Maureen Dowd and Jennifer Senior on Trump’s Coronavirus Press Conferences – They “Ain’t” Good!

Maureen Dowd and Jennifer Senior

Dear Commons Community,

In yesterday’s New York Times Sunday Review, Maureen Dowd and Jennifer Senior each had opinion pieces on Donald Trumps coronavirus press conferences. Neither was very flattering. 

Maureen Dowd in Thank God the Doctor Is In, praises Tony Fauci for his honesty and clarity during these sessions and blasts Trump for his shallowness and self-serving comments.  Her summary:

“Trump has never understood anything about government, so he doesn’t know what the C.D.C. versus the F.D.A. versus FEMA should do. His improvisational leadership style was vividly — and disturbingly — on display Friday during a call with Chuck Schumer, who urged him to invoke the Defense Production Act to get ventilators and masks to desperate states — despite the president’s cavalier remark a day earlier that the federal government is “not a shipping clerk” for the states. “Then POTUS yelled to someone in his office to do it now,” a Schumer spokesman reported.

Trump is just a petrified salesman who believes in perception over reality. He thinks if he can create the perception that this is going to be a quick fix and there’s a little pill coming, then the stock market will roar back, along with his 2020 momentum.

With F.D.R. and the Great Depression, the only thing to fear was fear itself. With Trump and our new abyss, we have to fear not only fear but also the ignorance and misdirection of the White House and the profiteering of senators. Not to mention the virus.”


Jennifer Senior in her piece, Call Trump’s News Conferences What They Are: Propaganda, comments that in a time of global emergency, we need calm, directness and, above all, hard facts. Only the opposite is on offer from the Trump White House. It is therefore time to call the president’s news conferences for what they are: propaganda.

We may as well be watching newsreels approved by the Soviet Politburo. We’re witnessing the falsification of history in real time. When Donald Trump, under the guise of social distancing, told the White House press corps on Thursday that he ought to get rid of 75 to 80 percent of them — reserving the privilege only for those he liked — it may have been chilling, but it wasn’t surprising. He wants to thin out their ranks until there’s only Pravda in the room.

Sometimes, I stare at Deborah Birx during these briefings and I wonder if she understands that this is the footage historians will be looking at 100 years from now — the president rambling on incoherently, vainly, angrily, deceitfully, while she watches, her face stiff with the strangled horror of a bride enduring an inappropriate toast.

If the public wants factual news briefings, they need to tune in to those who are giving them: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, whose addresses appear with English subtitles on Deutsche Welle. They should start following the many civic-minded epidemiologists and virologists and contagion experts on Twitter, like Harvard’s Marc Lipsitch and Yale’s Nicholas Christakis, whose threads have been invaluable primers in a time of awful confusion.”

Dowd’s and Senior’s pieces provide important insights into a major problem, if not an undermining, of the efforts of many good people to help our country weather the coronavirus pandemic. Please read them!



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