Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Covid Chronicles. Chapter 13: No Confidence in an ‘Acting’ Administration

Read chapter 12 here

Source:  Washington Post,

Saturday, March 28 

Here’s what I worry about most. 

Since the beginning of his administration, Trump has taken a reckless approach to making cabinet and department appointments. What he wants, of course, are ‘yes men’ – white men, for the most part. Anyone who dares to cross him will first be pilloried and bullied on Twitter and then, after left dangling for a time, humiliating let go. Many of his appointments still serve in an ‘acting’ capacity with little experience in government administration and, most disturbingly, as we are learning, no experience in disaster relief. 

And then there are the vacancies. 

Lately, there’s been a back-and-forth argument regarding Trump’s alleged gutting public health programs, particularly in the areas of influenza and pandemic preparedness. The so-called fact checkers – FactCheck.org and PolitiFact, notably – have pointed out that although Trump has proposed deep cuts in each of his budgets, Congress has preserved funding. And that is indeed the case. But what they overlook with their exclusive focus on funding is the expenditure side of the ledger. In its 3/3/2020 post (“Democrats Misleading Coronavirus Claims”), FactCheck.org explanation omits use of the words “acting”, “vacancies”, “experience”. The three authors make no effort to investigate the qualifications of acting administrators who may not be the best fit for the job, the number of positions that have been left vacant, and the collective experience of the leadership who are now in these positions. 

New York Times, 3/26/2020

Fortunately, some reporters are more diligent in their research and investigation. In yesterday’s New York Times, two reporters put the FactCheck piece to shame, and, with a no- nonsense headline, shined a light on the real problem. It’s not what’s in the budget but that counts, but how the budget is being used to fund critically important government operations. In this regard, the Trump administration has been failing since well before the first new of the coronavirus leaked out of China. 

New York Times, 3/24/2020

The biggest problem is Trump’s insistence on staging daily presidential re-election campaign disguised as coronavirus update. Every time he opens his mouth, lies and fabrications and disinformation fill the room. The only adult present, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who oftentimes looks pained by the proceedings, raising a hand to his face to obscure his reaction. His reactions have been the source of numerous memes.

We need new rules here. 
1. Coronavirus briefings should be conducted by medical experts. 
2. They shouldn't be held at the White House. 
3. Politicians shouldn't be anywhere near the microphone. (In fact, they should be barred from the room.) 

Doctors and other medical personnel, first responders, state and local officials need to speak together in a calm and unifying voice as this type of behavior is clearly beyond our president’s reach. Trump wants the country ‘opened up and rarin’ to go” by Easter, which goes against the advice of epidemiologists and other medical professionals. We have a long road ahead before we reach the “rarin’ to go” stage. 

Here endeth the rant.

Read chapter 14 here

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