Image by fernando zhiminaicela from Pixabay 

By D. Kevin McNeir

Executive Editor, NJ Urban News

Donald Trump has always enjoyed being the center of attraction – from his younger days as a rich and privileged bachelor in the Big Apple to his reign as the head honcho on his reality TV show. And as the saying goes, “the more things change the more they remain the same. 

Thus, it should come as no great surprise that one of his favorite activities since declaring his intention to run for president and throughout his first term in office has been taking his show on the road for campaign stumps. Perhaps the exuberance he reportedly experiences whenever he’s standing before an audience of ardent supporters explains why he recently ignored the advice of his inner circle, including some of the nation’s top health experts, and rebooted his efforts to secure a second term in office.

Over the past several days, he’s made stops in Tulsa and in two cities in Arizona, entertaining his base and critiquing everything from Hillary Clinton and the media to disgruntled protesters and the Democrats. 

However, he’s remained silent on the murders of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks – both men’s death’s occurring at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis and Atlanta, respectively. 

However, it has been Trump’s nonchalant attitude and cavalier comments about COVID-19 that have resulted in unbridled anger and tons of criticism from the American public. After first employing a racial slur in renaming the coronavirus and pointing to China as the source of the virus, he then made light of the disturbing rise in the number of those who have tested positive. 

Referring to nationwide initiatives to ramp up testing for COVID-19, he described the strategy as a “double-edged sword.” 

“If you test more people you’re going to have more positive results, so I told my team to slow down the testing,” Trump said to a crowd of supporters in Tulsa without batting an eye or chuckling just a bit so as to suggest that he may have been providing a bit of levity in the midst of a very serious and deadly situation. 

In the days since making this startling comment – uttered, incidentally, while sticking to his guns and refusing to wear a face covering while in public settings as recommended by medical experts from both the Centers for Disease Control and his own in-house COVID-19 guru, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a growing number of Americans have questioned his abilities to adequately lead the nation. 

Despite the nation slowly relaxing stay-in-place orders from state governors and the mayor of Washington, D.C., we remain locked in a battle with the coronavirus. Even more, more than a dozen states have recorded surges in the number of positive cases and increased hospitalizations for those inflicted by the deadly virus. 

So, what’s on Mr. Trump’s mind? Why does he insist on returning to the campaign trail and bringing crowds of people to indoor arenas which provide a perfect venue for the spread of COVID-19? 

As the nation’s leader, he has chosen to forgo the wearing of a mask or face covering and those who attended his campaign events followed suit – the majority of those in attendance shouting, laughing and engaging with one another without wearing protective face wear. 

Trump’s team, perhaps in efforts to clean up their boss’s obviously unwise and politically-damaging statement have surmised that he was merely joking when referring to “testing too much.” 

But with America leading the globe with more than one-quarter of the world’s infected citizens residing in the U.S., the situation we face is dire, daunting and deadly. 

The reality we face is far from a laughing matter. 

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