From the Left



What Trump doesn't care to know about coronavirus could hurt us

By Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

In a break from his usual claims of expertise on just about everything, President Donald Trump occasionally admits to learning something that he did not know before.

Such a moment notably came during his visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta where, wearing the bright red "Keep America Great" cap of his 2020 reelection campaign, he did a presentable job of sounding interested in what the real experts were doing to slow the global spread of COVID-19.

"Who would have thought?" he asked during the visit to the nerve center for the government's response to the coronavirus outbreak. "Who would have thought we would even be having the subject?"

Ah, does that sound familiar? My mind raced back to 2017 when Trump tried to explain his and congressional Republicans' inability to fulfill his campaign promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. Contrary to his wishes, the law was becoming increasingly popular.

"Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated," he said.

Nobody? Where, one might wonder, had he been during the yearslong political dogfight that had created Obamacare? Oh, yes. Developing real estate and reality TV shows.


Now, rather than study the issue in the manner of more conventional presidents, Trump offered oddball theories to explain Obamacare's growing popularity.

"People hate it, but now they see that the end is coming, and they're saying, 'Oh, maybe we love it,' " Trump said. "There's nothing to love. It's a disaster, folks."

Yet, neither his White House nor congressional Republicans have come up with an alternative or worked with Democrats on a compromise, even as protection of Obamacare became a pivotal issue that helped Democrats to retake the House majority in 2018.

But now the coronavirus crisis raises new and far more urgent questions about this president's public health policies. Asked during his CDC visit why his White House had shut down an agency established in 2016 by President Barack Obama to handle such crises after the 2014 Ebola outbreak, he stumbled around verbally to say in effect that, yes, nobody saw the coronavirus coming.


swipe to next page



Paul Szep Mike Shelton Drew Sheneman Chip Bok Marshall Ramsey Jimmy Margulies