I started my routine morning round of the news today (April 25) and discovered a Guardian article about the Trump Administration’s decision not to participate in a global initiative to “accelerate cooperation on a coronavirus vaccine and to share research, treatment and medicines across the globe.” Because it’s a Guardian article, a media source I think is reliable, that’s probably true. Because the initiative is being spearheaded by the World Health Organization, I can only assume that Trump’s outlier status is a result of his decision to blame the WHO for the pandemic.
The United Nations and its auxiliary agencies are, after all, the appropriate venue for international cooperation on the scale necessary to address a worldwide disaster. An ad hoc committee of 20 world leaders, minus Trump, participated in the virtual meeting, as did philanthropist Bill Gates. I guess we now have to go to non-office-holding billionaires for sane American participation.
As the French President, Emmanuel Macron, noted: “We will continue to mobilize all G7 and G20 countries … and … hope we will be able to reconcile around this joint initiative both China and the US, because this is about saying the fight against Covid-19 is a common human good and there should be no division in order to win this battle.” Yep, as I recall that virus is no respecter of borders, wall or not.
Thursday we witnessed the President suggesting that injecting bleach would somehow help us defeat the virus. I don’t know about you, but one of the first things I was taught as a child was to avoid certain household staples, like bleach. So, to even think that was a feasible suggestion says something about the current state of Donald Trump’s knowledge about the world.
Friday, after health officials throughout the country as well as the manufacturers of things like Lysol spend the previous 24-hours warning against the President’s suggestion, our Commander-in-Chief demonstrated his bravery by ending an abbreviated press conference early and foregoing any questions. Perhaps that’s understandable, given his press secretary’s rationale for his patently deadly medical advice (you reporters got it out of context) and his own (I was being sarcastic) were contradictory and both contradicted what was on tape.
And this morning I wake up to our petulant leader’s decision to stay at home with his bat and ball and let the rest of the world go ahead with potential solutions without what was once considered the world’s “one indispensable nation,” the United States. Well, we’re obviously no longer indispensable. Indeed, we’re probably perceived by the developed nations now as a primary source of superstitions and snake oil.
Don’t even get me started on what the decision by mostly Trump states not to expand Medicaid means in an age of pandemic. Short-sighted comes to mind. So does inhumane, mean and cruel. I thought they belonged to the life-affirming party. Guess not. Probably only on television and in campaign season.