Brutal Wall Street Journal op-ed blasts Trump's ‘chaotic’ response to the coronavirus pandemic

Brutal Wall Street Journal op-ed blasts Trump's ‘chaotic’ response to the coronavirus pandemic
Image via Screengrab / Twitter.

In a startlingly frank attack on Donald Trump, a Wall Street Journal contributor blasted the president for thinking he could bluff his way through the coronavirus pandemic that is currently paralyzing the country.

As columnist Walter Russell Mead put it, “The coronavirus pandemic is the greatest challenge Donald Trump has ever faced,” before adding, “As he has done in other crises, the president is stalling for time as he processes the nature of the threat and tests rhetorical and policy responses to it. But unlike human political adversaries, the coronavirus isn’t something he can bluff, threaten or placate.”

Noting the extreme seriousness of the growing pandemic, Mead continued, “If the epidemic follows the course medical experts believe to be largely inevitable, both the disease and its economic consequences will be immune to Mr. Trump’s standard tactics. He can’t spin them away, divert public attention by creating another drama, or blame them on President Obama, before adding, “If he is especially unlucky, one of his rallies could be implicated in a major outbreak.”

Calling Trump’s approach to problems “improvisational and chaotic,” he pointed out that the president also has a propensity to treat every event as if it was an episode of a reality show.

“The president’s basic political method is theatrical. Many Americans have come to believe that what happens in Washington is mostly fake news, more like professional wrestling than a serious ideological and political struggle with major consequences for their lives,” he wrote. “He approaches politics as entertainment and has repeatedly foiled opponents by turning potentially disastrous developments—impeachment, for example—into thrilling new episodes of ‘The Trump Show.’ But a pandemic will affect voters more than scandals and pratfalls in the faraway capital. If a recession comes as well, will voters lose patience with Mr. Trump’s sizzle and spin?”

The columnist then suggested that the pandemic could do what Trump’s critics haven’t been able to do: bring him down.

“The coronavirus, if it continues on its present course, will soon become the most powerful adversary the Trump administration has yet faced,” Mead explained. “Mr. Trump’s other opponents, from Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to the Iranian mullahs and Kim Jong Un, have nothing on a disease that can threaten the lives of Americans and bring the economy to a grinding halt.”

You can read the whole piece here (subscription required).

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