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Message to Kellyanne Conway: Criticizing Trump is finding fault with him, period

Trump did everything he could to minimize and dismiss the COVID-19 threat from mid-February to mid-March, which was roughly the opposite of what his experts were trying to get him to say and do.

White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway
White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway shown in the White House briefing room on January 30.
REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

The COVID crisis is terrible and awful and frightening, and Donald Trump did not cause it.

A novel virus in China started it (as Trump likes to mention), and it spread from there. If Trump had handled the fight against the problem perfectly, it would very likely still have reached the United States as it has reached many other nations.

By acknowledging those obvious truths, I hope I have created space to also assert that Trump minimized the virus, and refused to take measures to reduce its U.S. impact early enough to have maximum effect. He said and did a number of things that were wrong and, with all due respect, stupid, including that he had it under control, and that it would likely just disappear on its own when the spring weather came.

It’s true that I’m no Trump admirer, but that doesn’t make anything I said above inaccurate. If you doubt it, I’ll embed again below a link to the regrettable things that Trump said and did that were wrong and that unarguably interfered with a best-case proactive effort by the United States to get ahead of the pandemic and reduce its impact and cost in American lives.

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My mother, of blessed memory, raised me to believe that if and when you screw up, it’s vital to acknowledge that you screwed up, take responsibility for the screw-up, make what amends you can and, if people feel it necessary to confront you about your error, express your regrets and ask for forgiveness.

I’m not blaming Trump’s mother for how he rolls, but he is apparently incapable of even acknowledging errors, let alone taking responsibility for them, let alone trying to make amends. If Trump at any point takes responsibility and expresses regret for any of those missteps, I will apologize for some of what I said above.

But I laid all this out to make space to call attention to a ridiculous statement made by not-as-slick-as-she-thinks-she-is Trump apologist Kellyanne Conway who said yesterday (as quoted in this Washington Post piece):

“To criticize Trump now is to criticize public health officials, FEMA, first responders, private sector businesses that are all coming forward to help.”


If I want to express my appreciation to those who were sounding the alarm and urging the U.S. government to mobilize to defend Americans as much as possible from the virus and reduce or at least delay its spread, I can’t do that without ignoring the obvious truth that Trump, the nation’s putative leader, said and did countless things to squelch and delay an aggressive campaign of preparation of the virus to our shores?

Conway will have to explain that “logic” to me.

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Until she does, I will express my gratitude that all who helped and are helping to minimize the harm, while reserving my constitutional First Amendment right to note that Trump did everything he could to minimize and dismiss the threat from mid-February to mid-March, which was roughly the opposite of what his experts were trying to get him to say and do.

Here, again, is that very short video, via “The Recount” of Trump blowing it in ways that in no way disparage any public health officials, FEMA, first responders or private sector businesses.

All I’m saying is that it is not only possible, but completely fair, responsible and factual, to criticize Trump, for the things he said (and didn’t say) and did (and, especially, didn’t do until much later than he should have). Leadership is about taking responsibility. Trumpiness, not so much.