• For America Only

    I am not easily shocked – and certainly not when it comes to anything to do with Donald Trump. But I confess that I was shocked – and not only shocked, but disgusted and contemptuous as well – when I saw the headline reporting that Trump had offered large sums of money to a German company for access to a coronavirus vaccine they had developed – and not just any old access, but “exclusive” access, so that only Americans would benefit from it.

    The President’s handling of the coronavirus crisis and his evident unpreparedness had already come under heavy criticism from the American public and media. He had, as one of his first acts on taking office, closed down the federal body set up by President Obama to deal with any possible pandemic situation; the fact that it was an Obama creation was apparently enough to guarantee its abandonment.

    He then asserted that the coronavirus outbreak was a “hoax”, and that it had more or less been invented by his political rivals. He then assured people that it would “go away” and that there were in any case very few cases, and even fewer fatalities, in the USA.

    But a few days of turmoil on the stock exchange were enough to persuade him that he had to take the crisis seriously – hence his addresses to the nation from the Oval Office and his interest in a “foreign” vaccine to deal with what he had described as a “foreign virus.”

    But, even then, why was it not enough just to obtain access to the vaccine? Why did it have to be “exclusive” and available to Americans only?

    The answer to those questions tells us a great deal about how his mind works (assuming that it does), and about his priorities.

    To just deal with the virus was apparently not enough. In light of the criticism that he had been ineffectual in dealing with it, he needed to show that he was in charge and able to deal with the crisis and that he could resolve it in a way that would deliver a benefit and a solution to the American people that was not available to anyone else.

    In this way, he presumably calculated, he could turn what had become, for him, a bad news story, into a good news story, and thereby improve his chances of re-election later in the year.

    What seems to have been at the front of his mind, in other words, was not relieving Americans of stress and the threat to their lives and livelihoods, but showing himself in a good light, and earning their gratitude for a solution that he could assert was not available to anyone else. “Only I could have delivered such a solution,” is what he wants to be able to say.

    It takes a particularly warped mind to develop such an order of priorities – and it takes an even more warped and narrowly focused mind to deny a remedy that could be available to everyone worldwide, but to ensure that it was restricted just to those in his own country. The corollary of restricting it to Americans only is to deny it to the rest of the world.

    The world is in a truly parlous state if one of its most powerful leaders is able to think and feel in such a distorted fashion. What happened to the “moral leadership” that the USA claimed to exercise on behalf of the “free world”. Where is that sense of common humanity and “goodwill to all men” (and women) that we might expect from those who claim to lead us and to look after our shared interests?

    There are many reasons for regarding Donald Trump as unfit for his high office. But none is as compelling as the one he has exemplified in this unhappy episode.

    We can only hope that the American people can overcome their usual introspection and will be as shocked at their President’s self-obsession and lack of a moral framework as we – and, surely, the rest of the world – are.
    Bryan Gould
    16 March 2020

1 Comment

  1. Jeremy Callaghan says: March 17, 2020 at 3:15 pmReply

    I need to reply not because I have anything to add but just to stand with you 100% on this and to say Hear Hear! Jeremy