Americans Are the Victims of Trump’s Delusional COVID-19 Response

The consequences of his incompetence become more apparent every day.

Donald Trump called in to Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News Thursday night and claimed that widespread testing was to blame for the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

President Trump said on Thursday night that the country’s “test everybody” approach has “created” cases of the coronavirus in states like Florida and Texas which have seen surges of new infections in recent weeks.

“Test everybody, pull-up parking lots, everything else, what we’ve done is we’ve created a tremendous number of cases.” Trump told Fox News commentator Sean Hannity in a phone interview.

The remarks came as Hannity asked the president what he makes of the spikes in coronavirus cases in the country’s hotspots.

That is a good reminder that the president has been delusional about this pandemic from the beginning.

When that video was released back in mid-March, the U.S. had seen just over 5,000 cases of COVID-19. As of Friday, there have been over three million confirmed cases and more than 130,000 deaths.

Donald Trump can’t handle that kind of massive failure, so he simply creates delusions to pretend that the problem doesn’t really exist. From the very beginning, he’s known that testing for the virus is the greatest threat to that delusion, so he simply makes up lies like the one he repeated to Hannity on Thursday night.

As a reminder, back in early March when Trump was asked if passengers on a cruise ship who had been exposed to the virus should be brought ashore, he said this.

“I’d rather have the people stay, but I’d go with [the experts]. I told them to make the final decision.”

“I would rather because I like the numbers being where they are,” Trump continued. “I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault. And it wasn’t the fault of the people on the ship either, okay? It wasn’t their fault either and they’re mostly Americans. So, I can live either way with it. I’d rather have them stay on, personally.”

The president made it clear that his primary concern wasn’t the passengers on the ship, but the way a spike in numbers would affect him politically. So, as the number of cases increased, he simply tried to limit testing. Around the same time as Trump’s remarks about the passengers on the cruise ship, Dan Diamond reported on what was happening with Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, who oversees the CDC.

Secretary Azar has not always given the president the worst-case scenario of what could happen. My understanding is he did not push to do aggressive additional testing in recent weeks, and that’s partly because more testing might have led to more cases being discovered of coronavirus outbreak, and the president had made clear — the lower the numbers on coronavirus, the better for the president, the better for his potential reelection this fall.

So of course Trump wasn’t joking when he said this at his Tulsa rally in June.

“Here’s the bad part: when you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people, you’re going to find more cases. So I said to my people, slow the testing down please.”

From there the delusion migrated to a claim that testing has “created” a spike in the number of cases.

This particular form of Trump’s delusion also highlights his ignorance, as is demonstrated by this tweet from Sam Stein.

Most of us have known for a while now that this president is mentally unfit for office. But as more and more Americans suffer from this pandemic because of the delusions he creates to assuage his narcissistic ego, that reality becomes more painfully clear every day.

Support the Washington Monthly and get a FREE subscription

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60.