Coronavirus Could Kill Trump Presidency

We may be seeing the beginning of the end.

The US Presidential election is still eight months away but we may be living in the week that ensures there is not a second term for Donald J. Trump.

The election will come eight months to the day from Super Tuesday, which all but assured that the Democratic nominee will be steady, likable Joe Biden and not cranky, angry Bernie Sanders.

The panic over Coronavirus and COVID-19 got started in earnest, sending shockwaves through both the stock markets and the economy as a while, especially the travel and hospitality industries.

And the Russian-Saudi spat that has sent crude oil prices plummeting will exacerbate the economic shocks. Not only is a serious recession likely but it’s quite probable that we’re already in it.

Neither the Federal Reserve nor the Treasury have much in the way of ammunition to fire, with interest rates already at near-historic lows and runaway deficit spending already the norm.

These trends would weaken the re-election prospects of any President but it’s becoming clear to all but Trump’s most rabid fans that his own ineptitude and bad decisions have made all these crises more severe than they had to be.

Dan Drezner points to “The unique incompetence of Donald Trump in a crisis.”

There are, unfortunately, three important differences between the Obama administration’s Ebola response and the Trump administration’s covid-19 response. They are all related to the unique incompetence of President Trump coping with a crisis not of his own making.

First, Trump’s toddler traits have exacerbated the mismanagement of the situation. The president’s short attention span and quick temper compromised his administration’s ability to handle the crucial weeks when containment was still possible.


Which leads to the second difference: Trump’s staff has now adopted some of the president’s worst toddler traits. According to Politico’s Dan Diamond, back in January “Trump’s aides mocked and belittled Azar as alarmist, as he warned the president of a major threat to public health and his own economic agenda.” 


Trump cannot focus, and he has denuded his staff’s ability to do the same. Neither of these differences is good. Nor is the last the most important difference. Whatever mistakes were made back in 2014, the Obama administration kept Ebola contained. The novel coronavirus is now beyond containment, however. We are now in the mitigation phase. Trump’s go-to impulses of closing borders and blaming foreigners will not work, because the virus is now as American as apple pie.

Over the next week, as testing becomes more widely available and as community spread continues, the number of reported infections and deaths will rise. People who have not panicked yet will begin to freak out. And the federal government has squandered the good will it had among most of the country.

Jonathan Chait proclaims “We Are Watching the Probable Demise of Trump’s Reelection in Real Time.”

President Trump’s political career has consisted of a series of self-generated crises that he has improbably survived, from insinuating that John McCain was a coward for having been captured during the war that Trump himself dodged to the three-year-long high-crime (and misdemeanor) spree. Throughout these disasters, Trump has maintained a floor of support that is apparently immutable and just high enough to give him a plausible chance of reelection. Yet the pair of crises now enveloping the administration appear to be of a completely different political magnitude than anything that has faced Trump to date. It may now really, finally, truly be over for him.

The obvious factor distinguishing the coronavirus and the probable recession from the Access Hollywood tape, firing James Comey, and all the rest is that they have a tangible impact on the lives of Americans. (Or, to put it more precisely, Americans who have voting representation, unlike Puerto Ricans.) Trump’s continuous din of scandals and gaffes is unintelligible to many Americans who either do not follow the news closely, or follow Trump-controlled news organs, and who have instead judged his presidency by the direct experience of peace and prosperity. Trump has done one very big thing very well: He rebranded the economic expansion he inherited as his own creation, like the licensing deals he makes to splash the Trump name over hotels and resorts other people built. Trump’s handling of the coronavirus turns his greatest strength into perhaps his greatest liability.

A somewhat less obvious factor is that Trump’s own mismanagement has demonstrably contributed to these disasters. The entire crisis has grown out of Trump’s constitutional aversion to long-term planning. In his autobiography, Trump boasted that he does not even plan his days, but simply reacts to events as they happen. That process is now dominated by cable news, and especially the stock market, which is Trump’s narrow and highly distorted prism for understanding the entire economy. He dissolved the skilled team of pandemic experts he inherited from Obama on the overt calculation that it wasn’t a priority. “Who would have thought … we’d be having this subject?” he mused.

Brian Klaas proclaims “The coronavirus is Trump’s Chernobyl.”

On Saturday, April 26, 1986, the No. 4 reactor at Chernobyl power station exploded just outside the town of Pripyat in the Soviet Union. During the crucial early hours of the disaster, a cascading series of mistakes exacerbated the emergency. Subordinates who feared their superiors kept quiet. Superiors who feared contradicting the prevailing mythology of the state — and its leader — bent and broke reality. They made a series of smaller lies to protect the big lie: that the Soviet Union had everything under control.

During crises, ideology kills. Protecting myths, rather than people, is deadly.

