Opinion: How President Trump Failed the Nation

Approximately one month ago, in an address to the nation, President Donald Trump made it clear that he wanted the United States to be “opened up and just raring to go by Easter.” However, when Easter arrived, his rhetoric completely changed. Now, he is “not determined” to re-open the country by May. This isn’t just a coincidence, it’s part of the broader failure and mistakes made by Mr. Trump, which could be potentially costing thousands of American lives daily. 

Countries that had originally been the global epicenters for the COVID-19 pandemic, such as South Korea and China, are now starting to see a dramatic decrease in new cases. A primary factor that enabled these nations to do so were the strict implementation of lockdowns, as well as conducting contact-tracing on a national level. Methods like lockdowns can effectively force citizens to practice social distancing, while contact-tracing can help flatten the curve, a scenario that prevents hospital systems from being overwhelmed. Contact tracing has been most prominent in South Korea, where private and government medical groups worked together to collect data and increase testing, allowing them to trace and slow the spread of the virus.

The U.S., however, has fallen behind on both methods. Under the leadership of Mr. Trump, the government has notoriously been criticized for the actions that it has or has not taken. According to an Aljazeera article, the  CDC (Center for Disease Control) has continuously delayed testing for the virus since the beginning. 

In addition, the president has also delayed the exercising of his authority. This is seen with the slow implementation of the Defense Production Act. If this act was put in action earlier, it could have stimulated an increase in production of ventilators, gowns, inhalers, and most importantly, testing. Mr. Trump is the final authority in the process of the enactment of the DPA.  The delayed testing from the CDC and Mr. Trump has culminated in a crisis across medical systems in the U.S, with new epicenters such as New York declaring a dangerous lack of  Personal Protective Equipment

This overwhelming of medical systems has caused a paradox within hospitals, forcing them to choose between who to give ventilators. And with the decision being made, needless amounts of lives are lost, all of whom could have had the opportunity to live if the president and the CDC took action and enabled efficient testing early on. Unfortunately, it remains crystal clear the president failed his duty to do so. 

Asides from the delayed testing, it has been suggested that Israeli Intelligence presented the Pentagon with an alert of the possible threat  regarding COVID-19 in November of 2019. The claim, heavily backed by documents within the National Center for Military Intelligence and  made available for the public, demonstrated that top US Government officials within the administration knew about a  potential threat, but dismissed it. This action is potentially extremely dangerous, and at the same time shows heavy negligence from within the Trump administration.

However, this negligence isn’t limited to lack of actions in November, it can even be traced back to the Trump administration dismantling the emergency response team  in charge of handling pandemics in the White House Security Council in 2018, an entire 2 years before the pandemic. Had the emergency response team remained in place, it isn’t hard to say that America could have been much more prepared.

 If this isn’t enough, Mr. Trump also downplayed the pandemic in the beginning, calling it a “harmless flu.” According to the Atlantic, he also refused to enforce shutdowns nationwide such as ones seen in Florida. In addition to his downplaying of the situation, Mr. Trump has shown his public support  for many that are now protesting against COVID-19 lockdowns in some of his recent tweets. This support displays pure ignorance, as it not only puts protestors at risk, but also adds more burden to the response of local governments in an effort to drive down cases.

However, some of Mr. Trump’s top aides in the COVID-19 response team, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is the current Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), share a different opinion. “There should be a national stay-at-home order to combat the spread of the coronavirus,” Dr. Fauci said in a press briefing

As the amount of COVID-19 cases in the United States continues to soar, only time will tell whether or not Mr. Trump will be able to redeem himself. But for now, his incompetence and unwillingness to take responsibility will continue to worsen the current situation of the pandemic, as well as take away innocent American lives who otherwise could have had the opportunity to live.