Plagued by the President

Trump washes his hands of responsibility.

Comments: 138

  1. Here’s Boris Johnson’s most recent nugget of wisdom: “I must level with the British public: many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time.” How about a little less fatalism and a little more doing stuff? Obviously deaths will happen BUT can we at least try to make an effort that’s equal to the challenge?!?! Maybe act less like prognosticating morticians and more like *World Leaders* with plans? It’s as if these conservatives are eager for this to get as bad as possible before they do anything remotely coherent.

  2. Ms. Dowd, you nailed it. Trump can't fake empathy because he can't even grasp the concept of empathy.

  3. Ms. Dowd's opinions are always well written, to the point, carrying an appropriate bit of wit. This present situation, like many other past moments during Trump's leading role, is beyond reality. Ms. Dowd makes it plain to see the man's failure in no uncertain terms. With an election on the horizon, I imagine he will be impeached again before Election Day. There's plenty of time. He going to become very desperate and he's extremely unstable. Trump is the swamp.

  4. Someone should have asked President Trump to define the word "virus". No doubt he would have said it was something enacted during the Obama Administration. SNL would then have had its next opening skit.

  5. Parodying the words of FDR: There is nothing to fear but Trump himself.

  6. Americans must demand that Trump resign now. He is quickly destroying our country.

  7. And still, many key political leaders who could speak out, don’t.

  8. I am a 66 year old man now a week into a really bad cold that is getting worse every day...I have had pneumonia once in my life and this is beginning to feel like that. I went to my local doctor this morning and she thinks pneumonia is possible and gave me meds for it. I asked her, "I am concerned about my wife, who is 69 with a history of lung ailments. Can I please get tested for the virus?" She said..."You have to be a patient in the hospital to get tested, and it will be two more weeks before there is widespread testing." So...Trump gets tested immediately and we low-lifes have to wait. What I want to know is what in the world was his administration doing when all those disturbing images of people in China being herded into gymnasium-sized health facilities? I have a challenge for the New York Times that I please ask you to consider. Can you put together a day-by-day account of what Trump was doing from the time the virus started spreading in China? I would be really interested in knowing when his first meeting with the CDC was and what was discussed? Did he play golf during this time? What about his tweets? How much time was spent on his divisive tweets (each one would figure to take five minutes or so to craft, no?) rather than meeting with health officials? This is the sort of thing your readers would be interested in knowing. Should we be surprised that the world would get so sick while Trump has so infected it during his time as president?

  9. Great idea! In former times the NYT would have done it but Trump has them cowered.

  10. Narcissist---- An extremely self-centered person who has an exaggerated sense of self importance. They don't seem to perform well when under pressure generated by a crisis or calamity. Present situation terrible but not surprising.

  11. People have been asking if President Trump was tested for the coronavirus. He has. It came back negative, isn’t that wonderful.

  12. Simple answer, no.

  13. Day by day Trump gets smaller and smaller. He is our vanishing President. Done in, at last, by an enemy he can’t fight, or call by a mean spirited epithet. Despite his hunches, his overuse of the word perfect and beautiful over time he gets smaller and smaller. By November he will be a speck, having vanished before our eyes.

  14. @Douglas Ritter in the words of Mink DeVille " Let me dream if I want to "

  15. Trump took no responsibility when it was time to be drafted into the military, getting a bogus medical deferment. He took no responsibility for earning his own living, instead getting regular cash infusions from his dad. He took no responsibility for paying contractors, instead choosing to sue them or wait to be sued to negotiate a better deal. He took no responsibility when he bankrupted several companies. He took no responsibility when he cheated on every one of his wives. He took no responsibility when so many people in his campaign and administration were indicted and convicted of crimes. And, or course, he took no responsibility for the Ukrainian mess he created that led to his impeachment by the House. His entire life, Donald Trump has always been about taking credit and placing blame on others. So why would anyone think he would take responsibility for the fumbled response of his administration to CoVid-19?

  16. Most egregious was the moment Trump threw Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the most respected and knowledgeable epidemiologists in the world, under the bus when asked about dismissing the Pandemic Team in 2018. "I didn't do it." Trump's go to answer for everything. He then called out "Tony," Tony no less, so disrespectful, and said Tony would know more about that. True character is revealed every time this poor excuse for a president is under any pressure. He is characterless. Thanks to the GOP for letting Trump run amok with our Nation and the world.

  17. I enjoyed this opinion piece. But it is too confident. When this president leaves office, his enablers and propagandists will remain, their names may change. The mischief will go on.

  18. His inability to take responsibility for any event that does not have a hyperbolic positivity for him should now be a given. My disappointment is that his party formerly known as Republicans refuse to challenge the destroyer in chief from taking us all on this collision course.