The rapidly worsening coronavirus outbreak is President Trump’s Chernobyl. By putting dangerous myths above objective facts, Trump has turned the crucial early phases of government response into a disaster. Some public health experts in government have undoubtedly kept quiet, having seen repeatedly what happens to those who publicly contradict this president. And Trump himself, along with those who surround him, has tried to construct a reality that simply does not exist.

Peter Baker piles on with “For Trump, Coronavirus Proves to Be an Enemy He Can’t Tweet Away.”

Defending against criticism of his handling of the coronavirus, President Trump suggested the other day that he could hardly have been expected to be ready for such an unexpected crisis.

“Who would have thought?” he asked during a visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nerve center for the government’s response to the outbreak. “Who would have thought we would even be having the subject?”

Actually, quite a few people would have thought, and did — including the officials in his own White House who were in charge of preparing for just such a pandemic only to have their office shut down in a reorganization in 2018. “The threat of pandemic flu is the No. 1 health security concern,” one of the officials said the day before that happened two years ago. “Are we ready to respond? I fear the answer is no.”

For a president who lives in the moment, rarely planning too far ahead, the coronavirus has proved to be a leadership challenge he was not prepared for either. The outbreak that has rattled the nation does not respond to Mr. Trump’s favorite instruments of power: It cannot be cowed by Twitter posts, it cannot be shot down by drones, it cannot be overcome by party solidarity, it cannot be overpowered by campaign rally chants.

All indications are that Trump himself understands that things are spiraling out of control. Gabriel Sherman (“‘HE’S DEFINITELY MELTING DOWN OVER THIS’: TRUMP, GERMAPHOBE IN CHIEF, STRUGGLES TO CONTROL THE COVID-19 STORY“):

Since the coronavirus exploded outside of China at the end of January, Donald Trump has treated the public health crisis as a media war that he could win with the right messaging. But with cases now documented in 34 states and markets plunging, Republicans close to Trump fear his rosy assessments are fundamentally detached from reality in ways that will make the epidemic worse. “He is trying to control the narrative and he can’t,” a former West Wing official told me.

The problem is that the crisis fits into his preexisting and deeply held worldview—that the media is always searching for a story to bring him down. Covid-19 is merely the latest instance, and he’s reacting in familiar ways. “So much FAKE NEWS!” Trump tweeted this morning. “He wants Justice to open investigations of the media for market manipulation,” a source close to the White House told me. Trump is also frustrated with his West Wing for not getting a handle on the news cycle. “He’s very frustrated he doesn’t have a good team around him,” a former White House official said. On Friday he forced out acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and replaced him with former House Freedom Caucus chair Mark Meadows. Trump thought the virus was “getting beyond Mick,” a person briefed on the internal discussions said. Trump has also complained that economic adviser Larry Kudlow is not doing enough to calm jittery markets. Last week Kudlow refused Trump’s request that Kudlow hold an on-camera press briefing, sources said. “Larry didn’t want to have to take questions about coronavirus,” a person close to Kudlow told me. “Larry’s not a doctor. How can he answer questions about something he doesn’t know?”

Trump found a willing surrogate in Kellyanne Conway, but Conway’s dubious claim on Friday that the virus “is being contained” only made the P.R. situation worse.

Trump’s efforts to take control of the story himself have so far failed. A source said Trump was pleased with ratings for the Fox News town hall last Thursday, but he was furious with how he looked on television. “Trump said afterwards that the lighting was bad,” a source briefed on the conversation said. “He said, ‘We need Bill Shine back in here. Bill would never allow this.'”

Trump’s press conference on Friday at the CDC was a Trumpian classic, heavy on braggadocio and almost entirely lacking a sense of the seriousness of the crisis. “I like this stuff. I really get it,” Trump told reporters, his face partly hidden under a red “Keep America Great” hat. “People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors say, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should’ve done that instead of running for president.” At another point Trump compared the situation to the Ukraine shakedown. “The [coronavirus] tests are all perfect. Like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect,” he said.

I think it’s safe to say things will get worse before they get better.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Campaign 2020, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. mattbernius says:

    “When the truth offends, we lie and lie until we can no longer remember that it is even there, but it is still there. Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later, that debt is paid.”

    – Valery Alekseyevich Legasov (Chernobyl, HBO)

  2. Michael Reynolds says:

    A weak, stupid, senile psychopath is managing a plague. That should work out fine.

    For all the Trumpaloons out there who think Democrats are enjoying this, yes and no. No, because we love our country, and we have families, and we don’t like seeing people suffer. That’s just not in our DNA. Remember, we’re the ones who don’t put children in cages.

    But am I at least getting some compensating pleasure from the great, nation-wide, WE TOLD YOU SO? Yes, I am. We said he was unfit. We said he was incompetent. We said he was a two-bit conman who knew squat about anything but how to rile up racists and pinheads. We said he was a narcissist incapable of empathy, a pathological liar, a hollow nothing of a man who would never rise to the occasion of a genuine crisis.

