By Robert A. Vella
From the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
Medical definition of persecution complex: the feeling of being persecuted especially without basis in reality.
Let’s be fair here. The coronavirus pandemic is a global public health disaster of unprecedented proportions, at least over the last 100 years. No U.S. president, and no other national leader for that matter, could avoid being criticized for their response to such a crisis. However, the level of criticism is commensurate with the quality and effectiveness of their response. For example, George W. Bush suffered little political damage after the 9/11 terrorist attacks even though it happened on his watch; but, he was politically destroyed after the 2008 financial collapse which triggered the Great Recession. It matters very much to the American people how presidents perform when the chips are down.
The chips are most definitely down now for all of us, and President Trump has performed about as poorly as imaginable. He initially denied the COVID-19 threat while obstructing the medical discovery of infections in the populace, then moved reluctantly and slowly to mobilize his administration’s response, and then was belatedly forced into taking more action when the situation got way out of control (see: U.S. jobless claims could top record 1.5 million next week: economists).
Even now, however, Trump is still performing badly and the criticism is piling-on like a thunderstorm on a flooded Midwestern farm. True to his narcissistic nature, he is refusing to accept responsibility and lashing out at perceived enemies. Trump’s megalomania only exacerbates his incompetence because it prevents him from learning from his mistakes. He is simply unable to grow into the office of President of the United States. He cannot see any duty other than that which serves his self-interest. This misconception of reality is putting Trump into a psychological conundrum: I’m doing a great job, so why does everybody hate me?
Here are today’s new stories:
WASHINGTON — U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams warned Monday that the coronavirus outbreak will worsen this week and said that people across the country are not taking the threat seriously enough.”I want America to understand this week, it’s going to get bad,” Adams said in an interview on the “TODAY” show.
The disease is spreading, he said, because many people — especially young people — are not abiding by guidance to stay at home and practice social distancing.”Right now, there are not enough people out there who are taking this seriously,” he said.
Nearly half all US cases — 16,887– are in New York state, making it the epicenter of the US outbreak. New Yorkers, along with millions of people in at least seven other states, are facing orders from their governors aimed at keeping them home to prevent further spread.
There are 34,354 cases of coronavirus across the US. Covid-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, has killed at least 414 people across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
“I watch and listen to the Fake News, CNN, MSDNC, ABC, NBC, CBS, some of FOX (desperately & foolishly pleading to be politically correct), the [New York Times], & the [Washington Post], and all I see is hatred of me at any cost,” Trump said on Twitter.
Trump has regularly attacked the press since entering the White House, often referring to reporters as “fake news” and the “enemy of the people. Last week, Trump railed against an NBC reporter, calling him “terrible,” after being asked what he’d say to Americans who are scared.
His tirade against the group of news outlets came after a day in which several state and federal lawmakers called on the president to use his authority to help health systems being overwhelmed by a surge of patients.
President Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic sparked uproar and alarm among governors and mayors on Sunday as Trump and his administration’s top advisers continued to make confusing statements about the federal government’s scramble to confront the crisis, including whether he will force private industry to mass produce needed medical items.
As deaths climbed and ahead of a potentially dire week, Trump — who has sought to cast himself as a wartime leader — reacted to criticism that his administration has blundered with a torrent of soaring boasts and searing grievances. He tweeted that Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) and others “shouldn’t be blaming the Federal Government for their own shortcomings. We are there to back you up should you fail, and always will be!”
Trump changed his tone at an evening news conference, however, touting an “amazing” relationship with New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) and saying governors he spoke with on Sunday will be “very happy” with the upcoming federal response.
Governors, mayors and front-line health care workers confronting rising numbers of critically ill coronavirus patients said Sunday they have not received meaningful amounts of federal aid, including the shipments of desperately needed masks and other emergency equipment that administration officials say they have already dispatched.
Amid the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic, Anthony S. Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been charged with a herculean task: trying to keep President Trump’s public statements about the novel virus rooted in fact.
Now it appears that Fauci’s frustration is showing.
When asked Sunday by Science magazine’s Jon Cohen about having to stand in front of the nation as “the representative of truth and facts” when “things are being said that aren’t true and aren’t factual,” the 79-year-old said there is only so much he can do.
“I can’t jump in front of the microphone and push him down,” Fauci said, referencing Trump. “OK, he said it. Let’s try and get it corrected for the next time.”
Joe Biden sided with Senate Democrats for scuttling Republican plans to pass a more than $2 trillion coronavirus economic relief package for the House to consider Monday.
The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate described provisions for $500 billion in loans to industries hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic as a “slush fund,” “with almost no conditions,” without providing “sufficient, sustainable relief to workers.” He borrowed language from congressional Democrats who aren’t happy with the current deal with their GOP counterparts and the White House.
“The Trump Administration could even allow companies to use taxpayers’ money for stock buybacks and executive pay packages, and they don’t have to tell Americans where the money is going for months,” the two-term vice president said.
Lawmakers are acutely aware that when financial markets open on Monday morning, Wall Street traders will be looking to Washington for signs of bipartisanship and comity as the country hurtles toward a possible recession.
They may also be worried about their ability to stay in session as the pandemic coursed through the U.S. Capitol, causing five senators to self-isolate.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., left the Capitol on Sunday morning after learning he had tested positive for COVID-19. Within hours, two other GOP senators – Mike Lee and Mitt Romney, both of Utah – said they would self-quarantine because of their contacts with Paul. Two other GOP senators had previously gone into quarantine because of possible exposure to the virus: Sens. Rick Scott of Florida and Cory Gardner of Colorado.
The developments threatened the GOP’s Senate majority, in a chamber divided 53-to-47.
WASHINGTON (AP) — In the fall of 2008, an unlikely alliance of lawmakers, regulators and Bush administration officials banded together to rescue an economy they feared was hours away from collapse. They also unwittingly reshaped American politics, unleashing a populist furor that lingers in both parties to this day.
More than a decade later, those same political forces are shadowing a new debate over emergency government spending — only with far more taxpayer money at stake and even greater uncertainty over Americans’ futures.
On the table: a nearly $2 trillion rescue package for major industries, small businesses and individuals impacted by the fast-moving coronavirus.
The U.S. is entering a recession. The ultimate fear is that could turn into a protracted malaise that has some flavor of a depression.
That’s far from the base case, with many analysts and investors taking heart from signs of revival in the original epicenter of the coronavirus — China — and predicting a second-half upturn in the U.S. after the contagion hopefully subsides.
But as business activity halts and layoffs surge, some prominent economy watchers — including former White House chief economists Glenn Hubbard and Kevin Hassett and former Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Alan Blinder — have drawn comparisons to the Great Depression, though they’ve stopped well short of forecasting another one.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard predicted the U.S. unemployment rate may hit 30% in the second quarter because of shutdowns to combat the coronavirus, with an unprecedented 50% drop in gross domestic product.