  19. We are in the midst of a crises and we have a despicable, amoral president. If the markets had not collapsed last week trump would still be doing what he did for the prior two and a half months: mocking the pandemic as nothing but a media hoax created to damage him politically; and keeping Americans in the dark by suppressing testing. Does trump really think the WHO and the countries on lock down in Europe and Asia decided to upend the world to create a hoax to embarrass him? Is it even possible to be that self-absorbed? trump condemns the Chinese leadership who failed to alert the world to this outbreak but who instead, for domestic political reasons, actively suppressed information about it and thereby - despicably - made matters far worse. He then expects us to forget that for MONTHS he failed to secure a sufficient supply of test kits, and then for WEEKS prohibited testing without prior consent from his administration - which was routinely denied - all while taking bows and citing how few confirmed cases there were in America. And now we're all supposed to be heartened because instead of denying reality and cooking the books trump is now babbling incoherently about "big words" and taking no responsibility for anything.

  20. How surprising that gee, politics would somehow bleed over into statements by "authorities" (Trump & others). May I PLEASE have an epidemiologist's opinion? Or several? You know, someone who studied for oh gosh maybe 7 to 14 years or more? Not sycophants? Thanks for letting me rant. Meanwhile, back to wearing plastic gloves while wiping down every package/envelope that is delivered here. Sounds crazy I agree. Except for that part where I can only control what enters my home. And EVERYTHING, myself included, is washed or wiped on entry. Shoes off. And yes, since reading up on this, we are now taking off our clothing and tossing it into the washer immediately just because, well--IT CAN LIVE 6-12 HOURS ON FABRIC. Yes I feel slightly nutty despite my engineering, MBA & PhD training--kinda the most logical/rational you could find. When I saw my internist almost 2 weeks ago, & explained I'm wearing plastic gloves & wiping down all packages (even the mail because it can live 12 hours or more on metal--like say, your mailbox) she said that's quite "logical" and she planned to implement this at her home & office. NOBODY but you can impact this, really. Be smart: if it enters your home, wash it down. Yes: you, your hands, your face. Toss your clothes in the laundry hamper, sanitize your shoes (which you should take off upon entry or before). And your mail. Your deliveries. Anything you bring into your sanctuary you once called home--sanitize or better yet, isolate. And pray.

  21. Well, it all came together on Friday afternoon in the Rose Garden: A press conference that was at least a month late; a president who takes no responsibility, past or future; a vice-president whose painful obsequiousness illustrates the kind of "administration" we now have; and dodge ball with the truth. Your luck has run out, Mr. President.

  22. "The most totemic ..." I have new, greater respect and awe for Ms. Dowd for not using the "i" word. Thank you. I owe you a drink even if it isn't St. Patrick's Day, P.S. Historically, there never were snakes native to Ireland for Patrick or anyone else to drive out. It's is simply too cold. But it's a nice story and a good reason to drink (as if we really needed an excuse anyway). Is it too early for a single malt (sorry, my preference) or too late? Do they even have peat in Ireland anyway? Oh well, to old times past.

  23. @Mark Shyres lots of peat in Ireland of course , being a natural phenomenon it is overharvested and is now " protected "

  24. Fortunately, our state governments still function. If trump would just suspend operation of his mouth for two weeks we could make some progress. If he isn't leading, he should at least get out of the way of those who are. Good luck everybody.

  25. It is the logical end of " small-government." Fantasy that has passed for conservative philosophy for almost 50 years. It is where you wind up if you give government jobs to people dedicated to destroying the agencies they are supposed to oversee, and that’s a straight line from Anne Gorsuch and James Watt to Scott Pruitt and Betsy DeVos. And to Seema Verna, for that matter. And, ultimately, to a press conference outside the White House that was little more than a parade of sycophantic CEOs.

  26. I said last week that it is nauseating to see the officials around Trump kept praising him before diving into the details at the pressers. It dawns on me as I watched yesterday. While some are definitely brown nosers, others actually go through the motion to tell him out of the way so they can get on with their tasks to save America from the coronavirus - and from him

  27. Perhaps the most surreal picture in all of this coronavirus-related situation is the sight of an increasing number of Trump's vociferous Republican sycophants self-quarantining and walking around the halls of Congress with face masks. How ironic and tragic. And the rest of us older folks? Trying to keep our cool and behave in a rational and practical manner when mass media all around us would have us believe that the whole planet is disintegrating. We firmly believe that despite all appearance this is not the case, and that this too shall pass!

  28. My understanding is that the original House bill to mitigate some of the economic and personal hardships caused by the coronavirus contained a provision for permanent paid sick leave for employees. Then businesses and Republicans strenuously objected, so the provision was removed. Anyone who knows this and continues to vote Republican is not a good person.

  29. Bit of anxiety there Maureen. I'm sure even Trump will realize soon enough any re-election hopes are riding on this. Even if he had done worlds best practice, you would have politicized everything regardless. And imagine his crowing then! In that regard few if any world leaders can hold their head up high. They've all failed. Take Italy, the draconian measures only came in once their failures mounted. China may have dealt with the outbreak, until of course the next one. The US has 330 million people and multiple layers of government and numerous world best institutions and vast corporations. Why all the focus on just one guy.

  30. Because he has the power to make a difference. Unfortunately he doesn’t have the intellect, the skill or the temperament to do so.

  31. As Obama said, elections have consequences. If this charade of government that Trump and the GOP are continuing in the face of a crisis is not a consequence I don't know what is.

