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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the press about the coronavirus, at the White House President Donald Trump speaks on the coronavirus pandemic at the White House in Washington, March 24, 2020 (AP photo by Alex Brandon).

Trump Is Playacting at Leadership as the Coronavirus Surges in the U.S.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

With the rapid growth of coronavirus infections in recent days, and likely for the foreseeable future, the United States finds itself in a grave predicament entirely of its own making. No amount of finger-pointing toward China about its lack of transparency early in the outbreak, or the time lost before Beijing finally alerted others about the nature of its epidemic—although both true—can change this harsh reality.

The country that seldom tires of reminding others that it is the richest and most powerful nation in the world has completely squandered whatever lead time it had before the virus took firm hold in places like Seattle and New York. But there is worse to come, as President Donald Trump has adopted a fugue state approach to policymaking, shifting daily from denial of any crisis, to predicting a miraculous disappearance of COVID-19, to adopting the mien of a “wartime president.” Along the way, he has also mimicked the decision-making habits of the authoritarian leaders he so envies, or at least his image of how they rule, going with gut judgments and boasting about his wisdom. ...

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