By Jeff Spencer
A leader with no followers is just a person taking a walk. Donald Trump takes many walks and it is costing our country time and lives with every stroll.
Trump extended social distancing to the end of April, reversing course after a week of suggesting that measures could be lifted by Easter. The New York Times reports that projections of numbers of potential casualties and poll numbers are what changed his mind. To be clear, these projections have been reported for months now, and it bears repeating that the projection of casualties is what prompted Trump to stop calling the pandemic a “hoax” two weeks ago
It is a good thing that health experts in the administration reminded Trump of the numbers they had put before him earlier.
Focus, Mr. President. Please.
Voters need to sit down and think long and hard about the second reason why Trump extended social distancing – polling. Poll numbers played a role in handling a national pandemic? Yes. Sadly, yes.
The American people are looking to our leaders to tell us the appropriate course to take to protect our loved ones. The polls should have nothing to do with these decisions. In this case, the polls helped bring Trump back from a stroll towards the epidemiological cliff. But what if the public was a little less sure of social distancing? Would Trump have ignored the advice of all his experts – men and women who have spent their whole lives studying and preparing for this exact scenario – and plowed ahead with relaxing social distancing measures?
We need a president who focuses on facts and implements the guidelines from health experts, not one who could make the wrong decision because the latest Fox News poll is outside the margin of error.
There is a lot of talk of curves today, but there are two curves that will determine how America looks in the future.
One of them is the epidemiological curve and how we bend it down to protect the healthcare system and the workers who risk their lives caring for patients. Every government official needs to focus on that endeavor until we have achieved that goal, regardless of the polling.
The second is the curve on which President Trump is graded. That curve will determine what the next four years will look like. It will look like the last month, full of detours, misstatements, and course corrections. Voters need to hold Trump accountable for his inability to focus on the epidemiological curve.
Jeff Spencer is vice chair of the Collier County Democratic Party.