The controversy of Trump downplaying COVID-19

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"Donald Trump Sr. at #FITN in Nashua, NH" by Michael Vadon is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Katey Goins, Co-Creative Editor

It’s not that serious, or is it?

There have been multiple statements released in the media claiming that President Trump is downplaying the seriousness of COVID-19.

For months President Trump has been claiming that everything is under control leading many to question his grip on the seriousness of COVID-19. With this, he has been receiving a lot of criticism saying that he could be doing much more with his position than he is. Along with the criticism, people have been acknowledging the things he has done in response to the virus.

Through almost every step of the way, Trump has been claiming that the situation is under control and that it won’t grow to be a problem. Wednesday, Jan. 22 in an interview with CNBC’s Joe Kernan asked about Trump’s worries with the virus to which he responded, “No. Not at all. And we have it totally under control. It’s one person coming from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.” 

Testing people became a very quick and essential process in this situation. However the CDC had sent out testing kits that were faulty. Trumps’ response to this was to deny the functioning test that was provided by the World Health Organization, skewing the numbers of confirmed cases in the U.S. Wednesday, Feb. 26 he said, “We’re going down, not up. We’re going substantially down, not up,” despite the 85,403 confirmed cases globally. 

Along the way it has been common to see COVID-19 being compared to flu due to their similar symptoms. However, this was taken to the next level when it was claimed that the flu was more of a worry than COVID-19 due to “a much smaller range” of deaths. To which he continued March 7 stating, “It will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.” 

Trump didn’t take aggressive action until six weeks after the first confirmed case in the US. He didn’t urge people to participate in social-distancing until mid-march. “He’s downplayed the situation by not showing great interest in the rising numbers of confirmed cases. Not too long ago, he also claimed this would all be over by Easter weekend, which it obviously wasn’t. I just don’t think he has taken it quite as serious as it should be, at least not in the beginning. I think we definitely would not have had as many cases and deaths if we as a country would’ve acted quicker and taken this more serious from the start,” said Bria Bryant, junior. 

Although some might not agree with how President Trump handled the situation at first, some say he’s not totally at fault. “I think he has made good decisions and not so great decisions, but this is a hard time for everyone and we weren’t very prepared for it so I somewhat understand,” said Bryant. 

Despite the criticism, people have taken the time to acknowledge the things he has done, claiming he’s doing his best. “He is trying to supply hospitals with as much equipment as he can. He is telling people to stay home. He is begging people to not go out unless they have to and not travel. I think he is trying to do the best he can despite we weren’t really prepared for this,” said Hannah Crable, junior.

Even though there are differences in opinions on whether or not Trump is doing enough or not, there is still a common ground between both sides. “Although I do think he is doing the best he probably can, I feel like he jokes around too much. I can’t imagine how much stress he is going through and I would hate to be in his shoes, but in one interview he goofed off and we just don’t need that right now,” said Crable. 

During the growth of the pandemic people have started to stress the idea of what it means to have a good leader. “Having a good leader through a worldwide crisis is extremely important. A good leader must guide their people in the right direction and still make their country calm enough to react properly. If not, it could be really bad for the country as a whole,” said Bryant.