Trump administration lacks transparency, misinforms public amid COVID-19 crisis

Allison Gillman '23, Opinions Editor

Graphic by Allison Gillman ’23
The Trump administration had been trivializing the pandemic and playing the blame-game for the past few months as the coronavirus sweeps through the United States. Most recently, Trump made an announcement that he would be disbanding the emergency White House Task Force to focus on reopening the country, which he quickly retracted the following day.

The world is in a time of crisis; there’s no sugarcoating it. In the United States, we look to the White House for information and guidance, trusting our elected officials to be transparent and united behind a common goal. 

Having said that, why is our commander in chief sending us mixed messages? Why does he suggest we poison ourselves? Why is it that millions of people have contracted the virus while Trump boasts about how well we’re doing? 

I fail to understand how the president thinks he’s running the country during this pandemic. Instead of releasing information in a manner appropriate to the state of our nation, he manipulates facts during his press conferences and politicizes the world’s efforts to tackle the issue effectively.

People deserve leadership during a time of crisis, not childish antics. President Trump is sending the American public mixed messages as he blatantly contradicts and undermines the task force experts working to bring this virus under control.

First, the Trump administration downplayed the pandemic while advisers warned the president about the severity of the disease. Since then, statements Trump has made in the past four months during his COVID-19 press conferences often contradict the information from his own emergency White House Task Force. As a result, the Trump administration, at the very least, has left American citizens misinformed and confused. 

Uncertainty and disorder pose a tremendous threat to America’s ability to overcome the outbreak. This becomes especially apparent as anti-lockdown protests begin to pressure state reopenings, the reality of which could be deadly. In order to properly and honestly keep the American public informed, Trump needs to heed the consequences of his statements as a powerful public figure and respect the recommendations of the experts working to combat the virus.

In order to properly and honestly keep the American public informed, Trump needs to heed the consequences of his statements as a powerful public figure and respect the recommendations of the experts working to combat the virus.”

In addition, CNN reported that Trump made several claims about how the coronavirus was unforeseen. He insisted that other world leaders knew about it and did not, but should have, warned the United States.

The president’s blame-game attitude communicates to the rest of the world that the United States is essentially unable to manage the situation on its own, even with the myriad of resources to which it has access. His puerile behavior also impresses upon the American people that other world leaders were at fault for allowing the United States’ affairs to spin out of control. 

Imagine where we would be today if Trump had listened and reacted to the repeated warnings from the US intelligence community, the World Health Organization and even his own advisers. Would we have had more time to secure more tests? Would our hospitals have had adequate time to prepare? Would more lives have been saved?

I was apprehensive in January and February, but today I find myself misled and aggrieved knowing that President Trump values his own political agenda over the well-being of the country he swore to protect. 

Trump’s mixed messages have yet to stop. He announced May 5 that the Trump administration was planning to wind down the task force in order to focus on restarting the economy and reopening the United States; keeping in mind that evidence has proven the pandemic is still raging. A mere 24 hours later, Trump reversed his statement, announcing that the task force would indefinitely continue its work, after all. 

I not only find this infuriating, but an utter sign of disrespect to the thousands of American families and workers still suffering from the virus or fighting on the front lines to eliminate the virus. 

Highly significant information should be brought under the public eye once officials have thoroughly discussed and evaluated the issue and come to strict unanimity on a decision. Trump’s announcement and subsequent hasty recission only revealed the impulsiveness behind his choice and further illustrated his desire to maintain a daily presence in the news cycle.

We are at war with a disease, a unique and dangerous threat. To win this war, the United States requires a strong, unified, cooperative and upfront government. President Trump, on the other hand, is persistent in running his campaign playbook to get more press while he should be running the country to save American lives and jobs.

It remains unacceptable that the Trump administration continues to contradict the experts and mislead the American public at the expense of thousands of lives.