The presumptive President of the United States, Donald Trump, says the Democrats are “politicizing” the coronavirus, that it’s “their new hoax” – that’s what he was saying at a rally yesterday in South Carolina. Of course, Trump isn’t our “presumptive” president at all, he’s for real in the role – and that could mean woe is us.
The President, of course, has placed Vice President Mike Pence in charge of coordinating the federal response to the virus threat. From Trump’s tone yesterday, Pence shouldn’t have much to do, and we know that’s not the case at all. The first death from the virus has just been reported in Washington State, And the virus appears to be spreading up and down the West Coast and heading inland.
Scoffing can be taken too far. Defenders of the President say he didn’t call the virus itself a hoax. But if there were ever a time for choosing one’s words carefully, this is it and Trump spoke rather spitefully.
There are times when Trump’s handling of his nation-leading job seems as much prompted by whimsy as reality, and this is one of them. We should be expecting more of the President – caution in the face of a health hazard that threatens us all. Yet the coronavirus is “the Democrats’ new hoax”. We couldn’t let that one pass by. That wouldn’t be fair to a nation whose apprehension is growing over the prospect of the virus spreading from coast to coast.
Let’s hope it doesn’t, but let’s not downplay the possibility either.