  32. What an historic blunder: The republicans would rather save Trump but not save the country. Wait 'till stuff hits the fan. Can't you just picture the republicans wide eyed, pretending they didn't see disaster coming? They can't say they didn't ask for it.

  33. When Republicans begin dying in droves here, Mr. Trump will be confronted by the problem of whether to bar them from entry to the White House. There are many more unique problems ahead for America's greatest President as he continues to waste time, money and precious lives by not shutting this country down tight as a drum to delay and prevent wholesale spread of the virus. Italy, here we come.

  34. Something is fishy! Either Trump did not get the test and they said he did or he got the test and they are keeping it secret ANd what about Pence and all . They can’t tell us all those cozy handshaking gatherings produced no cases at all. I don’t believe it at all

  35. The loss of all these "totemic parts" -Broadway, Hollywood, Disneyland, March Madness, The Masters, baseball Spring training, the Met, late-night comedy shows, tours of the Capilol, Tom Hanks," et. al. are exactly what America has needed for decades and at least even for a century. America hs become bloated and over-bloated with, and by, these so -called totems. If they never were to make an appearance in America again we would all be better off. The average American does not even have access ot connection to these "parts" of America. In order to have access and connection to these events and/or venues one needs the assets of a millionaire or billionaire. The Corona Virus has rightfully taken America down a peg. We will be at bedrock when this Pandemic is over, and that is exactly where we need to be. Hollywood, especially, has despoiled America since its inception, and if Hollywood never darkened our door again we would be better off. The Corona Virus is an opportunity for America to be a simpler, less-hyped, less marketed nation. The Corona Virus is doing what President Trump promised to do: it is draining the national swamp of all the filth that has accumulated in America since its inception. The Corona Virus is the best thing to overtake America since the Spanish Flu.

  36. In some ways the bushfires here promoted a fairly efficient response from our PM to this crisis. He seems to want to redeem himself somewhat. I am fascinated by American politics so I can see both responses comparatively. There does not seem to be the same feeling of disorganised slap dash ad hoc chaos here. It helps not to have the depressing sycophancy of high officials having to flatter the dear leader. Tragically for your great country (that I admire in so many ways), the sycophancy makes your administrative response look cartoonish, kind of absurdly Dickensian and quite scary. One cannot solve a health crisis with a carnival barker in charge.

  37. "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." - President George W. Bush, Sep. 1, 2005 This is definitely Trump's Katrina moment. Trump's public statements this week are going down in history. Not in a good way. The odd thing about it is he probably won't live to hear the criticism. I'll be shocked if Trump stays healthy through November. There's a reason he avoids a test. He doesn't want the public to know the results.

  38. Hoping and praying that the Brazilian party infected Trump and Pence. Once they are gone we can move forward with President Pelosi and start getting back to normal. Was McConnell at that party too? Would be great to get some good news like that for a change.

  39. Maureen said: "He can’t cover up his lack of empathy..." Wrong, Maureen, Trump has lots of empathy...for himself, his family, and his cronies, as long as they are loyal to him and do his bidding. Indeed you could even say that his empathy for himself is so expansive, that is is suffocating the whole nation, one issue at a time. In the beginning he wanted his wall, now he denies responsibility for the failures of his administration to be ready for the virus, instead blaming Obama. And yet Trump himself eliminated Obama's office for pandemic preparation. Why? Because he hates Obama. In that sense, his conservative followers are correct in seeing Trump as some kind of deity. What they do not see is that there are benign deities and evil ones.

  40. Don’t get your hopes up that this latest and most blatant and dangerous display of Trump’s incompetence and charlatanism will make any major dent in his approval rating. Over the last few days, he is still in the mid-40 percent range, with as much as a 49% approval rating as of Thursday per Rasmussen. Who are these people and where are their heads?!

  41. "I'm Not Responsible" Trump-Pence-GOP 2020 What a winning campaign slogan.

  42. As I read the column, I realized that I was seeing was only one side of the coin. Trump did this wrong; Trump did that wrong, his supporters are incompetent. The tune hasn't changed, the agricultural description is "Going over plowed ground". People are so immersed in finding fault they don't see the good. So, let’s give it a look: First and foremost, the economy is cratering. Trump is angry because his wealth is built on debt, he wants to fire the Fed chairman because the interest rate dip didn’t pull his creditors away from the door. Second, the people who have stood in the way of universal health care, mandatory sick leave, etc. are about to find out what it's like on the other side of the mountain. Another NYT opinion column today lists the companies that don’t pay sick leave. Companies like Chick-fil-A, and Hobby Lobby base their whole philosophy on “Christian values” yet don’t give their people sick leave, and by that extension will help toexpose and kill even more people with the virus. Third, the “Merry go round” of public employment under this White House is about to lose the curtain and expose the wizard as a fraud, it's not a "deep state" it's "deep experience". We need experienced people in jobs for which the need was established years ago. Bush may finally be able to shed the curse of his "Way-to-go" Brownie! moment. So, look at it this way: In the long run this horrible disease may be the best thing that's ever happened to the USA.

