“The buck stops here.” So said the placard on Harry Truman’s oval office desk. President Donald J. Trump doesn’t agree.
When asked by a reporter if he took any responsibility for the failure to ramp up testing for the novel coronavirus, he said no. The lack of mask and personal protective equipment for medical personnel on the frontlines or the lack of ventilators, that’s the governors’ responsibility. Asked why he downplayed the threat of a pandemic even though intelligence agencies and health professionals were warning him in January, but waited until March before issuing a national emergency, he obfuscated.
During that interval, he claimed he had the virus under control and the few initial cases would simply go away like magic. Now after more than 50,000 deaths, Trump blames the Democrats for impeaching him, the governors for not stockpiling medical supplies, the Chinese for not being transparent and, most recently, the World Health Organization for bungling its initials response.
After first claiming total authority to open up the economy, he now argues it is the governors’ responsibility. That has not stopped him from encouraging anti-shelter-in-place rallies, despite the inability to do the widespread testing to ascertain who has contracted the virus. So if opening too soon leads to a resurgence of cases, blame it on the governors, not him.
Perhaps Trump should put a placard on his oval office desk that reads: “The buck stops anywhere but here!”