The president’s job is to uphold the Constitution and to see that the laws are faithfully executed. It is the job of this president, as he sees it, to say he’s doing a wonderful job.
President Trump has responded to the coronavirus outbreak by (among other things) promising it would go away by itself, playing golf, blaming China, blaming the media, blaming Democrats, lying about it, attempting to bribe Germany’s vaccine industry and saying he’s responding to it perfectly.
Asked to grade his response on a scale of one to 10, Trump gave it a 10. Keep in mind, he once compared himself to “a supermodel, except, like, times 10.” His 10 is most people’s 0.01.
Two years ago, Trump graded his presidency. “I give myself an A+,” he said. “The only thing I’m doing bad in is the press doesn’t cover me fairly.”
This week, he said the same thing. “The only thing we haven’t done well is to get good press,” he said. “We’ve done a fantastic job, but it hasn’t been appreciated.” The only mistake Trump makes is not getting enough praise for never making mistakes.
Only GOP and Fox News praise him
Fortunately for him, Fox News exists. Host Jesse Watters said recently, “The guy is a germaphobe who’s tough on China and is a border hawk. He’s the perfect president to take on this virus.” Only on Fox News are germaphobia and xenophobia qualifications to be president.
At Trump’s behest, Republicans are blaming the coronavirus on China. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Tex, said, “China is to blame because the culture where people eat bats and snakes and dogs and things like that, these viruses are transmitted from the animal to the people and that’s why China has been the source of a lot of these viruses like SARS, like MERS, the Swine Flu.” Cornyn is a proud graduate of the Trump University School of Medicine.
What local governments should do: Get aggressive, governors and mayors. Show that the buck and coronavirus stop with you.
In his 1995 book “To Restore America”, Newt Gingrich wrote, “When confronted with a problem, a true American doesn’t ask, ‘Who can I blame this on?’” Yet on Monday Gingrich blamed the media for making conservatives not take the coronavirus seriously. He tweeted, “One of the dangerous consequences of having a totally dishonest left wing news media was that most Americans discounted their hysteria as phony.”
No one should trust anyone who is “totally dishonest,” but lots of people do. According to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, 37% of Americans have “a good amount or a great deal of trust in what they’re hearing from the president” about the coronavirus. More than a third of the country believes what a pathological liar says about an issue he knows almost nothing about.
Trump didn’t create this pandemic. What he created was a culture of impunity, buck-passing and blame-shifting in a party that once prided itself on personal responsibility.
“I don’t take responsibility at all,” Trump said about the federal government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. He blames his predecessor. Earlier this month, he said, “The Obama administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we’re doing.”
Trump takes the credit for good things he doesn’t do and none of the blame for the bad things he does, which is nearly everything he does.
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After calling for unity and bipartisanship, he reprimanded Democratic governors. “Cuomo of New York has to ‘do more,’” the president tweeted on Monday, offering no suggestions about what to do beyond “more” of it. “Failing Michigan Governor must work harder and be much more proactive,” he tweeted the next day. Trump works hard at telling other people to work harder.
“The buck stops with everybody,” Trump said during the government shutdown last year. His failure to recite Harry Truman’s adage correctly was Obama’s fault.
Trump was Truman-esque in 2013, when he tweeted, “Leadership: Whatever happens, you’re responsible. If it doesn’t happen, you’re responsible.”
Now that Trump is the leader, things are different. His new credo: With great power comes great irresponsibility.
Windsor Mann, a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributor, is the editor of The Quotable Hitchens: From Alcohol to Zionism. Follow him on Twitter: @WindsorMann
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump is irresponsible amid coronavirus pandemic