• Nathan Max

Tulsa Rally Confirms Trump's Negligence

Updated: Jun 17


Photo credit: Doug Mills/New York Times. Donald Trump is so desperate to hear crowds cheer, he's willing to risk their health.

Donald Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has been disastrous from the start, and it’s not getting any better.


With nearly 120,000 Americans already dead, Trump will be hosting an indoor political rally Saturday in Tulsa. As one can safely assume there will be no physical distancing and a dearth of masks, the message becomes clear. The president’s compulsive desire to see supporters cheer for him outweighs his concern for their health.


The Trump campaign team must know this is a dangerous endeavor, because it has forced the legions of aspiring attendees to sign a civil-liability release. But the president just doesn’t care. Trump wants to pretend the novel coronavirus has magically disappeared. It hasn’t, and he is making the situation so much worse.


The sad irony for Trump is this virus presented an opportunity, after all his erratic behavior during the first three years of his presidency, to prove he was up to the job. He has failed spectacularly, and we are all paying for his incompetence.


Trump’s dithering ineptitude will almost certainly cost him reelection. If he had shown any leadership ability, competence or common sense, it would have changed public perception, and he could have cruised to victory.


Instead, he has gone from staging lengthy, bizarre, afternoon news conferences -- in which he has suggested ingesting bleach and light, touted unproven therapeutics and made sport of sparring with genuinely concerned reporters -- to sidelining his all-star team of medical experts and ditching his own administration’s safety recommendations.


Trump’s war against masks and distancing makes the least sense. Medical experts all say it is our best defense against the virus. Trump thinks it makes you look weak. But what really makes a person appear feeble is being hooked to a ventilator, barely able to breathe, while clinging to life by a thread.


Trump must believe that if Americans rush back into society like there is nothing to worry about, the economy will immediately recover and he will be reelected. Logic dictates there will be more illness, more death and more fear.


The latter scenario is already playing out in Arizona, Texas, Florida and several other states, where positive cases are exploding and hospitals are running out of space. A deadly virus tearing through major cities doesn’t help the economy at all, and Trump will be held responsible by his most loyal and reliable set of voters: Seniors.


Seniors are the most vulnerable victims of this virus by a wide margin. Trump is willing to sacrifice them to fix his precious economy, and poll after poll already shows they have turned on him. How could they not? He is showing total disregard for their lives.


The economics of a pandemic are you first have to get the virus under control, said University of Chicago professor and economist Austan Goolsbee. That hasn’t happened yet. People in this country are still dying to the tune of about 1,000 per day. If the virus isn’t contained, people will not participate in the economy in large enough numbers to fix it.


In Oklahoma, Trump seems to have some kind of rock-star status, because supposedly upward of 1 million people have requested tickets for the event, scheduled to be staged inside a 19,000-seat arena. Gov. Kevin Stitt has asked the campaign to relocate to a larger outdoor venue.


If nothing else, that could somewhat mitigate the potential damage of this ill-advised pep rally, clearly designed to make a thin-skinned man think the people love and support him. He will get his moment with the adoring crowd he so desperately craves, but it will come at a high cost for many of his supporters and their loved ones at home.


All the rallies and cheering in the world can’t undo the ongoing mishandling of Trump’s response or repair his standing among the majority of this nation’s citizens. The damage is done.


Killing off his own supporters certainly won’t help.

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