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Has the Trump administration responded well to COVID-19? Show more Show less

Government responses to emergency situations like the coronavirus outbreak can have a critical impact on the health and wellbeing of the public, and on the economy and society at large. So how have President Trump and his team responded? Will the American people benefit from or be hurt by the actions of the Trump Administration?

No, the Trump administration has failed in its response to COVID-19 Show more Show less

Delays, botched testing kits, infrastructure degradation, half-truths, have all put the American public at significant risk, and made the dangers of the pandemic much more real.
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President Trump delayed critical response to COVID-19 and only did the bare minimum, which led the United States into a health crisis that could have been curtailed

Although President Trump received enough information to imply an incoming pandemic, he chose only to block flights from China, overconfident that the virus would fizzle out. As a result, time was lost, the US population is at heightened risk, and the United States is behind other nations which started testing and planning for a vaccine far earlier.
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Context

The Argument

Shocked at the prevailing misinformation of the Trump administration, Dr. Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, says President Donald Trump deliberately ignored scientific direction for the two months at the very beginning of this global pandemic.[1] On February 28, President Trump held a rally and called COVID-19 the Democrats’ “new hoax,” simultaneously politicizing the incoming pandemic and downplaying its validity. On Fox News on March 24, Trump also tried to draw attention away from the deadly virus by explaining that the flu and car accidents lead to high mortality, but the country is able to keep going.[2] According to Dr. Jha, the U.S. is far behind other global superpowers in terms of providing widespread COVID-19 testing. As soon as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention learned of the coronavirus outbreaks in China, they sent out a warning on January 8 of 2020. President Trump’s only reaction at the time was to limit flights from China, and when the virus reached the states, he falsely claimed that everyone would have access to testing. President Trump’s negative influence on the pandemic’s reach is multi-faceted, Dr. Jha explains. His rhetoric has pervasive effect and now much of the U.S. population have discarded medical advice simply because their president has shrugged off warnings from the very beginning, refused to take responsibility for misinformation making the virus seem as though it is both weak and practically out of the government’s hands, and has set a poor example by refusing to practice social distancing and take a test. He has also referred to COVID-19 as the “foreign virus,” both an offensive and misleading remark that takes pressure off any ownership over the outcomes.[3] Most troubling, according to CNN, is the lack of communication with the public. If President Trump really did understand the enormity of the situation in January and imposed travel restrictions, the opposite message was shared with the U.S. population, as he reassured everyone that the virus would disappear shortly. In a January 22 interview with CNBC, he confirmed no one should worry, because the virus was simply “…one person coming from China…” in another case of inaccurate information.[4] The U.S. has faced health crises before, explains the Hudson Institute, and it is unclear why President Trump did not “loosen FDA restrictions sooner” than the end of February, which would have hastened the preparation of testing kits, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci.[5] There was a potential to shield against COVID-19 before the U.S. was swept up in the pandemic, but President Trump unfortunately did not act quick enough or correct falsehoods.

Counter arguments

According to Fox News host Sean Hannity, who – like President Donald Trump – has also been accused of calling COVID-19 “a hoax,” assured The Guardian that his and Trump’s words have been misconstrued. His intention, he claims, was to draw attention to the “Democrats and the media” who have proven relentless in their disapproval of the Trump administration. It would be a “hoax” he explains, for Democrats to use the coronavirus as another media weapon against Trump, and he believes they did so. He also asserts that there should be some sort of leniency during a pandemic when there will be many mistakes.[6] President Trump also confirms for himself that his use of the word “hoax” was in reference to a string of accusations the Democrats have made on his decisions. He also reminds the public that he instated a travel ban in January for anyone who had been in China. Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the leading voices on President Trump’s coronavirus task force, praises Trump’s decision to do so, explaining that the absence of such a bold decision would ensure “many, many more cases, right here, that we would have to be dealing with.”[7] Although CNBC reports on the negative impacts of Trump’s inaction, the president is sure to reiterate the lack of information he actually had and the irresponsibility of the European Union that added to the impact of the pandemic in the U.S.[8] According to Business Insider, President Trump also admitted that he initially “downplayed” COVID-19 in order to lift the spirits of the nation. He is firm in his stance that while the U.S. could have benefited from a faster reaction to the pandemic, he did all that was possible with the information he had and with the well-being of the nation in mind.[1]

Framing

Premises

Rejecting the premises

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-admits-downplayed-coronavirus-i-knew-it-could-be-horrible-2020-3
  2. https://www.thedailybeast.com/team-trump-cant-erase-the-boss-coronavirus-hoax
  3. https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-experts-give-trump-abysmal-grades-on-pandemic-response-2020-3
  4. https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/17/politics/fact-check-trump-always-knew-pandemic-coronavirus/index.html
  5. https://www.hudson.org/research/15889-the-truth-about-the-national-security-council-s-pandemic-team
  6. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/apr/04/sean-hannity-defends-fox-news-claims-coronavirus-misinformation-hoax
  7. https://www.statnews.com/2020/02/29/trump-administration-expands-coronavirus-travel-ban-to-include-iran/
  8. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/15/trumps-latest-travel-ban-highlights-gaps-in-containment-net.html

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This page was last edited on Sunday, 26 Jul 2020 at 14:50 UTC