How Well Has The Trump Administration Responded to COVID-19?

How Well Has The Trump Administration Responded to COVID-19?

Image taken from "Reporter Presses Trump on Claims of 'Total Authority' Over States Reopening" from QuickTake by Bloomberg

Elijah Perez, Opinion Editor

Trump, in the beginning stages of the spread of COVID-19, had a considerably decent and almost great response, but that has swiftly taken a downward spiral. 

At first, Trump was making multiple appearances on televised press conferences addressing the nation, he was allowing Dr. Anthony Fauci to also address the public on questions and concerns of the virus, and he even aided California at the request of Governor Newsom with sending the USNS Mercy hospital ship to Los Angeles. However, this satisfactory response did not last as the number of cases grew.

When you sign up to be president of the United States, you sign up to lead an entire nation of people through unforeseeable and challenging times. In that, it should be your responsibility to face your peers and the public with respect and keep your attitude professional and in line, keeping in mind what is best for your country. 

During a press conference on April 13th, a reporter questioned Trump on his statement, “When someone is president of the United States their authority is total.” The reporter also further mentioned Trump’s commentary on the reopening of states in which he thinks that he has an absolute say over. 

Presidents in fact do not have absolute power in the United States by Constitution, thus Trump does not have the power to reopen states at his will which the reporter did add stating, “that is not true.” She also asked the president if any governors had openly agreed that Trump has full authority over reopening states to which Trump replied, “I haven’t asked anybody, you know why? Because I don’t have to.” He then proceeded to raise his finger to the reporter and say, “enough.” 

While it is entirely true that he does “not have to” consult governors, it is very childish to respond in that manner to a reporter. We can give Trump the benefit of the doubt that the initial question might have been a bit leading, but it is also fair to remember he made the initial comment. 

In the realm of public relations, it is safe to say Trump is not doing an amazing job. The previously mentioned press conference incident is only one of many that has occurred since March. However, we can not judge him solely on his way of handling reporters, we must actually look at what has been done against the virus. 

Declaring a national state of emergency and sending the USNS Mercy to California were fitting responses to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States. The $2 trillion relief bill is also a tremendous aid to Americans and a great move on behalf of the Trump administration. Let’s not forget though, that he wanted his name to appear on the checks even if that resulted in the delay of check delivery. That is a, again, childish and unnecessary request in a time where we have no time to be concerned with such minimal details. 

Trump will be credited in the history books for sending out the stimulus checks, his name does not have to be featured on the checks especially when many Americans needed them as soon as possible. Most of the checks won’t be around in ten years anyways. 

Trump’s push to reopen the economy is also something very respectful as well as announcing that they will not do so until there are 14 consistent days of decreasing numbers of new cases. This is an incredibly smart way to approach the issue. Many Americans are ready to go back to work while others are not in fear of the virus spreading further. So, this provides a happy medium of opening back up the economy without stepping on the toes of those who like to wait until the virus is under check as advised by disease professionals. 

While it may be hard to notice, there are a few things the Trump administration has done to fight against the many negative aspects that trouble Americans due to COVID-19. 

In a number of many other ways though, they are lacking. The USCIS offices have been temporarily closed which is a controversial decision and frankly the border is not our greatest concern at the moment. There hasn’t been much aid towards health care workers who are not only risking their lives, but working around the clock everyday to help the millions with the virus. 

Trump, while he does not have control over states’ stay at home orders, does not endorse publicly or seem to support the idea of staying home in effort to contain the virus spread and slow the curve. 

The issue with Trump at the moment is that he is not completely focusing on the right issues. The relief bill and deployment of the USNS Mercy were great first steps, but health care workers are still struggling for supplies and testing is a complete nightmare. His attitude towards reporters is not the greatest issue either, however it is completely immature and uncalled for. Trump needs to direct his attention to more dire issues and take his ego out of his discourse and decisions.