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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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As another week begins, the covid 19 coronavirus continues to spread unabated, both worldwide and within the United States.
The virus has infected more than 100,000 people and has killed more than 3,000 around the globe.
Here in the United States, at least 417 have been sickened, at least 21 fatally, according to public health trackers.
Americans are understandably anxious, and are looking for accurate, reliable information and advice as well as steady but honest leadership.
And there are those who are trying their hardest to do just that. But then others are just spouting whatever comes to them at the moment, whether or not the information is reliable or they’re just mouthing partisan attack rhetoric totally divorced from the substance of the outbreak.
Consider Gov. Jay Inslee (D), governor of Washington State and Jenny Durkan, mayor of Seattle, remembering that their region was one of the first areas hard-hit by covid 19 before it began to spread across the rest of the country.
Inslee and Durkan were eager to host Vice President Mike Pence for a serious visit to work on disease response.
They understood that this was a time to do the work and leave politics for another day.
Unfortunately, of course, Donald Trump had other ideas.
Trump Friday called Inslee a “snake,” puncturing the feeling of bipartisanship which had surrounded the vice president’s visit.
“So I told Mike not to be complimentary to the governor, because that governor is a snake, Inslee,” Trump said. “And I said, ‘If you’re nice to him, he will take advantage.’ And I would have said no.”
Inslee responded by a more-serious tweet.
My single focus is and will continue to be the health and well-being of Washingtonians.
It’s important for leaders to speak with one voice. I just wish the president and vice president could get on the same page. https://t.co/VAzB9nkcRX
— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) March 6, 2020
Separately, Seattle’s Durkan reacted to Trump’s name-calling and reports that Trump adviser Larry Kudlow said on a televised interview that Americans should avoid traveling to Seattle.
“The city of Seattle, King County, Washington State and public health officials are taking thoughtful and precautionary steps to stop the spread of the virus,” Durkan said. “We rely on our federal partners for the steadfast support every American deserves. This administration is name-calling and making inaccurate off-the-cuff comments – it’s simply irresponsible and has serious consequences for our residents and businesses.”
Inslee and Durkan are, of course, absolutely correct. They must be tremendously frustrated to be undertaking a serious and earnest outbreak response only to have all of their good work stepped on by the clown in the other Washington.
Meanwhile, the response which Trump and his team have tried to mount–if you can really call it a proper response–has been marked by false claims, ill-advised off-the-cuff remarks, and downright nasty partisanship.
Considering Trump’s own awful, incompetent attempts at a response–and the fact that he must stomp on the good work of actual, legitimate response activity around the nation–is it any wonder that the stock market has been heading into the drain?
The irony is that after spending so much of his presidency trumpeting the economy and the stock markets, now it’s Trump’s own foolishness with his flailing disease response which appears to be bringing all that down–and if it does–it may well end with his defeat come November.
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