Mr. Trump appears to be recovering from his illness, and that’s a good thing. But in the process, if lowered by the virus that knelt his country, he had some inspiration and wisdom enough to finally figure out how devastating this pandemic was. You might have expected that you would have gotten.
After all, he “learned a lot” from that experience and said “going to school” at COVID-19. “OK,” said the president.
But recent events give us a reason to doubt that Mr. Trump really “understands it.” If he went to school with COVID, he seems to have learned the wrong lesson. Instead of insight and empathy, Mr. Trump returned to spin and politically favorable terms.
“Don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it,” he said as if the virus might be desired.
There is a world of difference between the treatment of Mr. Trump, who was attacked by COVID-19, and the treatment of millions of other Americans. Within 24 hours, he was taken by helicopter from the White House to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland, where his private medical team was in charge.
He received medical care that was almost out of reach. He was given an experimental drug, which he inadvertently considered a “cure”.
In the meantime, the public has collected only small pieces of contradictory information about his condition. Mr. Trump’s therapist deliberately obfuscated whether he received oxygen. Doctors said they wanted to project a “bright” stance.
It’s a strangely familiar strategy. When British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was hospitalized for a serious illness in April, his adviser initially tried to downplay it. In July, Brazilian President Jair Bolsinaro tested positive and was hospitalized, but continued to ridicule the pathogenicity of the disease.
During the long months of this pandemic, Mr. Trump was reluctant to admit reality and science. Instead, he chose to discuss the severity of the virus on a regular basis.
Certainly, there are benefits from a leader who is calm and does not unnecessarily scare his people. But Mr. Trump also downplayed the virus to strengthen his political opportunities.
When Mr. Trump returned to the White House, the dramatic scene was broadcast live on television. Salute to the helicopter, pulling off the face mask when standing on the balcony. All of these were designed to show strength and represent an image. Strongman leader who was not beaten and was not beaten.
That is the aura that Mr. Trump wants to project to voters. Especially now, he is chasing presidential rival Joe Biden a few weeks before the presidential election. It’s an ironic strategy.
Mr. Trump’s final infection with the virus has nothing to do with his weaknesses and strengths. But it reminds us of how reckless and unplanned the administration of this pandemic was. It’s a shame he didn’t take the opportunity to reset this approach.
Notes from the editor
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