  43. Every four years Americans go searching for a President who will run the country judiciously, protect its citizens, honor the Constitution and laws of the land and unite the majority in common purposes. In the great novella Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, Marlow goes searching for Kurtz, a company agent who has built his fortune on the exploitation of enslaved black Africans. When Marlow's riverboat finally encounters the dying Kurz he hears him proclaim his last words: "The Horror. The Horror. It is Kurtz's recognition of what he has done in Africa, of how he has brutalized a people and torn them asunder. Those are precisely the words I feel like uttering when I contemplate our countries actions and judgment almost four years ago.

  44. Mr President, “Where does the buck stop now?” How I would love to hear a reporter shout those words at Trump.

  45. Pelosi and Porter are the stars tragic play. Women power at its best. I predict a great future for Porter.

  46. "He can’t cover up his lack of empathy, his instinct to mislead, his refusal to do his homework and his blame-shifting." Hmm, you would have to be deaf, blind and in the grip of studied ignorance to have bought into Trump's cover up of his lack of empathy, lack of integrity, lack of honesty, lack of homework, etc. etc. etc.

  47. Can anyone explain the first two words of the article, please. Paging Proust. Does it mean something like „“Contacting Proust“ in the sense of: Proust as the symbol for lost time?

  48. as Betty Davis once said "fasten your seat belts , it's gonna be a bumpy ride."

  49. "I'M NOT RESPONSIBLE" vs "THE BUCK STOPS HERE". Which one would you choose in 2020?

  50. Perhaps Mike Bloomberg or Bill Gates can contract to produce bottles of hand sanitizer to hand out to voters that are labeled "Wash Your Hands of Trump...Vote Democratic." If they want to sell them, let the proceeds go to some worthy cause that addresses the coronavirus epidemic.

  51. Watching the normal television news makes me think that I am in the middle of a serious horror movie that is taking weeks to unfold rather than 1 hour and 40 minutes. Who will save us? Certainly not the impostor in the Oval Office.

  52. Obligatory effusive contra-factual praise of the President is NOT NORMAL in a democracy. Will we be shocked when Pence starts calling Trump "Glorious Leader" ?

  53. "No, I don’t take responsibility at all" - perfect for upcoming campaign ads!

  54. At long last! After years of non stop lies, Trump gets it right and tells the truth in the midst of a national life and death crisis---he takes no responsibility at all.

  55. DON’T YOU NEED TO SELF QUARANTINE WHILE YOU ARE AWAITING THE RESULTS OF A CORONAVIRUS TEST?? Am I missing something, and if so I would appreciate it if a reader could explain it to me. President Trump was exposed to people with the virus, yet he stands close to other officials and reporters. And Dr. Fauci is right behind him, so maybe it’s ok for any of us to be walking around in public after we have been exposed and are awaiting test results. President Trump doesn’t seem any different to me that that Jet Blue passenger that flew from New York to West Palm Beach and then found out after landing that his test results were positive. That person was widely criticized for his/her irresponsible behavior. How is this different? Any clarification/explanation would be appreciated.

  56. Will the “plague” leave no one untouched? We in Canada are appalled to see American workers left high and dry, by and large, with the new legislation passed by the House. Why did the Democrats succumb to pressure? Why did Nancy Pelosi capitulate to the Republican’s serenading big business? Is it because big business pays out big salaries and, hence subject to bigger liabilities for sick workers? If Yamiche Alcindor of PBS were to ask Nancy Pelosi if she would accept responsibility for seemingly abandoning American workers on the subject of sick pay, what would her response be?

  57. Yeah, I can hear it already: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims." The dead, the suffering, the impoverished, the unprotected. Instead of policies, plans, preparedness, empathy and protection, we have empty thoughts and phony prayers. He may not be infected with the virus, not that I trust that report, but he and his ilk have already infected this country with far worse, and for years to come! May God bless the USA!

  58. Recall that in “War of the Worlds”, the invaders were destroyed not by the defenders, but by pathogens. It would be ironic if Trumpism is destroyed by a virus.

  59. With 3 cases of COVID-19 now found at the Mar-a-Lago Club, why is the place still open?

  60. Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that said, "The Buck Stops Here". Trump should have one that says, "The Buck Passes Through Here".

  61. Notwithstanding Trump's characterological need to lie -- the truth is actually painful to him -- I wonder if a certain question would unveil his truthful "id": "Mr. President, what is more important, the United States of American or someone treating you unfairly?" [Pause. . . .]

  62. People have asked if President Trump got tested for the coronavirus. He did and the results came back negative. I am happy about that and I am sure the liberal media is too.

  63. Honestly i am not

  64. I am an American living in Milan. We've been on lockdown now for over a week. Italians for all their faults, know how to get it together when need be. The level of civility and civil responsibility is outstanding. I've waited for months to see what the US's reaction would be. Too little, too late I'm afraid. I would like to invite the entire first family, and all their "hoax" followers to board Air Force One, and come to Milan to visit and see just what a "hoax" it is. I will make my famous Cima Genovese for them. Please come but bring masks and provisions please.