    And now we have a genuine crisis. And Trump is a rolling disaster. So, one more time: WE TOLD YOU SO.

  3. Fortunato says:

    Congressman Matt Gaetz was on Air Force One, with Donald Trump, roughly 2 hours ago.

    Congressman Matt Gaetz (FL), is the Trump apologist and loon who wore the environmental bio-hazard mask on the floor of Congress a few days ago to make fun of the ‘media hysteria’ surrounding the coronavirus.

    Matt Gaetz’s twitter feed, 46 mins ago

    Congressman Gaetz was informed today that he came into contact with a CPAC attendee 11 days ago who tested positive for COVID-19.

    While the Congressman is not experiencing symptoms, he received testing today and expects results soon.

    Under doctor’s usual precautionary recommendations, he’ll remain self-quarantined until the 14-day period expires this week.

  4. Fortunato says:

    Where do buffoons like Donald Trump, Matt Gaetz, Ted Cruz and Paul Gosar go if they’re suddenly stricken by a nasty round of the coronavirus?

    To the Hoaxpital!

  5. Jay L Gischer says:

    Well, as much as I’d like the Trump presidency to end…

    … I don’t want it to come at the cost of hundreds of thousands of Americans dead.

    … It doesn’t matter if I think this is it for him, what matters is what the swing voter thinks, and in November, not now.

    I’m deeply suspicious of my own confirmation bias, and as such, I’m only willing to credit signs among the opposition or neutral media. But I’m skeptical that there is any such thing as neutral media.

  6. Mister Bluster says:

    I remember when people thought he could never get elected because he is a pig.
    I guess no one realized how much his supporters enjoyed wallowing in slop.

    “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

    “You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write, as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”

    “I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”

    “Before a show, I’ll go backstage and everyone’s getting dressed, and everything else, and you know, no men are anywhere, and I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant and therefore I’m inspecting it…You know, they’re standing there with no clothes. And you see these incredible looking women, and so, I sort of get away with things like that.” — Trump on the Miss America pageant

    “I did try and fuck her… I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married.” — Trump on a woman he tried to seduce

  7. Polimom says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    It doesn’t matter if I think this is it for him, what matters is what the swing voter thinks, and in November, not now.

    Yes. November is a very long way away. Put the party hats and noisemakers away.

    I’m deeply suspicious of my own confirmation bias, and as such, I’m only willing to credit signs among the opposition or neutral media. But I’m skeptical that there is any such thing as neutral media.

    ^^This^^ Thank you for saying it.
    ::going away again::

  8. An Interested Party says:

    Congressman Gaetz was informed today that he came into contact with a CPAC attendee 11 days ago who tested positive for COVID-19.

    BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! Oh, sorry, was that inappropriate? I feel so ashamed…

    ::going away again::

    If Trump loses in the fall, why don’t you come back with the party hats and the noisemakers…thanks in advance…

  9. Kari Q says:

    I have been wondering how effective attempts on the right-wing wurlitzer to downplay COVID-19 will be. They are set up to amplify fears and raise alarms. Downplaying fears of something objectively frightening that can impact their viewers lives? How will that work?

  10. CSK says:

    The Gabriel Sherman article quoted above is the one in which Trump expresses his fear to staff that journalists will deliberately try to infect him withe the virus on AF-1.

  11. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    aaaaand…the market closes 2,000 points down.
    So much winning.

  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    It’s not just the stupid shit Trump says, it’s the fact that in a time of crisis we look to our leaders for truth and a rational response. No one outside of Cult45 is reassured by this clown. The absence of a genuine president is a problem as much as the presence of this fraud.

  13. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    The Dow closed just under 24,000…it was around 21,000 when Trump held his sparsely attended inauguration.
    That’s only a ~14% increase over 3 years.
    If you’re the kind that watches the market as an economic indicator…that’s piss poor performance by Trump.
    If you are smart enough to watch other, better, more reliable, economic indicators…you are already aware of Trump’s piss poor performance.

  14. Mister Bluster says:

    @Polimom Sez:..Saturday, March 7, 2020 at 12:48
    Although every Trumpster I know would almost certainly snarl something like, “Of course I’m not” if asked by a pollster about washing their hands more — even if they were getting soap suds all over the phone while the water was running in the sink.

    I am confused. Are you saying that you trust every Trumpster you know to do the right thing because they are all liars?

  15. Kathy says:

    @An Interested Party:

    If Trump loses in November, I’ll host an OTB get-together in Vegas in April 2021 (I can’t get away sooner). I think El Gordo closed down, but there may be a decent semi-authentic Mexican place we can try.

