An eccentric president
The author is a Washington correspondentof the JoongAng Ilbo.
The subject U.S. President Donald Trump wants to avoid the most as he aims for re-election is Covid-19. Tens of millions lost jobs and nearly the entire country was locked down, but his excuses for failed disease control, which resulted in 7.5 million positive cases and 210,000 deaths, are not convincing.
He was given a golden opportunity to turn the focus of his election campaign as he got to nominate a justice to the Supreme Court after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away. As a Supreme Court Justice is a tenured position, picking a conservative judge can plant conservative values in the American society longer than a president’s two terms of eight years. It is something that even conservative voters who were not pleased with Trump welcome.
Trump nominated 48-year-old Amy Coney Barrett. If approved, the ideological topography would lean toward conservative, as six were nominated by the Republican administrations and three by the Democrats. If a new battle begins to block the nomination, the focus of the Democratic Party will shift from judging Trump’s Covid-19 response. The event to announce the nomination of Barrett was held in the Rose Garden in the White House. One-hundred-and-fifty conservative figures gathered in the tightly spaced seating without wearing masks. It seemed surreal to see them hugging and greeting each other.
The White House became the epicenter of the Covid-19 spread in the United States. More than 10 people tested positive, including Mr. and Mrs. Trump. The hopes to cover it up boomeranged into a greater outbreak. The president was spotted being hospitalized.
With some 30 days left to the presidential election, his hands are tied. Influenced by his father, Trump tends to think those who get sick are losers. So he came up with a plan to look well. He rode in a car and went around the military hospital. He was then released before he was completely cured and returned to the office still carrying the virus.
I had hopes that Trump would repent treating Covid-19 lightly if he tested positive for the virus. But he didn’t change at all, as he ignores it even more. If the person with the virus is not wearing a mask, the White House photographer right behind him must have the hardest job now.
When criticized, his aide said the president was not breathing backward. I couldn’t believe my ears when Trump said Covid-19 was not a death sentence.
For Trump, the re-election outcome, not Covid-19, determines life and death. Experts warn that the virus does not discriminate. Even when he is being treated with the latest medicine and taken care of care by the best medical staff, the fact that he is a 74-year-old obese man with pre-existing conditions doesn’t change. I hope there is not another “October surprise” to shock the world.