  65. "He can’t cover up his lack of empathy, his instinct to mislead, his refusal to do his homework and his blame-shifting." That means we need a Hail Mary from the spring weather; very warm temperatures and humidity above 45%....this significantly lessens virus infectivity. What a shame there's been such a colossal failure of the government to deal with this and instead we have to hope for favorable weather.

  66. @NastyBoy Please do not air the presumuption SARS-CoV-2 will respond to weather as other viurses do...there is no evidence to date that it will. Also: please remember: if it does behave in this manner, it may subside only to return in Autumn.

  67. “No, I don’t take responsibility at all,” Trump said This is leadership? Nope.

  68. It seems like Trump has been in office for 400 years. Now we’re at the plague stage. When does this nightmare end?

  69. According to the White House, trump's test came back negative. Apparently there is a limit to what the coronavirus is willing to tolerate.

  70. I stop at the supermarket every day. Up until Friday it had been relatively normal in terms of shelves being stocked -- minus toilet paper, which has been gone for a week. Anyway, on Friday evening all of that changed. It was crowded -- not quite as crowded as the day after Thanksgiving, but certainly placed in the top 3 most crowded days. Why. What happened? I then realized that a few hours earlier Trump finally told folks what he should have told them a week ago. I'd been reading and watching many news sources, so I already knew of the soon-to-worsen pandemic, but it occurred to me that most of Trump's base has a single "news" source: Fox. And on Friday, after a week of burying the pandemic under stories of nationalist conspiracy theories and brown people who get in trouble and, of course, Hillary, after Dear Leader spoke at 3:30 p.m. ET, Fox finally "broke" the pandemic story. And at that moment I froze. There I was in line, surrounded by hundreds of Trumpers with carts full of Kleenex and paper towels. I smiled to myself.

  71. Trump, whose feeble ego, nearly complete lack of character or integrity means that he never apologizes or admits mistakes, was not going to admit responsibility for anything. And he doesn’t need to - He knows that Faux “news” and Faux pundits will run interference for him no matter what he does and the majority of his base watch Faux and only Faux. They will craft a narrative that makes Trump look good, and they have been doing it reliably since he became the Rep Presidential candidate. People keep underestimating or ignoring the problem here, which has been going on for decades now. The Founders of America knew that Free Press was critical to a democracy and Murdoch used his Billions to effectively kill the 5th Estate. We now effectively have a state-run propaganda “news” service operationally-similar to what they have in Russia and North Korea. Our Founders knew how dangerous this was, which was why they protected against it. What they didn’t anticipate was first, the creation/existence of Billionaires, second, the creation of a State-run “news” service using a private media company. And we had rules, laws and policies in place that protected us from propaganda, but they were not updated to include other media such as cable, the internet, social media. Presently, Faux is effectively a state-run propaganda service with no oversight or laws concerning what it can say or do. This is a real problem.... .

  72. From Trump: Only I can fix it. To Trump: No I don't take any responsibility at all.

  73. Maureen, this may be the best piece from you that I have ever read and that's saying something! Harry Truman, on his desk had this motto: "the buck stops here!" Trump's must be "the blame starts here." This pandemic also presents us with an opportunity to look beyond the typically American "rugged individualism of "I, me, mine" and start to view the "U.S." and the rest of the planet as a collective and work towards the collectives benefit. Oh wait... that's "socialism!"

  74. At this point, Trump is the emergency. Quarantine him, permanently, including his Twitter. In fact, force him to step down.

  75. Truman had a sign on his desk that said, "The buck stops here." Trump needs a sign on his desk that says, "The buck stops anywhere but here."

  76. I hope the next administration does not take the high road and decide to just move forward repairing the damage from this clown show of a presidency. I want Department of Justice investigations, indictments, trials, convictions, and long prison sentences for every one of the criminals attached to the Executive Branch from the day trump took office until the day he leaves.

  77. I would like to know where Trump's coronavirus test was sent , who tested it and WHY it was done SO quickly? Trump himself said it would day a day or two, and suddenly we have the results in 24 hours?? I honestly don't believe the results. I am not even sure I believe he got tested!

  78. @Lois Lettini . You're right. Since he lies about everything. including his height and even the weather, he most likely didn't even take the test. This is all just a show for him.

  79. @LL Trump: Making Americans Cynical.

  80. Why don't we all just stop paying attention to him. Don't go to Press Conferences - the gist is reported, fact-checked, and lies are pointed out. Opinion pieces are written - but every aspect of his miserable existence has been covered in excruciating detail. Let Fox have him. Take a vow of just talking with folks who value truth & transparency!

  81. There is no wall that China (the original culprit) can pay for to keep the virus out. The great negotiator can't cut a deal with the virus to infect only Democrats. The virus really doesn't care if he lies about it or slanders it. It's hard to intimidate a virus, even with Lindsay Graham and Mark Meadows on your side. The Donald is at wit's end, what kind of adversary behaves like this? He can't con his way out of this one, he can't negotiate with it, and his inept failure will cost some of his supporters their lives. They will likely attribute it to "God's will" and deal with it as "acceptable losses." His base won't be shaken by this episode.