  16. Fortunato says:

    My newest rendering of the Covid-19 Trumpocalyptic dystopia ends with a shot of of a disheveled Louie Gohmert, walking across an eerily abandoned National Mall toward the Capitol building.
    As he approaches the steps to the building, Steve King suddenly emerges from behind a bench and, with a hopeful look in his eye, approaches Gohmert.
    When King is within a few yards of Gohmert, Louie suddenly throws open his mouth, points menacingly at King and with a twisted face of rage belts out an other-worldly cry – a la Donald Sutherland.
    With his hopeful look turning to sheer terror, King spins about abruptly and with calves the size of cantaloupes runs away in fear.

  17. grumpy realist says:

    @Kathy: Heck, I’ll show up for that provided I’m not off-planet!

  18. gVOR08 says:

    @Fortunato: How does that clown Gaetz rate a test when apparently there aren’t enough test kits for the staff at the infected retirement home in Washington state to be tested? We may have a crisis over shortage of health care staff, we will never have a crisis because we don’t have enough congress people.

  19. grumpy realist says:

    Unfortunately, I think that the bulk of Trump supporters will still follow him a la Pied Piper no matter how incompetent he turns out to be. As long as he provides them with someone else to blame, they’ll cheer and huzzah his “great experience” and blame everyone else.

  20. grumpy realist says:

    @Guarneri: The first–and most major fault–is that Trump didn’t immediately insist the the CDC start working immediately on getting the production of tests for coronavirus ramped up, as well as mechanisms by which huge numbers of people could be tested without potentially infecting other people.

    South Korea and their drive-in testings, for instance.

    But your Cheeto God couldn’t even be bothered with that. I guess his idea and that of the toadies surrounding him is that as long as the illness isn’t diagnosed, it doesn’t exist.

    He is so pathological that he was complaining about letting a cruise ship with coronavirus victims dock in the U.S. “because it would change the numbers”

    And you’re a supporter? I suppose you’re one of those people who say “I can’t have run out of money in my bank account because I still have some checks left!”?

    That’s the level that you and the Chief-Idiot-Whose-Ass-You-Kiss are operating at.

    (As said, speaking of Cult45 loonies who will never ever stop supporting Trump….)

  21. Kit says:


    I think El Gordo closed down, but there may be a decent semi-authentic Mexican place we can try.

    You are going to travel all the way to Las Vegas for Mexican food? In any case, count me in.

  22. senyordave says:

    @grumpy realist: Unfortunately, I think that the bulk of Trump supporters will still follow him a la Pied Piper no matter how incompetent he turns out to be.
    True, but most of those people are unreachable. The Democrats have to target the independents, and I suspect that many of them are unhappy with Trump lying about containment, keeping a cruise ship offshore and actually telling people that it helped keep the number infected down, and generally coming off like an ignorant buffoon. For that matter isn’t it a little insensitive to keep bringing up the stock market when you are talking about a virus that is killing people?

  23. mattbernius says:

    @Guarneri: I would suggest starting with this techcruch article which contains links to additional sources about the numerous issues with the US response:

  24. Lounsbury says:

    @senyordave: Yes, forget that 35% base of his 35-45% range.

    It’s the 5-10% variation range one has seen in his approval ratings, that’s the centre / righty centre that’s free floating, in the high-voting predilicition demographics, that have a Joyner kind of profile. It’s not a large number but it tips elections.

  25. Kathy says:


    I hosted get togethers in Vegas twice. Each time, I was asked why I didn’t pick a Mexican restaurant. Well, because when I travel I don’t go and try to get the same food I can get at home. But for celebrating Trump’s defeat, Mexican food would be appropriate.

    If/when Trump’s defeated, I’ll come up with a recipe using Cheetos. I already have one that uses Fritos.

  26. Michael Cain says:

    The Italian government has extended the travel restrictions that have been in place in the northern part of the country to the entire country. I don’t see how something similar could be enforced in the US.

  27. mattbernius says:


    Exactly what actions should have been taken, and when? Please be specific and concrete, and not just infantile, ethereal carping. Any fool can, and does, that.

    Since you ask, let’s first address the administration’s actions that hurt overall preparedness.

    That would include eliminating (or simply not filling — that will be a pattern) the position responsible for monitoring and managing pandemics on the National Security council.

    In 2018, Trump fired Tom Bossert, whose job as homeland security adviser on the NSC included coordinating the response to global pandemics. Bossert was not replaced. Last year, Rear Adm. Tim Ziemer, the NSC’s senior director for global health security and biodefense, left the council and was not replaced. Dr. Luciana Borio, the NSC’s director for medical and biodefense preparedness, left in May 2018 and was also not replaced.

    This gets to the broader issue of overall lack of management structures at key decision making points in the process. The fact that it wasn’t until February 27, 2020 that Trump decided to put a unified response structure in place — weeks after we brought exposed people back to the US — is a screw up that I would hope you would be able to acknowledge.

