Every time I hear Donald Trump blame President Barack Obama for everything bad, while he takes credit for everything good, I want to scream, but instead, I thought I would do a bit of research. As my friend Dick Gregory would remind me, “Write and speak so your grandmother can understand you.” Let me give that a try.
Before President Obama and his team left the White House, they took the time to brief Trump’s team on everything — including handling pandemics. After all, they had successfully taken us through Ebola. Here’s what I found. Officials took the time to brief Trump’s incoming administration on a scenario remarkably like the one we are facing now about a possible pandemic. Trump’s team was told about potential challenges. Among them were shortages of ventilators, anti-viral drugs and other medical essentials.
The Obama team pressed the importance of pandemic preparedness to the persons who would come into the job once the Obama team left the administration. How did the Trump team show its appreciation? They dismantled the National Security Council section that would have helped them in handling a global pandemic such as the one we are facing. How did Trump respond to a question about this? “I don’t know anything about it” and called the reporter’s question “nasty.”
The story doesn’t end here. Trump’s administration eliminated a key American public health position in China intended to help detect disease outbreaks in China. Had Dr. Linda Quick remained in China, she might have been able to give the administration an early warning. She is not being allowed to speak to the public on the issue about what she knew and when did she know it. She might have been able to tell the appropriate persons about the emergence of the virus in China late last year. Now, Trump finds every way he can to blame China for not having the information our then-public health person in China could have warned us. This man takes the responsibility for nothing. He’s been in his job as president for over 30 months — but his go-to excuse is to blame President Obama!
At this time, Trump doesn’t seem to care about the tragedy that the delayed information about COVID-19 is causing is getting people back to work. His responses are in direct conflict with what health experts are advising since there is no concrete information on containment of the virus. We already see that when several Asian nations tried that approach, they experienced a resurgence of the virus; but, Trump wants to open up our country by Easter no matter what! While he interferes with what medical experts are saying, he wants to have the country and the economy “raring to go by Easter!” Further, he says, “It’s (the country) is not built to shut down. Our people are full of vim and vigor and energy. They don’t want to be locked in a house or an apartment or some space.”
Something is wrong with our laws about presidents when they can be recorded with over 16,000 lies in less that one term in office and still be in office with no consequences! How can a sane person lead the American people to believe that even as the virus spreads rapidly, we should drop all precautions and rush back out to save the economy?
This is a time many of us wish we could just skip ahead to November, vote and bring sanity back to our country! In the meantime, continue exercising care by listening to the health experts, washing your hands frequently, practicing social distancing, being kind and helpful to others and praying that you aren’t guilty of spreading the virus.
Williams is national president of the National Congress of Black Women.