Economist Paul Krugman: Trump's bungled coronavirus response shows 'much damage a leader with an infallibility complex can inflict'

Economist Paul Krugman: Trump's bungled coronavirus response shows 'much damage a leader with an infallibility complex can inflict'
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Election '20

Former Vice President Joe Biden showed his willingness to handle some tough questions from the left when he recently appeared on rapper Charlamagne tha God’s radio show. The most controversial part of the interview came when Biden jokingly told Charlamagne, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black” — a comment Biden has since apologized for. And that apology, according to liberal economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, makes a “powerful case” for choosing Biden over President Donald Trump in 2020’s presidential election.

“Last week,” Krugman explains in his May 26 column, “Joe Biden made an off-the-cuff joke that could be interpreted as taking African-American votes for granted. It wasn’t a big deal: Biden, who loyally served Barack Obama, has long had a strong affinity with black voters, and he has made a point of issuing policy proposals aimed at narrowing racial health and wealth gaps. Still, Biden apologized — and in so doing, he made a powerful case for choosing him over Donald Trump in November.”

Krugman continues, “You see, Biden, unlike Trump, is capable of admitting error. Everybody makes mistakes, and nobody likes admitting having been wrong. But facing up to past mistakes is a crucial aspect of leadership.”

Krugman goes on to explain why it’s so dangerous to have a president who never admits to making a mistake.

“Trump’s pathological inability to admit error — and yes, it really does rise to the level of pathology — has been obvious for years and has had serious consequences,” Krugman writes. “For example, it has made him an easy mark for foreign dictators like North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, who know they can safely renege on whatever promises Trump thought they made. After all, for him to condemn Kim’s actions would mean admitting he was wrong to claim he had achieved a diplomatic breakthrough.”

Trump, Krugman emphasizes, hasn’t become any less arrogant during the coronavirus pandemic. According to Krugman, Trump’s “insistence that he’s always right about everything has crippled America’s response to a deadly virus. We now know that during January and February, Trump ignored repeated warnings from intelligence agencies about the threat posed by the virus. He and his inner circle didn’t want to hear bad news — and in particular, didn’t want to hear anything that might threaten the stock market.”

Krugman adds that Biden, in comparison, “may not be the most impressive presidential candidate ever” but is “clearly a man comfortable in his own skin” and “isn’t afraid to admit it” when he errs.

“It took a pandemic to show just how much damage a leader with an infallibility complex can inflict,” Krugman asserts. “It’s not an exaggeration to suggest that Trump’s inability to acknowledge error has killed thousands of Americans — and it looks likely to kill many more before this is over.”

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