    Then there was the decision not to make a decision about test kits. Which gets back to a lack of clear leadership, which would have been addressed in most normally functioning administrations.

    The Centers for Disease Control did not move quickly enough to manufacture test kits at scale (either because of lack of funding or political will) nor did it open up testing options to other institutions that could have worked to develop tests — and because of the limited availability of tests, the CDC rationed how many tests were performed. Those issues were compounded by the initial release of faulty tests by the CDC in early February.

    With a clear leadership structure in place monitoring what was going on at the CDC, there could have been a proactive mitigation plan in place. That also would have allowed clarity around things like how to return Americans from infected regions of the world and what to do with known infected Americans (who were just flown back on those flights in general population). It would have also coordinated training for people on the ground.

    Then we can get to the conflicted and confusing messaging that has come out of the administration and the number of times Trump himself has issued misleading statements — including the multiple times people, including the President, have said we have this contained.

    You went to University of Chicago’s Business School. I know enough about that program to know you must have been exposed to a few management classes.

    Can you honestly say you think the Administration has successfully managed this?

  28. Jay L Gischer says:


    Exactly what actions should have been taken, and when?

    This is a fair, and appropriate question to ask. I’ve seen other conservative commenters say, (presumably to other conservatives) “Haven’t you learned yet to ignore what he says and pay attention to what he does?”

    It seems to me that this is the line you are taking too, if more combatively. Here’s my problem with it.

    Public statements by the President of the United States count as actions. They aren’t something to be ignored, they move markets, and motivate foreign leaders. They focus attention. They are important. I cannot ignore them. And Trump’s public statements have been pretty bad. They’ve been narcissistic and mendacious. I’m pretty sure

  29. Kari Q says:


    In addition to making sure we had enough tests, he should have:

    Let the CDC experts handle advice to public.

    Let the CDC tell seniors not to fly and not to attend large gatherings.

    Followed CDC recommendations and made sure that Americans from the Diamond Princess who tested positive were not flown on the same plane as those who had not.


    Followed the WHO recommendations for containing outbreaks. Instead, he has ignored them.

    Not eliminated the pandemic response team.

    Put an actual expert in charge of the response team.

    These are just a few items, off the top of my head. I’m sure there are many more things he could have / should have done. It was not inevitable that we would find ourselves here, in March, without enough test kits and with no idea how many people had been exposed to the virus.

  30. MarkedMan says:

    @mattbernius: God love you, but you’re giving actual data to a Trumper? Do you think this will have some effect?

  31. mattbernius says:


    No one wants to admit that Obama let 1000 people die before basically lifting a finger in the H1N1 escapade.

    Because that isn’t true… but hey all you have is anger and lies.

    The Wikipedia page also details the Whitehouse response which began in a coordinated effort months before the declaration.

    I do agree about all candidates cancelling political rallies. that should be table stakes and all should get heat until it happens.

  32. An Interested Party says:

    …and not just infantile, ethereal carping. Any fool can, and does, that.

    But enough about you…

  33. Kari Q says:


    I do agree about all candidates cancelling political rallies. that should be table stakes and all should get heat until it happens.

    Yes, Biden and Sanders are on my list over this as well. None of them have acted appropriately in this respect.

  34. Kari Q says:

    I’m going back to the failure on the testing front. At a time when South Korea has tested over 100,000 and Italy has tested over 20,000, we still do not have enough tests. We have no idea how many people actually have COVID-19 in the United States. We didn’t have enough tests to track infections.

    This was a huge failure. It was not inevitable. There was a test produced by the WHO that we could have used. This administration chose not to. Because of that decision, we weren’t able to test early, isolate those who were exposed and stop the spread. It may be too late now.

    This study from Ciders-Sinai has an estimate of the number of cases and suggests that social distancing and canceling public events going forward can reduce the number of cases:

  35. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    You missed the one where he gave Howard Stern permission to call Ivanka “a nice piece of ass” and the one where he told Wendy Williams (in Ivanka’s presence) that he wished he could say he and Ivanka had sex in common.

  36. Michael Reynolds says:

    I’ll add one element to the list of Trump’s failures: he remained Trump. He never even tried to unite the country, quite the opposite. He never even tried to establish a reputation for veracity, he’s the living god of lies. He never did anything to convince any thinking person that he gives a single shit for anyone but himself.

    So a worried nation turns its searching gaze to this orange buffoon, and he looks us right in the eyes, and lies.

  37. CSK says:

    I thought Guarneri went to the Harvard Business School. He appeared to imply as much within the past year.

  38. PJ says:

    He went to all of them!

  39. grumpy realist says:

    @PJ: Dunno if you were around that epic thread many many years ago where HarvardLaw92 and I batted around a troll who was insisting that he had a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics.

