. The country will be in total disarray for the foreseeable future. The consequences we see today are based on infections born last week when it was business as usual. That means the infections and economic problems will compound week over week. The need is to use our creativity and resilience to hold on to life and a modicum of social order. The scorn for all Trumpers, Foxers, Liars, Stupes, Anti Vaccers, Haters of Congress needs to be replaced with a rebirth and wellspring of constructive coping. Backlash and justice comes when we're healthy and reconsidering how we shape the future. Survive.
David (Emmaus, PA)
And yet...and yet... The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday (March 16) shows that 47% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance. Fifty-two percent (52%) disapprove. Goes to show that you CAN fool some of the people, all of the time.
Martha White (Jenningsville)
When it comes to times of crises, like Mr. Rogers said, look to the helpers. There are no helpers in this administration.
Jack Sonville (Florida)
"Obviously, even thought this whole virus thing was a Democratic hoax to bring me down, this still is the biggest virus ever, so we've responded in the best way possible, the best that any president has ever responded to a virus, maybe except for the Bubonic Plague because Lincoln did a pretty good job with that one, and definitely better than Obama responded to his virus, that SARS or MERS or Ebola whatever it was, ask Mike Pence, who've I have appointed to be the point man on this, reporting directly to me because, of course, I am in charge and giving all the orders." --Donald Trump PS: Donald Trump didn't actually say that, but it sounds exactly like something he would say.
carl40a (Davis, Ca.)
538 shows Trump's popularity dropping back a percentage point to where it was before impeachment, around 42.4%. Despite what Trump has done with respect to the Corona virus voting him out of office will be as hard as it was a few months ago. I want to respect those whose political interest differs from mine, but it is hard for me to respect a decision to keep on supporting Trump now. There is a small chance they or a member of their family, or a friend may get very sick or die because of Trump's incompetence and self-centeredness. Me, my family and friends also face a somewhat greater degree of danger than they should.
Peter Hornbein (Colorado)
Trump has so decimated the Federal Government that it is barely able to rise to the challenges it is now facing. He has filled it with yes-men who kowtow to his childish whims and look upon him as the tool that he is. Trump remains just a means to an end for the Republican Party. I cannot honestly imagine that all the Senators that support him and bow to him really think that highly of him; no, it's my belief that they have finally found the right tool in the shed to enact their agenda.
TOM (Seattle)
I am old enough to remember presidents from Eisenhower to Obama address the nation in a time of crisis. Never, ever did any of them spice-up their address with gratuitous praise for themselves, or blame their predecessors, or trot out sycophants like VP Pence, as we saw on Friday, to validate their actions. Never. Not once.
Preserving America (in Ohio)
This will leave a scar all right, Charles, and we're not just talking about the virus. Trump is leaving an indelible scar on America - a scar that may last forever. November seems so very far away.
Vincent (Ct)
Lets not put all the blame on the president,let us all look in the mirror. Ronald Reagan said “ —-in this crisis,government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem. It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant, it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.” —-For many , Reagan’s philosophy still holds true. This distrust of government is part of the reason we are in this mess. We have been told of a crisis such as this for some time now and yet many of the people we elected feel that government is not the solution but the problem. This is part of the reason we were not prepared to act as quickly as we should have. We are a country where individualism is held in high esteem but individualism will not save us from this virus.
Wolf Kirchmeir (Blind River, Ontario)
@Vincent Contrast the response to Pearl Harbour. Within weeks, the country had pivoted to a war economy, with a highly effective central government running or diercting everything. What a difference.
Lewis Sinclair (Baltimore)
Trump isn't worried as long as the man he sees in the mirror is happy. The rest of us don't matter—and he's proving it daily.
John barron (Washington DC)
A president who looks at every single thing as a PR event. He’s so incapable of real leadership it’s amazing to watch.
ettanzman (San Francisco)
The following is a beautifully written sentence that portrays the difference between this scandal and the many scandals surrounding Trump: "The coronavirus pandemic changes the view of Donald Trump's incompetence, because this time it is intimate."
