Conservative writer slams Trump as his plans to fight the coronavirus go up in smoke

Conservative writer slams Trump as his plans to fight the coronavirus go up in smoke
President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence walk from the Oval Office to a coronavirus (COVID-19) update briefing Tuesday, April 14, 2020, in the Rose Garden of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

Conservative journalist Michael Brendan Dougherty, in an article this week for the National Review, deemed President Donald Trump’s promises for a multifaceted response to the coronavirus as “vaporware,” stressing that the White House has yet to make good on many of the proposals that have been touted.


In the tech industry, the term “vaporware” is used to describe dubious software or hardware that has been advertised to the public even though it hasn’t been manufactured or proven yet. It's all hype and no results — exactly the modus operandi for our reality show president.

“Much of the federal government’s response to the crisis has been vaporware,” Dougherty asserts. “We’ve gotten lots of advertising and an implicit promise of a world-class operation to fight the disease. But it doesn’t exist yet, and it’s becoming clearer that the White House is spinning its wheels, looking for something — anything — to do other than solving the crisis at hand.”

On Friday, March 13, Dougherty notes, Trump promised an “extraordinary public-private partnership” in which “our marquee corporations would coordinate with the White House to beat the coronavirus.”

“To hear the president tell it then,” Dougherty recalls, “one expected to see the quick roll-out of drive-through testing centers in the parking lots of Walmart and Target retailers. CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid were said to be joining in too. Google would launch an easy-to-use website helping people determine whether they should get a test and directing them where to get one. This should have been the beginning of America’s test-and-trace scheme. But of course, it wasn’t.”

In early May, Dougherty notes, the testing centers that Trump promised could be found in “fewer than a dozen of the retailers Trump touted. CVS has rapid testing in five states, with plans to expand. Walgreens has drive-through testing operations in eight states.”

Widespread testing for coronavirus, Dougherty adds, “needs to be joined to a contact-tracing system” — which has been successful in reducing the spread of coronavirus in South Korea, for example.

“Our nation has the capacity and resources to accomplish what has been accomplished in East Asia and what is beginning to be accomplished in Europe,” Dougherty writes. “All the pieces of the system needed to do so are being developed. They may begin to be assembled through private efforts alone, but assembling them with speed and with a straight line of communication to the public would require real leadership from a White House willing and able to solve coordination problems and blend the efforts of private actors, states and municipalities into a coherent national plan. Unfortunately, this is not that White House.”

Dougherty concludes his article by lamenting that while Trump’s administration is great at promising to escalate the United States’ battle against coronavirus, it is far from great at following through.

Trump’s administration, he writes, “has continued to tout the supposed effectiveness of its response. But up to now, the American people have faced down this pandemic on their own — while their president attempts to market his way out of another crisis.”

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