    I suspect that Guarneri’s degree is as equally plausible…..

  40. PJ says:

    @grumpy realist:
    I’m a Rhodes scholar and a Nobel laureate.

  41. Grewgills says:

    @grumpy realist:
    and I graduated top of my class from Starfleet Academy

  42. Kathy says:


    Well, if he did, and if he shows them his postings here, they should offer a refund.

  43. Kari Q says:


    Just what I thought. A bunch of Monday Morning QB

    “Monday morning QB” is exactly what you asked for when you said


    Exactly what actions should have been taken, and when?

    It’s not like needing tests was an unforeseeable eventuality. Every other country impacted by the virus knew this was coming and was prepared. We’re the only ones who don’t have an answer to the question “how many people have the virus?”

    This was a failure of basic competence.

  44. Mister Bluster says:

    @CSK:..You missed

    Yeah. And I also missed the Led Zeppelin concert in Saint Louis in 1970 damnit!

  45. An Interested Party says:

    A show of hands, please…who is impressed that an anonymous stranger is telling you about his alleged educational background? No one? No one at all? Talk about manifest psychosis…

  46. mattbernius says:

    Wow, so we presented you with hard facts and that was the best you can do.

    Like I said, all I have is pity for you. It must be difficult to realize you don’t have any good answers to facts beyond lies, mischaracterizations, and calling people names.

    Well, that and I’m kinda embarrassed that my alma mater granted you an MBA when through posts like this one and the one from the other thread (Corona virus proved Trump right) you demonstrate that you don’t understand either management or international business structures.

  47. steve says:

    My comment got deleted so will just od it briefly again since i have very specific criticisms.

    1) Should not have gotten rid of pandemic team. Leadership matters a lot.
    2) Should have shut off travel to everyone from China, not just non-Americans.
    3) Testing- There should have been someone in charge to tell them to not develop a test for viruses not seen in the US for years. Horrible leadership.
    3a) We need that testing so we can make diagnoses. It helps with triage and treatment. Planning for quarantine and isolation.
    4) Messaging. Half the country now thinks Covid-19 is no big deal.
    5) We need planning for financial effects now.

    As I told you before, and cited contemporary literature, planning was started right away and the execution was very good. Fatalities were low for H1N1.


  48. mattbernius says:


    Is there any reason to come here other than to bank the monkeys cages?

    For the record, I know you think you’re banging cages, but what you really are doing is just masturbating in public like one of the monkeys in the cage.

    But hey, given how sad you life apparently is that you need to hate read and post to actually feel like you accomplished something. Oh, I mean I know you’re a super rich, world class golf expert who bangs his supermodel wife every night. More power to you… whatever it takes to kill off that nasty voice in the back of your head that you’re never going to be good enough and all your loved ones are just waiting for you to die so they can stop acting nice to you and start spending the inheritance (in hopes it will make up for the years of having to put up with you).

    But hey, that makes you just like your hero Donald Trump!

  49. CSK says:

    No. You disputed–mistakenly, as it happens–a comment I had made about HBS, investment banking, and management consulting, suggesting strongly that you had personal knowledge of the place.

  50. Jax says:

    He doesn’t usually come back to comment, after batting the cages….if he’s anything like my own personal Trumper’s, he’s starting to get worried. They’re trying to focus on the Biden videos that Twitter put the beat down on, and the narrative is not being controlled to their liking.

    May the pox take them all.

  51. NW Steve says:


    Is there any reason to come here other than to bank the monkeys cages?

    The evidence clearly shows that there is, since you keep coming back to tell us once more that there is no reason to be here.

  52. Gustopher says:

    The pivot to blaming the brown people will come fast and hard. Scared people like someone to blame, so Trump could survive this.

  53. Kari Q says:


    The pivot to blaming the brown people will come fast and hard.

    Oh, it’s already here. On conservative sites, even as they downplay the dangers, they insist that the only appropriate name for COVID-19 is “the Wuhan virus.”

  54. EddieInCA says:

    My wife is a therapist, with a BA in psychology and a Masters in Behavioral Psychology. She pointed out to me that, based on her social media feeds, something is different suddenly among Trump supporters.

    For many, it’s finally dawned on them that the judges and deregulation aren’t worth it. (Rod Dreher falls into this category. He finally came out and said that this might be what makes him vote for a Dem rather than Trump.).

    For others, it’s the same, but the doubling down feels weak and desperate. Our Drew falls into this category. I’m guessing Jenos and JKB would call into this category. There is not middle ground.

    My wife believes that at this point, there is no longer a middle ground. You either believe that Trump is dangerously undrqualified or you’re a full blown cultist. There is no nuanced position that keeps you supporting Trump while excusing his behavior.

    Interesting to read National Review, The Resurgent, The Bulwark, and a few other sites. Many on those sites are changing their minds about Trump. The cultists? Not so much.

