On Friday, Donald Trump was slated to make a visit to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia. But at the last minute, Trump cancelled the visit, with the White House stating that Trump did “not want to interfere with the CDC's mission to protect the health and welfare of their people and the agency.”
But shortly after that statement, Trump provided a different reason for why he wouldn’t be making even a token gesture at leadership by visiting the people who are engaged in a desperate struggle to save hundreds of thousands of Americans. Asked about the abrupt cancellation, Trump said, “There was a problem with CDC with somebody who had the virus.” That suspected case has since tested negative, so Trump allows, “I may be going.”
But he will definitely be heading for Mar-a-Lago for a few rounds of golf while the nation faces confusion and crisis.
After widespread criticism, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham says Trump’s CDC visit is on again. Or at least .. “probably” on.
There will "probably be a tour," said Grisham. She also confirmed that the reason for cancelling came over concern that someone at the CDC might be infected with coronavirus, so Trump cancelled “out of an abundance of caution.” The possible tour is now happening only because that “person tested negative.”
Forty-one years ago this month, the nuclear power plant at Three Mile Island, near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, suffered an accident that led to a partial meltdown of the reactor’s core. In the midst of the crisis, while engineers worried that there was still a potential hydrogen bubble beneath the plant that could result in an explosion that would carry radiation around the globe, President Jimmy Carter arrived on the scene. Carter participated in an inspection of the facility, including donning protective gear to visit hazardous areas. Afterward, he addressed the nation from the site, calming the fears of those in the area, across the nation, and around the world.
That was then. That was when America still had leaders.
But Donald Trump refused to visit CDC headquarters because one person at the CDC was displaying possible symptoms of a disease that has already spread to hundreds of Americans—a disease that is circulating in communities across the nation, one that has already draped the nation in fear and uncertainty. A disease that could cost far more lives than Three Mile Island would have taken had the worst scenarios come to pass.
That suspected case at the CDC has since tested negative. So Trump has provided the nation with a message that’s as clear as every other guidance given in this crisis: "I may be going," said Trump. And … maybe not. On the other hand, Trump very much is headed for Mar-a-Lago for a weekend of relaxing and golf.
But then, Trump is only following his own advice. In his “town hall” visit with Fox News yesterday, Trump delivered a nugget of Good News for American business buried beneath all the coronavirus fears. According to Trump, fear of international travel is just like … a wall in the sky. "I have to say,” said Trump, “people are now staying in the United States, spending their money in the US—and I like that."
Trump clearly believes that places like Mar-a-Lago will remain virus-free, no matter what. After all … it’s not like wealthy people can catch this virus.