The Trump Administration’s ability to astound and alienate appears to grow every day. I did not think that as time goes by I could think even worse of it. I mean where is rock bottom? How low can it go? But its recent Covid-19 measures are absolutely jaw dropping.
America is now the world epicentre of the outbreak. It had plenty of time to see it coming. You cannot help but think that a belligerent anti intellectualism is the cause of its problems.
It now has far more reported cases than any other countries and the avalanche of deaths is clearly on its way.
But now like a swaggering school yard bully it is engaged in of all things modern day piracy to get urgent supplies it should have been planning for months ago.
And the day to day response has been left to two people. Mike Pence is in overall control. His abilities are undermined by his handling of and AIDs outbreak in his home state of Indiana. His delay in allowing a needle exchange programme to be implemented caused needless infections. Obviously thoughts and prayers were preferred.
The other is Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner. He has been put in charge of the nation’s Strategic National Stockpile of urgent supplies of equipment and medicines. From Ryan Grenoble at Huffpost:
Jared Kushner was pilloried Thursday after telling reporters at the daily coronavirus briefing that the “federal” Strategic National Stockpile is “our stockpile,” and that, therefore, states shouldn’t rely on it for live-saving materials in the event of an emergency.
It’s a flawed statement at face value, one directly contradicted by language on the Strategic National Stockpile’s website at the time.
“The Strategic National Stockpile is the nation’s largest supply of life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out,” the website read.
“When state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts,” it continued, “the stockpile ensures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency. Organized for scalable response to a variety of public health threats, this repository contains enough supplies to respond to multiple large-scale emergencies simultaneously.”
Caught in a lie, the Trump administration didn’t correct itself; instead, it changed the website.
And if you did not think you could think worse about Kushner reports that his real estate companies are aggressively seeking to evict tenants despite moratoriums being called for may change your mind.
Things are that bad that immigration detainees are begging to be allowed to go back to their homelands. From Sam Levin at the Guardian:
Detainees in a US immigration jail are begging to be released after potential Covid-19 exposure, saying the conditions are so brutal that they would rather suffer deportationthan remain locked up.
Three men incarcerated at the Winn correctional center in a remote part of Louisiana told the Guardian that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) has isolated 44 of them together after they were possibly exposed to coronavirus. Some of the detainees are so desperate to leave that they are seeking voluntary deportation. They say their cries for masks, hand sanitizer, gloves and cleaning supplies have gone ignored, including for elderly detainees and those with asthma.
In a series of phone calls, the men described a nightmare ordeal over the last two weeks, citing rampant mistreatment and a terrifying lack of information from Ice after they learned they were under some kind of quarantine. They also said that seven of their fellow detainees were deported on a flight to Colombia this week, four days into a 14-day quarantine period, which would appear to violate basic standards of coronavirus containment.
Of course the problem goes to the top and is about style as well as substance. Talking about personal distancing when being surrounded by acolytes and being beamed out on television is not a way to reinforce the message. And Trump announcing a FDA recommendation to wear facemasks and then immediately stating that he will not be wearing one really undermines the message the FDA was trying to get out.
The rot does not only occur at the top but it seems to pervade Republican ranks. Kerry Eleveld at Daily Kos has published this article noting that the twelve stated without proper stay at home orders are all managed by Republican Governors. The number may have since reduced but you get the drift. From the article:
As of Friday morning, the remaining 12 states that had failed to issue statewide stay-at-home orders were all run by Republican governors.Here’s the Republican governors putting an untold number of lives at risk in the name of so-called “freedom.”
- Alabama—GOP Gov. Kay Ivey
- Arkansas—GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson
- Iowa—GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds
- Missouri—GOP Gov. Mike Parson
- Nebraska—GOP Gov. Pete Ricketts
- North Dakota—GOP Gov. Doug Burgum
- Oklahoma—GOP Gov. Kevin Stitt
- South Carolina—GOP Gov. Henry McMaster
- South Dakota—GOP Gov. Kristi Noem
- Texas—GOP Gov. Greg Abbott
- Utah—GOP Gov. Gary Herbert
- Wyoming—GOP Gov. Mark Gordon
Some state residents are celebrating the lack of restrictions. “Let’s be honest, what country do we live in?” Brian Joens of Iowa City, Iowa, told USA Today. “It’s the USA, which is freedom, freedom to choose. When we get notes from the government saying do this or do that, it feels like that’s not what this country is built on.”Freedom to choose an increased likelihood of death for both you and your fellow citizens isn’t exactly on what the country was founded. Individual life, liberty, and happiness was never intended to trump the public good of an entire nation. But this is what you get when the chief executive of the country, Donald Trump, fails to exhibit anything resembling clear and consistent leadership.
Meanwhile in Aotearoa New Zealand we all anxiously wait for the new infections figures each day. So far the increase has been linear, not exponential. In about a week’s time we will have a good idea if the current measures are working.
Keep safe, keep your distance, and look after each other. It is going to be an unforgettable week.