  55. Gustopher says:

    @Kari Q: Sure, right now it’s all blamed on people who eat bats — Ozzy Osborne and the people of China. But that just accounts for who started it, not why the Trump administration has utterly failed to monitor and contain it.

    “illegal immigrants are spreading it as they travel between sanctuary cities” is coming.

  56. CSK says:

    The Bulwark has always despised Trump. In fact, Kristol, the editor, described it as “Trump-hostile” as opposed to merely “Trump-skeptical.”

  57. Teve says:

    If anybody thinks this isn’t going to spread all over the place, I invite them to look at Flight Radar.

  58. PJ says:

    Trump’s new chief of staff, Mark Meadows, is in self-quarantine for 14 days after coming in contact with the individual at CPAC who tested + for coronavirus

    Clearly they didn’t pray enough at CPAC.

  59. Michael Reynolds says:

    I feel a little bad seeing @Guarneri like this. “I don’t know why I come to this restaurant, the food is terrible and the portions are too small.”

    Don’t worry, little Drew, I know why you come here. Let Uncle Michael explain. You’re needy and insecure and you want respect. The sick little twist is that you have to keep insisting you don’t want the respect of anyone here because we’re all, you know, whatever. You crave the respect of people you insist you have contempt for. Again and again and again and again and again. Not perhaps evidence that you’re, say, a very stable genius.

    What you need to get through your head is that you’ve done something, become something, that will deny you that respect forever, like an ex-Nazi or a child molester or someone who buys Goop from Gwyneth Paltrow. This isn’t politics, you’re simply not fit to be part of any group outside of the cult. You’ve made your choice, you’ve thrown in your lot with goobers who worship a fucking game show host.

    And you didn’t quickly recover from this life-defining error, you doubled down and tripled-down and damned all who disagreed with you. There is no way back for you.

  60. Kathy says:


    Prayer isn’t enough if you don’t offer a sacrifice to Apollo, and neglect to bestow honors and gold to his temple.

  61. Jax says:

    @Kathy: And virgins, don’t forget the sacrificial virgins. I hear they’re important. 😉

  62. Jax says:

    I’d like to be a fly on the wall of a lot of oil company CEO’s offices right now.

    Also….the whining Trump must be doing about his besties the Saudi’s and Putin bending him over and not supplying lube….how dare they fuck with his election like this?! After all he’s done for them?!
    😉 😉 😉 😉

  63. Gustopher says:

    @PJ: Louie Gohmert (R-Dumbfuckistan) May have also been infected, but doesn’t feel the need to self-quarantine, he is instead
    leading children around the capital.

    This is why you should never … I don’t know … I give up, its too fucking stupid.

  64. An Interested Party says:

    The most interesting comment was about Zep. I only saw them once, in Indianapolis. The Stones, well, a dozen times…….

    The translation of that:


    Umm, not really…

    You’re needy and insecure and you want respect.

    I don’t know about you, but if I had all the money he claims to have, and all the success, and all the credentials, etc. I sure as hell wouldn’t be spending my days bragging about myself to anonymous strangers and praising an obviously incompetent cretin in the White House…

    Louie Gohmert (R-Dumbfuckistan) May have also been infected, but doesn’t feel the need to self-quarantine, he is instead leading children around the capital.

    Well, considering his odious behavior, he’s the perfect person to be a plague bearer…

  65. gVOR08 says:

    @An Interested Party: Louie Gohmert, the dumbest man in congress. But only because Virginia Foxx is a woman.

  66. DrDaveT says:

    @Kari Q:

    Every other country impacted by the virus knew this was coming and was prepared. We’re the only ones who don’t have an answer to the question “how many people have the virus?”

    Almost every other country — Italy appears to have screwed the pooch too. The difference in response (and outcomes) between South Korea and Italy is stunning.

    The US, of course, is attempting to emulate Italy, right down to having our own Berlusconi…

  67. Mikey says:

    @DrDaveT: Here’s an utterly sobering tweet thread from an Italian physician dealing with the horror happening there (link to first tweet):

    This could be America, sooner than we realize. I hope not, we all hope not, but have we acted too late? I still see so many people calling it “hype,” but the Italians did the same, and…

  68. @Fortunato: I wish illness on no one, but the poetic justice in this case would be immense.

  69. @Guarneri:

    Just what I thought. A bunch of Monday Morning QB drivel. Pathetic. Truly pathetic. You guys need a break from manifest psychosis.

    You were given very specific, detailed, and reasonable responses–and since you can’t compete in that arena, all you provide is derision. It is truly pathetic.

  70. @mattbernius:

    It must be difficult to realize you don’t have any good answers to facts beyond lies, mischaracterizations, and calling people names.

    Like the president he supports.

  71. PJ says:

    Not only the Presidency.

