Misguidance during times of crisis

Trump's series of liberate states tweets, an image from dailykos.com

Daily Kos

Trump’s series of liberate states tweets, an image from dailykos.com

To slow the spread of COVID-19, the CDC strongly urges social distancing, meaning that people should stay at least 6 feet apart, avoid group gatherings, and stay out of crowded places. On April 15th, thousands of people defied the CDC’s guidelines and gathered in close-knit crowds in Colorado, Michigan, and other states to protest social distancing restrictions. Some of the protesters were armed, others held Trump signs, along with American and confederate flags. One protestor held a sign with a swastika and the words “Heil Witmer,” directly attacking Michigan’s governor with an offensive symbol of hatred.

On April 17th, two days later, Donald Trump responded to the mass gatherings and rallies in a series of tweets advocating for the “liberation” of states with protests occurring, such as Michigan. Rather than address the unsafety that gathering in mass groups holds for spreading the virus, the president posted tweets encouraging not only these recent protests but jabbing at the Democratic governors running these states. Intentional or not, Trump is suggesting a further division between these already tense political parties, which is not what is not necessary from a leader. during times of crisis

That same day, Trump was asked by a reporter in a press conference if he was concerned that people coming out in protests would spread COVID-19. Trump answered with, “they seem to be very responsible to me”.

It is a constitutional right to hold peaceful protests\; however, over 41,000 people and counting have died in the United States due to COVID-19. Gathering in mass groups holds high risks for the potential spread of this virus, especially in Michigan, the state with the third-highest number of deaths in the United States.

The policy enacted by the White House dictates that states can reopen after 14 days of declining cases. Donald Trump’s response to encouraging these mass gatherings is highly contradictory to his own policy urging social distancing. Larry Hogan, the Republican governor of Maryland, agrees that Trump’s statements are misleading.

“To encourage people to go protest the plan [the 14-day policy] that you just made, it just doesn’t make any sense. We’re sending completely conflicting messages out to the governors and to the people as if we should ignore federal policy and federal recommendations,” Hogan said in an interview with CNN news.

This is one of many of Trump’s responses about coronavirus that is misguiding. On March 6th at a press conference at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Donald Trump stated, “Anyone who wants a test can get a test”. According to health and services secretary, Mr.Azar, in The New York Times, “You may not get a test unless a doctor or public health official prescribes [it].”

Proper guidance and leadership are vital when steering people down the right path. Donald Trump’s contradictory statements are creating confusion and leading people down unsafe paths of spreading and getting the virus. In situations of crisis, it is up to those in positions of leadership to communicate in a clear and concise way to keep people safe.

According to author and former presidential speechwriter, James Humes, “The art of communication is the language of leadership.”