Sean (Canada)
You would think Trump's mishandling of this crisis would make him unelectable but, no, his base actually think he's doing a great job. The recent polls are depressing. His base believe everything said on Fox News, and if Fox says the opposite tomorrow... well, they believe that, too. By the way, where are the Trump trolls who are usually here spouting statistics about the great economy and low unemployment? Ooops!
grennan (green bay)
By allowing Trump to get the idea that he could, in fact, shoot someone on Fifth Ave., the GOP should have anticipated that it was only a matter of time before his flaws had the same result on a much, much larger scale.
Missy (Texas)
I don't believe Trump took the test, I think he's sick and probably in bed, just guessing based on what I've seen the last couple of days. What a stressful time... we went through most of the canned emergency rations, lol, don't know why we had to eat the ranch styled canned beans and crackers for lunch but it seemed fitting. Forget about Trump, we need to all help ourselves at this point. I personally would like the scientists to figure out why young people aren't getting it and older people are.Could the answer be in an immunization the younger people get and older people either haven't had or it's been too long? I didn't get the Swine Flu the second time around because i had the shot in the 1970's. A word to Biden and Bernie tonight... not one of us would like to see either one of you tear each other apart. A presidential candidate faced with a crisis will unite and get together.
Nav Pradeepan (North America)
It is distressing to note that half the nation does not want an emotionally mature and responsible leader. They do not even want a leader with good leadership qualities. They want a schoolyard bully because of their distaste for government, laws, equality, intelligence and compassion.
Bob (Phoenix)
Trump being distracted during January and prior to February 5 would be understandable. But after "the total exoneration" on February 5, our Government should have pivoted into action to, among other things, insure a widespread testing capability. It is impossible to understand and address a problem if one has no reliable data. We are blind. By now, we should have had large scale random test result data. The toxic far left mentality is that private enterprise has never done and will never do anything positive for America. That is false. But the toxic right wing mentality that is now dogma in the so called "Republican" party is that Government can never do anything useful or beneficial for our Country. My wife and I are both over 60 and we will soon be needed to watch our grandchildren because their grade school is now closed. We need to know if our grandsons are carrying the new Corona virus. But the testing to know that is impossible in an America that has a corrupt, incompetent perpetual fountain of falsehood and nonsense as President. That would have been much more likely, in my opinion, if a competent "nerd" like Hilary Clinton had been President. The widespread stubborn continuing support for this catastrophically unfit President is beginning to test my resolve to continue regarding many of my fellow Americans with compassion, civility and respect.
Milton Lewis (Hamilton Ontario)
Charles from the beginning warned the public that Trump was woefully unfit to sit in the Oval Office. That Trump lacked the character the intellect and the leadership skills to hold high office. How prescient. And how tragic for potentially millions of Americans. For Trump all that counts is the Dow Jones. For most Americans what really matters is their health. Wrong president. Wrong time.
Padfoot (Portland, OR)
The overwhelming majority of Americans will survive the virus, Trump will take credit for saving them, and his supporters will rejoice at his bold action. USA, USA.
Mike Roddy (Alameda, Ca)
The most important thing we have learned lately about President Trump is that he is crazy. It doesn't take a genius to read the Coronavirus infection data from around the world and conclude that it is very dangerous. For years, Trump's default responses to any adversity are to lie in public, in obvious and embarrassing ways. There are always suckers who are born with the ability to be led by people like our President. The scary thing now is that there are more of them, in spite of more education and a TV in every living room. Don is done this time around, since even his followers will have trouble defending his latest fantasies, even to themselves. The response should be to figure out how America reached this point. Suggestion: Take a good long look at our media companies. They are now nothing more than advertising vehicles for toxic and unnecessary products. That means a constant drumbeat of lies, which are digested and believed. Truth is not an easy goal for humans at this stage of our development, but we had better start learning what it means, and soon.