  72. Mikey says:

    @Mikey: Here’s a piece from the Italian physician’s blog post that provides more detail into why COVID-19 isn’t “just like the flu” and why some victims have gone from apparently mild infection to death so quickly (this is from Google Translate but it seems to have done a pretty good job):

    Now, tell me which flu virus causes such a rapid tragedy. Because that’s the difference (now I’m going down a bit in the technical field): in classical flu, apart from infecting much less population over several months, cases can be complicated less frequently, only when the VIRUS destroying the protective barriers of the Our respiratory tract allows BACTERIA normally resident in the upper tract to invade the bronchi and lungs, causing more serious cases. Covid 19 causes a banal influence in many young people, but in many elderly people (and not only) a real SARS because it arrives directly in the alveoli of the lungs and infects them making them unable to perform their function. The resulting respiratory insufficiency is often serious and after a few days of hospitalization, the simple oxygen that can be administered in a ward may not be enough.

    Sorry, but to me as a doctor it doesn’t reassure you that the most serious are mainly elderly people with other pathologies. The elderly population is the most represented in our country and it is difficult to find someone who, above 65 years of age, does not take at least the tablet for pressure or diabetes. I also assure you that when you see young people who end up in intubated intensive care, pronated or worse in ECMO (a machine for the worst cases, which extracts the blood, re-oxygenates it and returns it to the body, waiting for the organism, hopefully, heal your lungs), all this tranquility for your young age passes.

  73. David S. says:

    Specifically regarding rallies, what Trump should have done is shame Bernie and Biden into not holding rallies either using a tactic called “leading by example”. He should have stopped having rallies, and then put out a public statement mocking the DNC frontrunners for continuing to hold theirs. It would be a shrewd political flanking maneuver and a demonstration of his own competence at being a leader, showing that he cares about his people more than his opponents cared about theirs.

    This isn’t some novel tactic that I came up with, either. McCain used it during the 2008 campaign to less effect in the context of the financial crisis. The difference here being that this is a health crisis in which the second-most strongest recommendation is “avoid large crowds”.

    But Trump isn’t competent at leadership, at health, at caring about people, at politics. So he didn’t.

    That’s what he should have done. Since you asked.

  74. gVOR08 says:

    @David S.: Biden and Sanders are cancelling events.

    McCain’s rush to DC to save the country was, as I recall, somewhat undercut by his obvious lack of any role in the matter. There was a good deal of commentary at the time about it being silly grandstanding.

  75. @Guarneri:

    What passes for specific, detailed and reasonable in your world differs from my world. I find it pathetic. It’s an academics and wholly partisan world. Not very inspiring.

    Your assessment is, to put it mildly, not one I take seriously.

    You pretend to be some titan of industry, but provide no evidence of any reasoning skills whatsoever. It is tiresome.

  76. @Guarneri: Hell’s bells, you can’t even cite a web site appropriately.

  77. Michael Reynolds says:

    Again and again and again and again and again and. . .

  78. mattbernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor & @Michael Reynolds:
    It’s really time to start ignoring him. The reality is that his espoused political world view is skinking and he’s decided he’s going down with the ship.

    At best, he’s constitutionally incapable of saying he’s wrong (he knows that’s the only way he wins). At worst, he really believes what he’s writing and that he’s the smartest, most non-partisan person in the room. And that means he’s incapable of understanding he’s wrong.

    Either way, he’s pathetic and honestly no longer worth any of our time. He’ll keep masturbating in public as his world burns around him.

    That’s more than enough karmic punishment.

  79. @mattbernius: Indeed.

  80. mattbernius says:

    I expect that I’m going to be re-posting that note a lot.

  81. grumpy realist says:

    @mattbernius: Very much like his Cheeto God, in that respect.

    Also probably explains why if he did manage to in fact get an M.B.A. as he claimed, he’s never in fact achieved anything. Telling yourself lies about reality because it makes you feel better is the easiest way to end up a) radioactive b) fricasseed, or c) bankrupt.

    In other words, Mama Nature don’t give a crap if your fee-fees are hurt.

  82. mattbernius says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Also probably explains why if he did manage to in fact get an M.B.A. as he claimed, he’s never in fact achieved anything.

    Meh. Define “achieved anything.” Frankly I believe everything he says more or less. I don’t doubt he went to Booth. It sounds like he ended up in finance or something related and did really well for himself. I’ve known my fair share of those MBAs. They accomplished a ton for themselves (and the orgs they worked for).

    I think he’s probably a good golfer (probably good enough to do well at high end amateur/low end pro competitions).

    None of that changes who he is or how pitiable his behavior is. Nor that the best answer is just ignoring his public masturbation exercises.

  83. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: It might be important to remember that Guarneri apparently believes that he IS entitled to his own facts as the saying goes.