Coronavirus

“They have to treat us well”

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

Trump has not invoked the Defense Production Act to ramp up production of medical supplies and equipment, and why not? Doesn't he love to wave his hands and make things happen like a big boy?

He does, but not if it may benefit someone he dislikes.

Speaking at the White House yesterday, Trump said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has to 'treat him well' if the state wants help. It's a "two-way street," Trump said, and White House officials say he started attacking Cuomo in private earlier this month.

“If you’re good and respectful to [Trump], he will treat you the same—it’s that simple,” said one senior White House official. “The president has always said that he fights back when he needs to, and the situation with [Cuomo] is no different. If you keep that in mind, their sort of seesaw relationship during [coronavirus] doesn’t come as a surprise.

Another person who had spoken to the president earlier this month recounted that one day Trump had mentioned in a meeting how well Cuomo was behaving and handling the crisis, only to, two days later, start bashing the governor in a different private conversation as “nasty.”

It is quite literally true that more people will suffer and die than otherwise would have because Trump is refusing to act out of personal spite. And it's not even about the sick people; it's about a personal beef with their governor who, unlike Trump, is displaying actual leadership.

To call this 'petty' feels like an understatement. It's deranged. And defending Trump by saying he's just 'fighting back' is equally callous. He's fighting back against human lives.

I expect Trump will invoke the Defense Production Act when and if the epidemic explodes in a conservative state like Florida or Texas, both of whom have lickspittle governors that will kiss Trump's feet.