Opinion: Missed Opportunity: Trump Botches Possible Defining Moment

Alex Badger, Co Editor

The Covid-19 crisis is steadily evolving over time, and is rising at an unparalleled pace; however, this unprecedented development cannot justify the complete mishandling of this health crisis by the American government. The inclination of many Americans is to blame the Chinese government: a sentiment only egged on by the President referring to the disease as the “Chinese virus.” Although, the Chinese are far from exempt from blame in this situation, the same could be said for the Americans.


This began in 2018 when President Trump and John Bolton steadily decreased the power and funding to pandemic response divisions of the federal government. Trump, despite a SARS recurrence in China only a year before, cited his belief that the American healthcare system was strong enough to handle any disease that may come their way. Furthermore, the President has repeatedly made it clear that he does not stand behind the CDC and wants to cut funding. Additionally, more recently, he cut funding entirely to the World Health Organization, citing their “mishandling” of the Coronavirus.


This general mistreatment and lack of funding to these organizations can be directly tied into the way that the Trump administration has handled this global health crisis. There was an udder lack of preparedness from top to bottom: whether it be a lack of masks, or even not being prepared in time for the virus, it all could’ve been stopped by more warning from these organizations who were desperately underfunded.


Also, unsurprsingly, many of President Trump’s words have consistently contradicted themselves, as he has not given Americans a good read on how dangerous this virus is. It began when the President referred to the virus as a “hoax-” something he would later backtrack on, but not soon enough- giving the American citizens a false sense of hope. This false hope would become a trend, as Trump compared the Coronavirus to the common flu, once again minimizing the virus. These missteps have led to many dangerous progressions by his followers, such as the “liberate Michigan” movement, to protests throughout the southeast. 


As a result of the actions of the President and his administration’s consistent failure to prepare the healthcare system or the American public for the dangers of this virus, America has left backpedaling, trying to control the virus, having missed the opportunity to prevent it. Many nations, such as Italy and Spain, have faced similar issues, but there are also several success stories. Sweeden, often well-regarded for its exceptional health care system, has been able to jump out in front of the virus, minimizing cases. 


The President has been presented with his term-defining issue – Obama had 2008, Bush had 9/11, H.W. Bush had the Gulf War – and he has completely missed the mark. When the American people needed him for hope, he has met them with a dangerous cocktail of fear and ignorance: it may be time for a new mix.