Commentary, COVID-19, Legislature, Trump Administration

From DC to NC, our leaders were not ready for coronavirus

These times are surreal. And these words feel surreal to write.

But many of our leaders, from the White House to the U.S. Senate to the N.C. General Assembly, are criminally incompetent, truth-starved, and woefully unprepared for the coronavirus.

President Trump, while reading from a teleprompter, flubbed his words and the truth multiple times while addressing the nation Wednesday evening, a fitting performance from a commander-in-chief who has lied, manipulated and tortured the truth multiple times during this COVID-19 outbreak. A leader whose administration even now seeks to cut funds to the Centers for Disease Control.

In a crisis requiring credibility, Donald Trump has none. He is George W. Bush, arms crossed, face an impenetrable mask while New Orleans’ 9th Ward drowns, declaring: “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.”

Our leaders, from the White House to the U.S. Senate to the N.C. General Assembly, are criminally incompetent, truth-starved, and woefully unprepared for the coronavirus.

Republicans in the U.S. Senate torpedoed an emergency paid sick leave bill this week, claiming, per the usual GOP line, that now is not the time to burden employers.

COVID-19 (Image:CDC)

And in Raleigh, NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen chastened Republican lawmakers in the NC General Assembly this week, reminding them of their ill-considered attempt last year to budget in $42 million in cuts for her already overburdened agency. As evidenced by Gov. Roy Cooper’s 2019 veto, Republicans in the legislature and Cooper couldn’t agree on a great many things in 2019. Thankfully, this was one of them.

“As I think about the crisis that we are preparing for,” Cohen told mostly unrepentant legislators, “I don’t see how that would have been tenable in any way, even if without COVID-19. There was no scenario on which we could have delivered on the expectations you have of our department.”

NC DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen (left) and Gov. Roy Cooper (right)

Republicans attempted to pass the blame to Cooper, but however it is spun, there is no one else, no one, responsible for their egregious attempts to slash public health funding in 2019, cuts that are not just ludicrous in hindsight. They were ridiculous in the moment too.

Indeed, “clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right.”

To be sure, coronavirus would have been a disaster no matter who was in power, Democrats or Republicans. Its exponential spread makes governments, hospitals and businesses inevitably look flat-footed. But it is hard to imagine a group more unfit for leadership than these figures in D.C. and Raleigh, figures who should comfort not confound.

There will be those who screech that now is not a time to politicize a crisis, but they forget that there is nothing, nor has there even been, anything very political about the truth. Now is the time to demand accountability the most, no matter how normalized dishonesty may have become in the last four years.

We will come through this, of course. And hopefully we will do so with a broader appreciation for public health, good government and timely, factual information. It remains to be seen however whether we will emerge with the same respect for many of our leaders.

2 Comments


  1. GLENNETTA a Hamilton

    March 18, 2020 at 8:46 am

    I tell you this people pray like never before no one is immune from getting sick but My God is a promise keeper. His words are truth our shield and buckler. So I going to trust him to move on the hearts of mankind and continue to lean on him for guidance.
    Love all my brothers and sisters??

  2. Don

    March 18, 2020 at 11:26 am

    Bad headline. In America, they are NOT our leaders, they are our elected officials in whom we have entrusted decision-making leadership. Many of them have failed in that regard with the corona outbreak because of ideological tendencies that have been allowed to stew for decades.

Check Also

Conservatives ask Supreme Court one more time to scrap Obamacare

Third time’s the charm? As multiple outlets reported ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

The state’s two virtual charter schools should be shining examples of remote learning. But instead o [...]

As of July 31, at least 26 trans people have been killed in the U.S. this year, and a majority of th [...]

Voters from low-income backgrounds are consistently less likely to vote in national elections compar [...]

Division of Water Resources cites doubts about MVP Mainline project, says construction in NC could c [...]

As with the other UNC System campuses, students began to return to Appalachian State this week, and [...]

History reminds us that it is a familiar pattern with autocrats and delusional politicians who perce [...]

The post Stamping out a fair election appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

I am a white woman, educated in Durham, by mostly white teachers. From preschool to high school, my [...]