His tone is more sober, he has begun to follow the advice of experts and even admits that the crisis “is not under control.” Like someone who takes a blindfold off, Donald Trump has woken up to the reality of the coronavirus after weeks of downplaying it, and now he hopes it’s not too late.
A week after tweeting that the media was exaggerating the magnitude of the pandemic, the US president. He rose to the podium in the White House press room on Monday with a serious face and asked Americans to leave the house as little as possible, recognizing that the crisis could last “until August.”
“This is not under control anywhere in the world,” he stressed.
The awakening of Trump responds, according to analysts consulted by Efe, to the same factor that led him to downplay the crisis for weeks: the fear that his re-election options will be reduced in November.
Aware that the economic boom was his best asset at the polls, Trump tried not to disturb the markets and downplayed the problem of shortage of tests in the US, but he also encountered abrupt declines in the stock market and had to admit that ” there could “be a recession, as coronavirus cases skyrocketed.
“Trump has been irresponsibly slow to respond,” Professor Max Skidmore, author of a book on how US presidents react to pandemics, told Efe.
For weeks, the president compared COVID-19 with seasonal flu, assured that cases were falling in the United States. and that the disease would disappear as soon as the weather began to heat up in April, to the embarrassment of some scientists in your government.
Vetoes, bugs and a Facebook group
And two years after dissolving the specialized pandemic team of his National Security Council, Trump entrusted the crisis response to his vice president, Mike Pence, while his son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, sought prominence on the issue.
According to Politico magazine, Kushner asked his sister-in-law’s father, who is a doctor, for advice, and he turned to a Facebook group to gather recommendations that could guide Trump’s response.
In addition, Kushner advised the president to veto access to the country from 26 European countries and to declare a national emergency, but also influenced the fact that Trump said last Friday that Google was developing a website in which that company was never involved. , according to The New York Times.
As Trump focused on containing the infection from the outside, the coronavirus spread in the United States. and hospitals were overwhelmed by the shortage of tests and the difficulty of implementing them, to the point that only 25,000 tests have been done in the country so far, while South Korea performs 10,000 a day.
Trump gets “a ten”
Last Friday, during a press conference in which he ignored the medical recommendations by shaking hands with several of the attendees, Trump refused to accept “any responsibility” for the slow implementation of the tests, while promising that the next month there would be “5 million” tests available.
And even on Monday, when the market crash forced him out of denial mode, Trump predictably answered the question of what grade he gives to his government’s management: “A ten.”
“I felt this was a pandemic long before others called it a pandemic,” Trump dared to proclaim on Tuesday.
In recent days, Trump has recommended avoiding restaurants and groups of more than ten people, and has unveiled a massive fiscal stimulus package of nearly a trillion dollars.
“The evidence was so overwhelming throughout the world, including the United States, that he could not ignore it. And he is concerned about his reelection,” an expert in the Presidency at American University, James Thurber, told Efe.
But Trump has not acted as “a leader”, but has resigned himself to the role of “follower” of expert advice when he has no choice, and his late response may have “cost him votes” for November , according to Thurber.
Will you be able to flatten the curve?
However, for Miranda Yaver, a US public health expert, the risk goes beyond the economic or electoral impact.
“At this rate, the measures that the Trump government is taking are not adequate to flatten the (contagion) curve in time, because the United States does not have enough hospital beds or as many lung ventilators to meet the demand it will have. “Yaver told Efe.
According to that professor at the University of California, Trump could fix part of that problem if he orders “to begin a mass production of the equipment necessary to combat the coronavirus.”
“The reality is that these circumstances were not unforeseen, but that this government did not take them seriously,” said Yaver.