The man in the White House who plays a leader on TV pitched another fit, this time at governors like New York’s Andrew Cuomo who, desperate for aid to save their citizens’ lives, had the gall to press Washington to send more respirators from the federal stockpile and deliver other aid on something better than the sluggish pace so far established.
“It’s a two-way street,” said President Trump Tuesday. “They have to treat us well also. They can’t say, ‘Oh gee, we should get this, we should get that.’ We’re doing a great job.” (Wednesday, rewriting history with lightning speed, he tweeted that it’s “Fake News that I won’t help them because I don’t like Cuomo (I do)”)
The president is transparent: Kiss the ring or your constituents may suffer. If the idea weren’t obscene enough, the same man making that demand is simultaneously waging petty open rhetorical warfare against governors who happen to be Democrats.
Trump’s foolish claim that Cuomo “rejected buying recommended 16,000 ventilators in 2015 for a pandemic, established death panels and lotteries instead” is a blatant lie, thoroughly debunked.
Last week, Trump attacked another Democratic chief executive who had dared question the federal response, Gretchen Whitmer, as a “failing Michigan governor.” And Trump lashed out at Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois for doing the same.
We’ve long known that like many of the dictators he admires, Donald Trump demands those seeking his help to genuflect in his presence. When he is on the receiving end of criticism, however serious or substantive, he reacts like a child who just happens to have the full power of the federal government behind him.
In the midst of the worst public health crisis of the 21st century, this is the national leader we’re stuck with.
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