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Trump’s Coronavirus Speech Reaction

President Trump addresses the nation about coronavirus crisis

Full speech here:

Good part:

  • This is a new, more serious tone from him. I sincerely welcome that

Bad parts:

  • He looked and sounded unwell
  • I don’t suppose I’m opposed to the European travel restrictions, but it’s much too late for that to do measurable good. They would have made a lot more sense two weeks ago. And exempting Britain from this ban is senseless. It sounded like he’s  trying to frame the virus as an external threat. But it’s already here, and it’s rapidly spreading. This seemed more rhetorical than anything else — Trump trying to reinforce his image as a nationalist looking out for American interests
  • He spoke much more about economic relief than public health concerns
  • He spent far too much time and effort trying to defend his administration’s response, and no time speaking more directly to people who — encouraged by him and his media coterie — have spent the last few weeks minimizing the seriousness of all this
  • He said little or nothing about testing, which we are still not able to do. No real talk about social distancing
  • He did not declare a state of national emergency, which would have helpful policy and legal effects at the state level
  • He said nothing about the critical-care crisis facing hospitals. I have found that this is a point that is not widely understood by the general public: that even if only a relatively small number of people are ultimately going to die from this virus, it stands to overwhelm our hospitals. This is why it is so very important for everybody to practice social distancing and the rest: to slow the rate of infection, and give our health care system the chance to cope. It is beyond comprehension why he didn’t make this clear to listeners tonight. I’ve had a number of conversations these past few days with people who aren’t following the story closely, and they are entirely unaware of this fact. The president blew an opportunity to explain that to the nation
  • Watching him, I realized the cost of a president having pissed away his authority these past three years, with his daily juvenile tweets and schoolyard rhetoric. The country needs a president now who can inspire, galvanize, and lead. Tonight I saw a president who looked tired, afraid, and completely unconvincing. He ended by calling for an end to partisanship, and the nation coming together to fight this threat. That’s what any president should do in his position, in a moment of great national crisis. It is difficult to imagine a president with less credibility to make that ask

Real leadership in this crisis is going to have to come from governors, from public health officials, and from institutional leaders. We saw tonight that even when Trump is trying to be on his best behavior, he just doesn’t have much of a clue about the nature of the crisis, or how it can best be fought.

UPDATE: You have GOT to be kidding me?!

Here’s what he said, from the transcript:

To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days. The new rules will go into effect Friday at midnight. These restrictions will be adjusted subject to conditions on the ground.

There will be exemptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings, and these prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things as we get approval. Anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we are discussing. These restrictions will also not apply to the United Kingdom.

But now:

The President of the United States, on live television, reading prepared remarks, told the world that the US was cutting off all trade with Europe for thirty days. But it wasn’t true.

Completely freaking incompetent. No excuse at all. We are in such trouble…

UPDATE.2:

UPDATE.3: So Americans can travel to and from Europe, but not Europeans? We can still go on vacation there? What sense does that make? Who thought this policy up?

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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