Thursday, May 23, 2024

In times of great loss and uncertainty, we Americans crave stability, comfort and truth. Whether or not you believe the current administration is effective, we cannot overlook how irresponsible and downright dangerous our president has proven to be during the global coronavirus health crisis. While President Donald Trump has been touting aspirations, pointing fingers, berating anyone who disagrees with him and simply misstating facts, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York has been our messiah of governance, our guiding light.

Donald Trump: You’re doing it wrong

Before we discuss Cuomo’s restoring of leadership, let’s review Trump’s response to the coronavirus.

His first notable mistake was demonstrating a complete lack of urgency:

“We have it totally under control … it’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control,” Trump asserted to CNBC on Jan. 22.

“It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear,” he continued at a press conference Feb. 27, when the United States had 60 cases and zero deaths.

“When you have 15 [cases], and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done,” was his statement on March 10 – when the United States had 959 cases and 28 deaths.

Fast forward to mid-May: the number of U.S. cases is 1.5 million and the death toll is a grim 87,841.

Trump later insisted that he had always taken the “Chinese virus” seriously and the World health Organization was to blame for the pandemic. But when asked what he did between late January when he closed the borders and mid-March when he closed the economy, Trump’s deficient response was “a lot.” Americans couldn’t help but notice a little gap called February.

In late March, he notably shifted his focus from saving lives to reopening the economy.

“I’d love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” Trump said March 24. If you were following the news and making some reasonable conjecture of a possible reopen date, an Easter opening was beyond fantastical.

“Try it,” Trump suggested, referring to the the anti-malaria and lupus drug Hydroxychloroquine as a therapeutic for Covid – an especially dangerous statement for someone with no medical background.

Trump’s arguably most outrageous assertion to date was suggesting Covid patients be treated with ultraviolet light or injection of disinfecting agents. It is clear that the medical community at large has been disturbed by this invention.

Even during time of crisis, there is no relief from his abusive tendencies:

“If they don’t appreciate me, I don’t call them … Don’t call that woman in Michigan,” Trump said of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer who has worked tirelessly to keep the people of Michigan safe, despite Trump’s undermining hand.

Message received: If you need access to federal assistance, you’d better start preparing some public praise for the president. Unfortunately, when Trump learned he did not have total power, he deferred all responsibility for the “ungrateful” states.

On March 29, Trump uncomfortably announced the extension of the federal social distancing guidelines through April 30. It was a visibly upsetting day for the president, and the news correspondents were, as they often are, his punching bags. Trump showed no restraint with comments such as “you’re so disgraceful,” “you know you’re a fake” and “you’re a terrible reporter.” 

When asked during the April 3 press conference about the latest statistical models, Trump’s response was: “I haven’t been involved with the models, at least not this kind,” referring to his dating history.

Four years after Trump’s charade of a presidential campaign, here we are, faced with the cruelest illustration of how unfit he is for running a country. It is a global illness, Mr. Trump, and it is called Covid-19. It is not called the Chinese virus. You don’t get to call it that.

Gov. Cuomo: My president

The foundation of leadership is built upon integrity, clarity, composure, guidance, action, inclusivity and reassurance. As this foundation is so desperately lacking in the White House, Andrew Cuomo has provided some much-needed relief.

At approximately noon each day, the poised governor of New York delivers the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-backed Covid information. Not just in regard to his state, but on behalf of the nation. It is clear that he is working tirelessly to understand this disease through the lens of medical experts and deliver factual data in a way that is easy for the public to understand. Even when the numbers are grim, Cuomo is committed to communicating the gravity of this illness and the consequence of our behaviors.  

He ends each televised conference with a firm statement of reassurance such as: “You know those three-word sentences can make all the difference … I miss you, I love you … I’m sorry you’re going through this” and “Bring down that anxiety, bring down that fear, bring down that paranoia … and we’re going to get through it.”

Trump’s most memorable statement? “Grab them by the pussy.”

While Cuomo is wearing a mask when appropriate, the president appeases his supporters by not doing so.

While Trump dismisses his own guidelines and encourages stay-at-home protestors, Cuomo is fining up to $1,000 for social distancing violations.

While Trump banned New Yorkers from travel, Cuomo reminded the president of the constitution and threatened to sue.

Citizens across the nation have spread their adoration via social media and insist Cuomo begin campaigning for a 2020 presidency. Cuomo, however, says he will fulfill his commitment to the state of New York until his term ends in 2023. This begs the question: Cuomo 2024?

Kristine Looney, Wheeler Street