According to interviews that Bob Woodward recorded for his book, “Anger“Donald Trump was informed on January 28 of this year by National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien that the coronavirus is” the greatest national security threat you have faced in your presidency, “that the virus was five times more deadly than the common flu, that it was spreading if you just breathe the air, and that it was about to become a global pandemic. The moment Trump was telling these things to Woodward, the President had a job on Feb.7: The American people at work to persuade together to effectively deal with this threat to their health and well-being.
That would mean that in the coming months Trump would have to convince people that it is necessary to do a whole range of things that they do not want to do, not just in their interests but in order to survive. They would have to endure long “locks”
But Donald Trump didn’t know how to convince others to do things they didn’t want to do. He only understood fear and money. Trump had spent his entire life dealing with people in two ways: he would try to intimidate and scare them, and if that didn’t work he would buy them off. Two things that you and I probably consider preventable, yes, like a plague – meeting lawyers and accountants – Donald Trump did practically every day. This is how Trump moved around the world. If he encountered a problem, he would have one of his lawyers threaten or file lawsuits, and if the lawsuits failed, he would ask his accountants to find a way to move money that was not his – for example, money from his supposed charitable Foundation – so that he could buy himself out of difficulties with a settlement.
The revelations from Woodward’s interviews with Trump don’t tell us much that we didn’t know. Trump knew all about the dangers of the virus. Of course he did. Trump lied about what he knew. The same goes for. Trump despises “his” generals and calls them “a bunch of pussies”. We only learned days before that he called those who gave their lives in combat “losers” and “fools” so we knew that too.
What we haven’t learned yet is Why. If Trump knew as early as February that the coronavirus was as dangerous as the 1918 flu pandemic and would likely cause serious damage to the economy, why didn’t he do what he always did and buy a way out? Why didn’t he propose a package of around $ 8-10 trillion that would attack the virus with healthcare spending and protect the economy with a massive incentive? It was a perfect setup: he could have convinced the Republicans on his back to go along, the Democrats would have been anything for it, he would spend someone else’s money, and he could pave his way to re-election in the meantime. But when he spoke out in favor of the virus being just a “joke”, that it was “like the flu” and that the US had “practically shut it down”, he forfeited his chance to fight his way through the crisis .
Instead, we got more than 6.6 million cases of coronavirus, nearly 200,000 dead, and another Trumpian tsunami of lies and cheerleading. Open! Send the kids back to school! Play ball! It will just go away! Look at the stock market! Unemployment has fallen!
The words “magical thinking” keep popping up to describe Trump’s approach to the greatest national disaster this country has faced in a hundred years. But it’s worse than that. It’s not just the lies and the disassembling and projecting onto others – Look at Biden in that stupid mask! Trump’s failure comes from a deep, dark well of fear, cowardice, and inadequacy. He doesn’t believe in himself, so he never believed in his ability to influence others.
Donald Trump had no understanding of what I call exercising power without money. This is power in its most absolute form, the power to motivate soldiers to risk their lives in battle, the power to motivate doctors and nurses to risk their lives to treat patients with deadly communicable diseases, the power to have someone motivated to give your life for it Another.
You cannot threaten soldiers with court-martial in order to get them to attack an enemy who is shooting at them. You cannot offer a doctor or nurse a raise or threaten to cut their pay in order to get them to put on a gown, mask, and gloves and to treat patients suffering from diseases that could kill them and the patients. Donald Trump never understood that: You can’t force someone to do things he doesn’t want to do. You have to make her do it want it.
You do this by leading from the front, as was always said in the army. Setting a good example. If there is a need to convince people to wear masks in order to save lives, then do something you don’t want to do and wear one yourself. When people lose their jobs and you ask them to live with less, you leave the golf course and stop doing unnecessary crap like redesigning the rose garden. When hundreds of thousands of your fellow American citizens die from a virus that is not their fault, write condolences and find out how to attend some virtual funerals. They share their sacrifice. They show some respect.
But that’s not Donald Trump. He has no respect. He only cares about himself, and because of his disdain for veterans and what he told Bob Woodward about his arbitrary handling of the pandemic, he’s not very good at it either. Even as a narcissist, he’s a failure.