  82. Trump cannot use his bullying ways and 'tag' the coronavirus with a belittling handle to diffuse its' impact and he cannot lie it away. Whether or not he tests positive for the virus medically, it has infected him.

  83. We've come a long way from:"The Buck stops here".

  84. "By now, Trump is surely jealous of Pence’s good reviews and requires extra obeisance." A very sad commentary on a pair of twisted mentalities at the helm.

  85. Trump was a nightmare from day one. His handling this crisis is a new low. Thank God there is an election in November! Democratic National Committee do you think the country really needs another debate? Drop out Bernie!

  86. @Northernd: Belief that this monstrous liberty to enslave federal system is God's work precludes its reformation.

  87. The president of the United States wanted to keep people cooped up on a cruise ship so it would help his numbers. What is so amazing was that he said it on camera. I am in the Twilight Zone.

  88. Trump is the disease, the fall election the cure. For those who think who the POTUS is doesn’t matter, these past few weeks and the ones to come should be a reminder that elections have serious consequences.

  89. No fainting couch will save Trump, nor will his nasty tweets pointing the blame left right and anywhere but back to centre (him). Sadly, with the US rising in the charts (it's at number 8 today) of countries with the largest number of Covid-19 infections, Trump will get his wish of winning. Unfortunately, many Americans will soon be even more sick and tired of Trump's "winning".

  90. "his attempt at maturity was crystallized in one sound bite. “No, I don’t take responsibility at all,” Trump said" Well said. Vote blue no matter what.

  91. This is what happens when you have a president incapable of empathy or compassion. Trump sees everything through the lens of “how does this affect ME” which he gauges through the stock market and popularity polls. In what becomes more evident every day, Trump never wanted to BE president, he just wants to be CALLED president.

  92. There are two bright spots in this whole disaster. 1) All but the most extreme Trump cultists are beginning to understand that this emperor has no clothes and 2) the freeways are clear.

  93. It has been confirmed that the American Government, i.e. Donald Trump, has been trying to bribe the scientists in a German private company developing a vaccine against coronavirus to move to America and develop it as an American vaccine, for exclusive use of Americans. It takes America First to a new high, and America as a country in the world to a new low.

  94. I shared this with my husband, who did not believe it. I then went to the World Wide Web where multiple news agencies are valid information the story. It sounds as if there could be a bidding war between Germany and the US for the company. It sounds as if The company stays in Germany the vaccine would be available world wide. It sounds, although the source is confidential, that the US, if it got the company, would have the vaccine exclusive to Us citizens. GErmany's response to this is that the is a limit to capitalism. Trump et al, met with the company, Cure Vac, on March 2.

  95. In my town where they want to think they are compassionate (and for sure are about dogs), people have been hoarding and disease profiteering (4 rolls of TP $50; 4 dust masks $60.) We have many people in the service industry who do not have paid sick or annual leave. One hotel (LaFonda) had practiced social distancing--taking tables out. I sure wish our city govt had done that rather than shut rec centers (rope off every other machine) and libraries (take out chairs and rope off every other computer) down for another 3 weeks. It makes for panic. What we need is testing.

  96. Rudderless in a frothing sea! Even when the president stopped being so blithe about the virus, even after his error-ridden national address and his press conference Friday declaring a national emergency — “two very big words” — his attempt at maturity was crystallized in one sound bite. “No, I don’t take responsibility at all,” Trump said, when asked about the egregious lag in testing. It was far from his tweet in 2013, when he loved trolling Obama: “Leadership: Whatever happens, you’re responsible. If it doesn’t happen, you’re responsible.”

  97. The question I have is: What other time bombs has this administration readied for us with its mindless budget cutting of essential services?

  98. Why ruin the beautiful spirit of spring by showing this oxymoron picture of trump amongst the blooming flowers.

  99. Loved the picture and that caption as well!

  100. The Emperor Has No Immunity.

  101. A widely shared nightmare is realizing on final exam day that you have not attended any classes, taken any previous exams and studied for the big one. Behind this must the the almost universal fear of failure. Sixty million voters decided to put into office the individual who seems to have not inherited this basic survival instinct, now essential for the survival of the nation. Citizens of Ireland, previously afflicted by Trump's golf resort shenanigans, came up with "You've been Trumped." Sadly, this was lost in translation to sixty million US voters in 2016 who thought the US was most in need of ... entertainment. Here's bringing final exam day to all youz.

  102. Trump is on t.v right now by chance. He just had the audacity to say that the stock market had a record breaking day yesterday because of 3 o'clock speech. Seriously, is he on drugs?

  103. Of course the irony of Trumps garden address might unfold if many in attendance shaking his small hand, gripping that podium or adjusting the same microphone ended up looking like Iranian leaders sweating it up on national TV. I suppose if I got an up close and personal in the Oval Office I too would feel ill. Leading by example, in particular in a time of crisis, isn’t a trait I would have associated to Trump or his cronies. I see them more in line with sanitiser hoarders whose garage is loaded with 17,000 bottles of Purell looking for $50 a bottle homes. They are grifters and confidence men. But even they might not be able to escape this plague unscathed. The unfortunate truth is that the coronavirus is going to be with all of us for an unimaginably long time. Based on the cavalier attitude of our President, any thought of having our leader guiding us to how we must behave to minimise spread is out the window. This will get worse. And it didn’t have to be this bad.

