Thursday, March 26, 2020

Donald Trump, the Pompous Windbag

The United States has launched a frantic diplomatic campaign to fill big shortcomings in the country’s medical system amid a rising death toll from the coronavirus. 

Donald Trump cannot deny anymore because the Covid-19 situation in his country is getting dire and desperate:

Yet on Sunday, the US President, while acknowledging the pathogen as "a very contagious virus, it's incredible”, had in the same breadth, boasted “it's something we have tremendous control of". 

He then trumpeted his administration's readiness to combat the outbreak – and the country’s assets of essential supplies glibly rolled off his tongue. "We have millions of masks being done. We have respirators. We have ventilators. We have a lot of things happening right now". 

On Tuesday, Trump (left) even gave the impression that the country is self-sufficient. 

“We should never be reliant on a foreign country for the means of our own survival”, Trump had declared. “America will never be a supplicant nation”. 

Never mind the 'never' because a CNN report yesterday said that despite Trump’s public rhetoric, the White House is appealing to countries in Europe and Asia to give or sell the US items as basic as hand sanitizers and as complex as respirators to combat the surging coronavirus pandemic. 

In a list obtained by CNN, the State Department lays out 25 items, telling diplomats to ask their host countries for these supplies with a clear priority on items available "today" and a secondary focus on equipment and items available in weeks. 

The list spans the gamut of equipment that overburdened American hospitals are seeking. 

The simpler items include biohazard bags, N-95 masks, gloves, gowns, surgical caps, shoe covers, sharps containers, protective eyewear, hand sanitizer and Tyvek suits. The more complex items on the list include metered dose inhalers, ventilators, elastomeric respirators and powered air purifying respirators. 

On that same Tuesday, Trump spoke by phone with the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in (left), asking if his country could supply medical equipment. 

Strangely, the official White House account was silent on the request  but according to the South Korean presidency, the Blue House, the call was made at Trump’s “urgent request”! 

Trump’s undersecretary of state for political affairs, David Hale had also written to US ambassadors abroad: “We are in critical need of many items, and the United States is prepared to purchase items for hundreds of millions [of dollars]”. And he added that the government was willing to do business with anyone “except Moscow”. 

On the ground, top US health officials have warned that as Covid-19 spreads across the country, hospitals and first responders are already facing a critical shortage of personal protective equipment and other related medical equipment needed to safely manage the pandemic.

[Insert chuckles, chortles and cackles here!] Trump should indeed be crowned the pompous windbag of the world. I am sure he is very proud of it.

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