Leroy Vetsch’s April 23 Free Press letter defending Trump’s coronavirus “leadership” is flatly wrong.

David Leonhardt’s devastating March 15 New York Times column inventories Trump’s at least 14 attempts to minimize this crisis. Obviously, Trump views coronavirus “mostly as a public-relations emergency for himself, rather than a public-health emergency for the country.”

The Trump-fomented rebellion against stay-at-home orders violates public health experts’ advice, and is a logical, toxic byproduct of radical-right populism’s mindless, raging hatred against scientists, experts and “elites”: Reopen the economy, whatever it takes —public health and prevented future deaths be damned.

Demonstrating bottomless narcissism (again), Trump demanded stimulus checks display his name, likely delaying their issuance to struggling Americans, to sate Trump’s bloated ego.

Trump’s budget priorities for health agencies: “hack and slash.” His proposed fiscal year 2021 budget, released in February (with coronavirus emerging in the U.S.), sliced National Institutes for Health funding by 7 percent, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funding by 16 percent, and zero-budgeted the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Grasping desperately for a silver-bullet cure, Trump repeatedly touted the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, notwithstanding health experts’ insistence it is not proven effective against coronavirus. On April 24, the FDA officially warned against using hydroxychloroquine, citing “serious heart rhythm problems.”

After Rick Bright (who headed the federal agency facilitating coronavirus treatment and vaccine development) objected to Trump’s hydroxychloroquine fantasy, he was demoted, in obvious retaliation.

Trump’s recent musing about injecting or ingesting disinfectants (Clorox or Lysol, anyone?) to fight coronavirus infection reveals bottomless stupidity. And no, he wasn’t being “sarcastic.” After 18,000+ lies and falsehoods, nobody with any brains can seriously believe him.

This is exemplary “leadership?” My mouth is gaping.

Fred Slocum

Mankato

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