  104. Biden may not be a very dynamic candidate but he surely would have DISEASE control measures in place. If this bunglling by trump doesn't push people to vote him out then nothing will.

  105. Thanks for another smart column . This president never did anything nice in his life . Obviously he is incapable to do good , because of that I am more afraid of him .

  106. As a preventative measure, President Trump should definitely be put in quarantine. Doctors should also insist on the risks for him to be infected on-line, where viruses are known to proliferate.

  107. " By lying... a man annihilates his dignity as a man " Immanuel Kant accurately described the essence of Donald Trump 250 years ago. Trump's performance yesterday, accompanied by Mike Pence's cringingly sycophantic praise, was vintage Trump. Lie after lie, punctuated by another, in a series of what can only be described  as pathological attempts to somehow blame Barack Obama for issues that overwhelm him. " The Lie " has been Trump's primary defense mechanism when confronted with the reality of his mendacious corruption and gross incompetence. " The Lie " is his fatal flaw and the Corona Pandemic will only italicize that reality, and ultimately destroy his presidency.

  108. @Don Shipp. To those who scoff at the value of the Liberal Arts, your first quote is worth a year’s tuition. Thanks.

  109. I propose a slogan for our times: "Coronavirus--Gods way of showing Trump is NOT the Chosen One."

  110. For those of us who are old enough to remember James Carville you may remember him saying that we should never let a disaster go unexploited. As expected Maureen has done that albeit not that successfully.Being gleeful at incompetence is not exactly being productive since the incompetence is actually party proof and there is enough of it to go around. I am afraid that the US habit of talking and not actually working or solving problems has been painfully exposed during this catastrophe. Pundits and experts are having a field day blathering while the everyday man is as usual doing the heavy lifting. The NYT should be a trifle more balanced in their presentation.

  111. Recently, my husband's cousin visited from the US. He is an evangelical and is shunning us because we are not. He supports Trump because he will outlaw abortion and that is the only issue that matters. So what if thousands die from Trump's incompetence in handling Covid-19 and lying about it -- and therein lies the problem with single issue voting.

  112. The real question is, how many people will die who didn't have to because of Trump's indifference and incompetence? Hundreds, thousands, more?

  113. Though our great leader has taken the test, lest his poll numbers suffer, and has washed his hands of all responsibility for this or any other thing-nonetheless we the people can not, no matter how we might wish wash our hands of him! Not quite yet, though the raw desire for it grows more palpable by the day, by the minute, by the breath. In each sacred dream, in every tragic death. We remain tainted by him and must also suffer the encroachment of disease that if our federal government were in fact serving us could have been checked much earlier in its rampage across our land. One wonders if some foul diabolical intent may haunt us here. Perhaps this fiasco will bring some benefit to us in the end. In that we may become much more educated for future events of like kind and we may also see again, not that we should have needed it, that this man is all about himself and what a pathetic, selfish, dishonest self it is! So three cheers for these serendipitous gifts that our collective tragedy may bring us! Cheers to a time- quickly approaching, brought forward by so many fervent prayers, -out beyond this one, kiss the earth, praise the sky ! The emperor not only has no clothes, but no mind, no heart, no soul, no meaning, no coherence from one day to the next, and surely no rightful role in the life of this once and sometimes great nation. Sometimes a great notion? Yes we can / Yes we must- for ourselves and every other living thing here now and for ages and ages to come.

  114. And, to add insult to injury, Trump, the plague on all of our houses, calls a press conference on Friday the 13th, and a so-called national day of prayer on the Ides of March. Good luck with that!

  115. They say now that Trump has been tested for the virus. What are the results? Will he reveal that, or is his personal doctor no better than the one Elvis had?

  116. Finding fault with our impeached president is like shooting fish in a barrel for pundits these days. All true and easy targets, but I just got a plea from someone to help them defend Trump and Conservatives. I texted back: You mean the guy and the group that allowed COVID-19 to spread, which killed my 401K and perhaps me? That message, of course, promptly went in one eye and out the other. What's to like about an impeached president who insists that he is responsible for nothing? I noticed that he put Pence in charge of this debacle, hardening his bunker, adding distance and deniability. Like nailing Jell-O to the wall this president.

  117. Thanks, Maureen, succinct and truthful! What angers me most is that Trump did indeed dismantle the pandemic/epidemic response task force, in 2018! Like with all things from the Obama era, Trump has dismantled, repealed or squashed anything remotely worthwhile. And to treat the reporter, Yamiche Alincord , with such disdain is beneath the Office of the POTUS! I pray America is watching and paying attention. We must unite, indeed, and oust Trump and his GOP sycophants out of our government!

  118. My hope is that the spectacle of trump's odious reign laid bare by an epidemic he can't con or spin out of existence, nor completely cover up his gross inadequacies will allow the majority of Americans to see that some of the synonyms for "deep state" as represented by the government are "experienced", "competent", "pragmatic" and "responsible", none adjectives that describe this president and most of his kakistocracy.

