This letter to the editor by Paul Fisk appeared in the Albany Times Union on March 14, 2020.
Trump’s lack of attack creates needless chaos
Donald Trump’s mishandling of the coronavirus emergency illustrates the folly of tolerating incompetence, ignorance and arrogance in a president.
Trump radically reduced preparedness by cutting funding to key public health agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Security Council, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services.
He shut down the NSC’s entire global health security unit and the corresponding unit in the DHS. The global health section of the CDC was cut from 49 to 10 members. He dismantled the government’s entire pandemic response chain of command set up by President Barack Obama from lessons learned in previous health crises.
As the coronavirus picture emerged, Trump’s first concern was for his personal political image as reflected by the stock market. He consistently contradicted health professionals. He falsely claimed the virus would probably just disappear shortly; that a vaccine would be deployed in a few months; and, that he was personally handling the situation brilliantly.
In the meantime, health professionals lost precious weeks due to a lack of accurate test kits. Health workers were put at risk and ordered to work without training or protective gear. As the disease spread inexorably, he further contradicted professionals by disputing their statistics and advising that people with mild infections could go to work.
Such ignorance and arrogance can put many lives at risk and should not be tolerated.