@Mike Roddy Sorry. He has been obviously crazy from Day 1.
Tournachonadar (Illiana)
Eveni if Trump is ultimately discovered or admits to being a Russian asset, as his egregious behaviors have led many to believe, he is still the disaster that transcends all others for America. Trump is like a biblical harbinger, behaving in abhorrent ways from the get-go so that those who have supported him in their callow, shallow crassness will learn finally that like all diabolical entities, he wins more in the end by not delivering on any of his false promises. Astonishing as it is in a country that pays lip service to fundamental Christianity, especially the Calvinist sort which reinforces the existing wealth inequtiy, that more preachers and their sects haven't inveighed mightily against this obvious evildoer...
Dean Browning Webb, Attorney at Law (Vancouver, WA)
Charles Blow delivers a compellingly convincing Opinion, meticulously characterizing the conduct of the grossly incompetent, inept, and self absorbed Vietnam War draft dodger to effectively lead America at this time of mortal crisis. Let's cut to chase, though. America is witnessing an individual preoccupied with advancing, promoting, and selling Caucasian male privilege as inexplicably justified authoritarianism. Blaming Obama, distracting, deflecting, and spinning the dialog to benefit him and the Republican Party to benefit their mutually shared interests, he will never, ever be recognized as a president of the caliber of F.D.R. and L.B.J. The hard core belief of white skin privilege is sufficient for the draft dodger and the GOP to justify their collective efforts to divide America along racial and immigrant lines, pure and simple. Believing he knows best, that is all there is to it. Apparently the corona virsus pandemic forced his campaign to cancel the MASWA rallies, though he told the nation the virus would disappear. If hat is the case, why not still hold hte rallies and relish the ardor of his less than college educated supporters attend and take their chances with exposure? They believe everything else he says as the Gospel truth, so they should not care about the risk of exposure. After all, their fearless leader says don't panic. Quoting Malcolm X, circa late November 1963: "The chickens are coming home to roost."
Dr. Andrew (NYC)
I have been told to keep politics out of my undergrad and graduate classrooms. With the criminally irresponsible lack of leadership in the USA that becomes well nigh impossible. I don’t have to worry though as in class classes are canceled until further notice and presumably won’t resume for the rest of the semester. My role is to provide accurate scientific data based information and to produce open inquisitive minds. “Science fiction”, as posited by Trump Pence et al has no place in my classes or in my life or my family’s lives. “Lock her up” should be changed to “Lock him and them up” for what their negligence, dangerous narcissism and pathology and yes criminality have caused. Thank you NY Times for giving learned opinions.
Robert Duff (Dallas)
Who in his/her right mind actually believes the Orange One tested negative for covid-19? Bueller? Anyone? His > 15K lies make anything he says suspect. I'm surprised he hasn't gone on tv and say, "In the history of the world, nobody's had an immune system as robust and strong as mine. Many people are saying my immune system is the best that's ever been. Believe me." It's truly disgusting.
Bob (Andover, MA)
“Trump’s thoroughly inept handling of this crisis will not pass from the American memory easily.” How I wish this will be true, but unless the COVID-19 crisis persists for 6 months (God forbid), the only thing swing state America will remember is how Obama and Biden totally failed to stop the H1N1 flu in 2009-2010. 60 million cases and over 12,000 deaths provide just enough truth for the Republican spin machine to make H1N1 the calamity to panic about, and that spin cycle has already started. That the Obama/Biden response to H1N1 was generally seen as good to excellent while Trump’s response to COVID-19 has been (and continues to be) inept will be immaterial. Republicans will convince swing state America that Biden failed to address the H1N1 pandemic just as they already have already convinced them of Biden’s Burisma corruption.
Donna (Philadelphia, PA)
I a retired public health specialist. We will regret our inaction on corona virus testing for years to come. Where are the voices of reason? Even Fauci is a lackey. He has no voice or has been silenced.
See also