  119. Safe article, Maureen. Blame it on Trump. No doubt he is a buffoon. But what this crisis is about to reveal is what you get with a for-profit health care system. We should have had health care for all, as FDR envisioned, decades before Sanders started pushing for it. We are in a crisis that needs Franklin Roosevelt. We have Donald Trump. God help us.

  120. The most appalling thing of all is that one of our major political parties will re run this absolute failure of a president, let alone man, for president. What has happened to our judgement and morals as a nation. Trump belongs behind bars not the desk in the oval office.

  121. And while Trump denies responsibility his legions of supporters are twisting themselves into Gordian Knots to let him off the hook. Blaming "fake news" for national hysteria and putting the economy at risk to "get Trump." Another of the favorites of the Trump faithful is to compare deaths related to COVID 19 to season flu. When they do this I have enjoyed watching their faces when I tell them that according to the CDC between 35 and 50 million Americans catch the flue bug ever year. And that if the COVID 19 virus becomes as wide spread as the flu, between 350,000 and 1,000,000 people in this country will die. They usually change the subject.

  122. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are worried that by the time Lindsey Graham returns from two weeks of self-imposed quarantine, he'll have watched "Call Me By Your Name" four score and seven times.

  123. Doubtful that people who have to kiss up to Trump will be able to do their best job.

  124. In the midst of Trump's viral incompetence, I read another story in The Times this morning about how he is being seen as a voice of calm and strength by some of his supporters. I guess there's no vaccine for ignorance.

  125. Your sense of timing and circumstances in 'nailing' Trump's obtuseness couldn't be better. When, and if, he reads your column, I doubt he'll take a hint it's his 'virtuous beautiful and tremendous ego' you are taking about. But in all fairness, he is a true narcissist, hence, impossibly hard to embrace reality as is...without distorting it to his ever growing need for applause; and unable to show empathy but to himself, especially when a question seems 'nasty' to him, especially when his own responsibility is in question. So, I keep questioning the reason we are in this disarray, the coronavirus crisis notwithstanding: why in the world did we elect Trump, knowing how unelectable he was...other than his utmost shrewdness as a lying demagogue?

  126. If trump could have his way he would fire the virus and replace it with an acting virus.

  127. The absolutely worst new of the day, maybe the decade, trump tests negative for Coronavirus!

  128. And if Trump wins re-election, this nation has an even worse pathology than coronavirus.

  129. “No I don’t take any responsibility at all,” Trump said, when asked about the egregious lag in testing.” Real leaders take responsibility when errors are made on their watch, but Trump only juts out his chin and blames others. It takes a big man to say “the buck stops here,” but as we all know by now - Donald Trump is a “tiny, tiny, tiny little man.”

  130. Despite the many comments here, this essay seems really out of joint with reality. I usually don't read Ms Dowd's essay, precisely because, when I have read them, her opinions never resonated as true to me. This one, though, is beyond the others. It seems really odd and removed from reality.

  131. Regarding Trump's health checkup: we have learned that we can't believe anything Trump says, why should we believe his doctor?

  132. Trump has flown by the seat of his pants from the moment he was sworn in and it's finally caught up with him. Not only does he not care about Covid 19 because it hasn't infected him, he also wants it to go away quickly because his sole concern is that it's jeopardizing his chances of reelection. Leadership is defined by being properly informed and depending on experts to address a crisis, not by proclaiming to be an expert and gainsaying the words of people who know what they're doing.

  133. The problem is that he is in no way a leader. It is just Donald J Trump all the time.

  134. “ Trump is only interested in spinning public appearances to create the impression that he’s in charge. As always, such forums offer a fantastic floor to show just how low Mike Pence will limbo.” True.But the press is aiding and abetting all this by asking questions that allow Pence and Trump to add footnotes to their spin and to never address critical errors that have allowed the epidemic to get out of control. For instance, in today’s task force briefing, the Surgeon General demanded that the press not bring up the past, and not write critical stories or point fingers, and not a single reporter challenged him. Not a single reporter pointed out that just yesterday Trump was pointing fingers at the Obama administration and callling a reporter’s question nasty. Not a single reporter pointed out that at every opportunity Pence turns briefings into political advertisements for his dear leader. This has been less and less a democracy since Trump’s election, but the press is helping Trump turn America into a MAGA hat.

  135. "I don't take responsibility at all' This is grounds for another impeachment.

  136. Only Anthony Fauci gave the event any legitimacy by confirming that at last something appropriate is being done. The only human-sounding voice Trump can ever muster spews hatred and insults, hence his wooden monotone when scripted--in sharp contrast with Fauci & all the others (including even our shameless VP). Let's hope this belated response prevents the death toll from spirialing out of hand--though I'm not optimistic. Fauci for President!

  137. Let's add a few words to that GOP mantra: " Government is the enemy---Elect Republicans and they'll prove it."

  138. I’ll believe it when I see it in November until then I don’t know bc he’s gotten away with everything else.