Coronavirus: Donald Trump’s lack of real leadership exposed by crisis – Jim Duffy

Unimpressed by Donald Trump’s actions over the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak, US stock markets are tanking as confidence ebbs away, writes Jim Duffy.

Donald Trump gives an address to the nation from the White House about the coronavirus (Picture: Doug Mills/The New York Times via AP, pool)
Donald Trump gives an address to the nation from the White House about the coronavirus (Picture: Doug Mills/The New York Times via AP, pool)

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the USA has the best ­intelligence networks in the world, if not the universe.

It spends billions on ­making sure it is always in pole position across the globe, feeding off human ­intelligence assets, digital ­chatter, satellites and a whole array of ­spying and intelligence-gathering machinery. Add to this super-computing power, and some of the sharpest minds coming out of the top Ivy League universities, and the USA is, without a modicum of doubt, the godfather of intelligence and preparedness for all eventualities. Well, that is what I believed until this week.

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You will recall the last time the USA was caught sleeping at the wheel. Despite massive budgets and security priorities, the Twin ­Towers in New York were razed to the ground. George W Bush, who has long since retreated to his ranch and golf course in Texas, was the president at the time. He was out his depth and it showed.

America was caught with its pants down and George Dubya went to war after these events. Why? Well, just because that is what America does when it gets attacked in any way. It projects power and lashes out. The results of the Gulf wars are debatabl, but one thing is certain, America and Americans felt safer as they believed the were in control again.

But, oh, how that is about to be shattered and dismantled over the coming months.

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America is under attack again, just like the rest of us. Coronavirus is attacking our way of lives, our bodies and our humanity. So, what does America do? What does this massive superpower with so much intelligence and firepower do? It sits on its hands and gazes at its navel. Why? Because it lacks a true leader. Donald Trump, if not already the worst President in American history, is sure to secure that accolade very soon. And Twitter rants won’t help him now.

Head in the sand

The American stock markets are tanking. Quite literally dropping like a stone as they react to the uncertainty that is permeating American society. These markets are now at 2012 levels which indicates that they are quite literally terrified about what could happen in the USA and how the coronavirus is being dealt with.

And if one thinks about how well-informed America truly is on world issues via its intelligence networks, for some weird reason, it has buried its head in the sand on this current threat.

I mean if it was being attacked or there was an imminent attack on its soil, then it would react decisively and with focus. But, because the attack does not come from live missiles, planes and submarines, America and its President seem to be frozen in time. And that is scary. Scary in that there is a complete lack of leadership.

Trump is a pugilist. He loves a good business scrap, knows how to deploy lawyers and understands how to rile opponents. This particular President has used social media, some say decisively, to make his point.

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Life-saving leadership

He knows how to obfuscate issues, scaremonger and rally his troops using this his favourite platform – Twitter. But, as America now faces a new enemy that is attacking from within as well as from overseas, the Twitter spat no longer works. The fight is not with another politician, celebrity or billionaire. No, the fight is with human frailty.

And this President and his Vice President Mike Pence are falling short when it comes to looking like true leaders. The American stock markets know it and now the American people are feeling it in their 401ks (pensions pots). Barack Obama is now way ahead of Trump on how he grew the stock markets when he was President – a statistic that Trump will choke on as he eats his lunch.

The current threat has shown that it is serious and can kill. As I said, no guns, tanks or ballistic missiles now.

But, that does not mean we do not need skilful and brave leadership from our politicians. Even more now as coronavirus takes hold, we require direction and to know that the state is leading us, looking out for us and willing to tell us what to do. This can save lives.

No more ‘business as usual’

It seems that the UK is aware of this and Boris Johnson is now in the hot seat. But, for Trump to ban flights from Europe, in an effort to stop coronavirus spreading in the USA, it sends out the wrong message to Americans, I would argue.

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In short, they are now looking for the ‘boogie man’ over there instead of the enemy within.

That enemy is complacency and nonchalance in believing that oceans will keep them safe and secure from this virus. A similar misguided idea contributed to Pearl Harbour and 9/11. But, I’m not blaming the American people here. No, it is their leadership that needs to wake up and smell the coffee and soon.

China and Japan went on lockdown. It had a positive effect on the spread of coronavirus cases. Trump needs to learn from this. I’m afraid that ‘business as usual’ doesn’t work. Just look at Nadine Dorries, the UK health minister, who has now caught the virus.

If America is to avoid the worst effects of the outbreak, Trump must show leadership now. Until he does, we are all in danger of playing front and centre with the band on the deck of the Titanic.

President Trump – where are you?