Tuesday, February 25, 2020


What worries me about President Trump's response to the coronavirus outbreak is that it reeks of Norman Vincent Peale and the Power of Positive Thinking.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday predicted the coronavirus is "going to go away" despite warnings from Democrats that his White House is asleep amid cresting fears in Washington that the outbreak could spark a pandemic.

The President maintained his sunny optimism about the virus that is showing signs of spreading around the world from its Chinese epicenter and is already having a huge impact on global commerce....

The President ticked though administration efforts to contain the virus, claiming the US had "essentially closed the borders."

"We're watching very carefully," Trump said. "We're fortunate so far and we think it's going to remain that way."

We haven't "essentially closed the borders." We're not "close" to a vaccine. And the stock market isn't looking "very good."

We know that both Trump and his father were great believers in Norman Vincent Peale, whose ideas clearly had a profound influence on Trump:
“Stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding,” Peale urged his millions of followers. “Hold this picture tenaciously. Never permit it to fade.”
What's peculiar about Trump's response to this crisis is that he's not boasting very much -- none of his usual litany of the greatest! the finest! the largest! -- and he's not using the crisis as an excuse to attack enemies. Those are his go-to reactions to nearly every other situation he faces. The response to the virus outbreak is marked by something different: fear rather than swagger. It's as if Trump just wants to wish this crisis away. Remember when he insisted that it would just vanish in the spring?
Trump, Feb. 10: Now, the virus that we’re talking about having to do — you know, a lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat — as the heat comes in. Typically, that will go away in April. We’re in great shape though. We have 12 cases — 11 cases, and many of them are in good shape now.
(There's actually no reason to believe that this will happen.)

The Trump who's responding to this crisis isn't Trump the braggart or Trump the bully. It's Trump the germaphobe. Yes, I'm a Trump-basher, but I feel free to call Trump a germaphobe because Trump calls himself one. There's plenty of evidence.

This was reported yesterday:
The administration is already taking additional steps — to protect Trump. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney was scheduled to accompany Trump to India, but at the last minute he was told to stay home, CNN reported, because he had a cold and “White House doctors advised against having him travel in such proximity to the president.”
I'm not saying that Trump would react competently to this crisis if he weren't a germaphobe. But we could at least predict that his response would be driven by the usual Trump motivators, ego and rage. This is different. He's afraid. It's hard to predict what he'll do.

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