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Why Trump failed his nation

Dr. Seema Yasmin urges journalists to "debunk" President Trump's misinformation, "but then keep steering the conversation to where it needs to be. Where are the tests?" Oliver Darcy says "we need to think about what average person at home, who is sitting there without a job, is thinking."

Posted: Apr 27, 2020 9:41 PM
Updated: Apr 27, 2020 9:41 PM

Watching President Donald Trump wrestle with this epic crisis reminds me of the old fable about the Scorpion and the Frog.

You'll remember that the scorpion asks the frog for a ride across a river, only to sting the frog when they are midway across.

When the startled frog asks why the scorpion would repay his kindness so cruelly and kill them both, the scorpion shrugs. "It's my nature."

Trump could have made this unparalleled and agonizing trial for our country an occasion for personal triumph — if he were only able to take the personal out of it. But that is not his nature.

This moment of extraordinary pain and crisis calls for steadiness and sobriety; empathy for the widespread pain and suffering of others; absolute transparency; a willingness to listen and learn; and rigorous, disciplined attention to detail. None of these qualities are within his nature.

Many governors across America have enhanced their popularity simply by doing their jobs during this deadly outbreak of the coronavirus. Even in a polarized nation, it might have been the same for Trump if, from the start, he had leveled with the country about the nature of the threat, followed expert advice and made the case for the painful and decisive steps required to save lives.

But that's not his nature.

Instead, the President spent six weeks dismissing the threat and offering false assurances as public health experts frantically warned what was to come.

Trump ostensibly feared that an acknowledgment of the severity of the virus and the draconian steps required to protect Americans would tank the stock market and the economy, which he had hoped to make the springboard to his re-election. So he insisted on an alternative storyline.

At the end of January, the President issued what we now know was a porous ban on travel from China, assuring that this would protect the nation against the invasion of what he later branded the "Chinese virus."

US cases would not surpass 15, he said in February, even as some public health experts warned of a potential pandemic. "Miraculously," he suggested with a flourish, the virus could just fade away with a change in the weather.

As Covid-19 had begun its deadly march across the nation, Trump was accusing Democrats and the media of politicizing the disease in what amounted to a Coronavirus "hoax" to damage him.

While some governors were mobilizing against the threat, the President sent the nation and federal bureaucracy the opposite signal, delaying the necessary steps, which cost the nation valuable time to gird for the battle and deepened the crisis.

Since the day he finally recalibrated, appearing at the podium in the White House briefing room in March to declare war on Covid-19, the President has spent most of his briefing time spinning his administration's uneven and tardy response (which he rated a 10 out of 10) rather than giving the American people the sober and accurate assessment they need.

He has denied making dismissive statements about the virus which the entire world heard and has refused to acknowledge where he and his administration have fallen short.

Truth and accountability are not his nature.

Americans of all stripes are bound together by a common calamity, hungry for a unifying leader who will rise above partisanship. But that is not Trump's nature. He has suggested that governors, desperately asking the federal government for more testing supplies, were acting out of political motivation.

Trump is who Trump has been from the beginning of his long career in the public eye: a super narcissist and shameless self-promoter, unwilling to accept responsibility or the truth and unable to think about anyone but himself.

If he had been more in this historic moment, it would have done so much to strengthen his brand and his prospects of reelection -- not to mention comfort his wounded country.

But it is no surprise that he could not.

It's just not his nature.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1012606

Reported Deaths: 16567
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1360682133
Lake667261170
Allen58341804
Hamilton46545468
St. Joseph44627619
Elkhart36101512
Vanderburgh32358482
Tippecanoe28053261
Johnson25224447
Hendricks23977362
Porter23018367
Madison18848412
Clark18640254
Vigo17562304
Monroe15340199
LaPorte15249252
Delaware15135264
Howard14839292
Kosciusko12433149
Hancock11788177
Bartholomew11712180
Warrick11314188
Floyd11149216
Wayne11036254
Grant10159220
Morgan9512178
Boone8976116
Dubois8291132
Henry8265155
Dearborn824793
Noble8075106
Marshall7995135
Cass7569123
Lawrence7494172
Shelby7236117
Jackson701990
Gibson6621115
Harrison653293
Huntington6456100
Knox6429107
DeKalb6375102
Montgomery6304112
Miami596298
Putnam584879
Clinton579772
Whitley569756
Steuben568677
Jasper537681
Wabash5372104
Jefferson513997
Ripley502587
Adams484876
Daviess4692115
Scott440576
Greene428496
Clay427760
Wells426388
White421365
Decatur4182105
Fayette407587
Jennings390763
Posey377944
LaGrange362779
Washington360551
Randolph348199
Spencer341243
Fountain337060
Sullivan331252
Starke319871
Owen316271
Fulton315868
Orange295564
Jay286446
Franklin266743
Perry265852
Rush264432
Carroll262534
Vermillion260554
Parke232429
Pike229744
Tipton229359
Blackford195143
Pulaski184757
Newton160448
Crawford160226
Benton151417
Brown147547
Martin139819
Switzerland135611
Warren121416
Union107316
Ohio85013
Unassigned0545

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