“We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans by opening Texas 100 percent. Make no mistake, COVID-19 has not disappeared, but it is clear from the recoveries, vaccinations, reduced hospitalizations, and safe practices that Texans are using, that state mandates are no longer needed”

Gov. Greg Abbott

Medical experts are united against opening up the economy too soon, as Abbott has done. But his actions were no surprise, given his support of the former President.  

It’s common knowledge that Trump and the right-wingers like Abbott surrounding him made a pure unadulterated mess of America’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, preferring to blame everyone else but themselves. Gov. Abbott and Trump are close for a reason. They both share the same way of dealing with the COVID crisis. Deny it’s a big problem and repeatedly say we are “turning the corner.” 

A wheeler-dealer real estate developer, Trump doesn’t believe in strategic planning, just win or lose transactions. Because he dismantled the NSA’s Pandemic Planning Unit in 2018, he had absolutely no plan to fight the epidemic (https://apnews.com/article/ce014d94b64e98b7203b873e56f80e9a). Other than to throw billions of our tax dollars at private pharmaceutical companies in order to get a vaccine. And then hope it would be developed before the 11-4-20 election.  

Since his concern was only for himself and his election prospects, he never bothered to have anyone draw up plans for distribution of the vaccine or determine exactly how it would end up as shots in citizen’s arms. He simply didn’t care, and he openly showed it.  

Before he left office there were nearly 500,000 dead. That’s the biggest reason that Trump is no longer our authoritarian-in -chief.  

But the reactive pandemic actions of Trump and his supporters like Abbott were predictable well in advance. The American Way Spring 2020 newsletter contained an article, “Tactics from the Right-Wing Playbook on COVID-19”, which one year ago accurately forecast their five actions. I have expanded and commented on each one below: 

  1. “Dismissing and downplaying the threat”- Clearly, Trump’s constant refrain of “we are turning the corner” and “it will be gone soon” fall into this category. And Abbott’s recent action plays this same song. 
  2. “Distracting Americans with conspiracy theories and finger pointing”- Once again, Trump’s efforts to label COVID-19 as the “China Virus” and blaming Democrats for creating a “hoax” are now clearly discredited. So is his strategy of taking absolutely no responsibility for fighting the virus on the Federal level, all the while saying that the Governors and states (especially the Blue ones) were failing in their efforts at containment. Trump also blamed immigrants on the Southern border for carrying the virus into the US, although he provided no evidence. He slammed the World Health Organization, withdrawing US financial support at a time when it was most needed to control the spread of the virus internationally. 
  3. “Pushing the team Trump line, whatever it is”- American Way accurately predicted that Trump would erratically sway from one position to yet another in 2020, depending on what would help him that day. And that his followers would act like sheep, defending and following him without question. 
  4. “Making the most of it/shameless opportunism”- Again, American Way hit the nail on the head. Trump spouted out “bleach” cures for the virus, as well as many other outrageous ideas. He dominated the TV airwaves with daily press conferences during which he rambled on and delivered constant misinformation, clearly embarrassing his own scientific experts whom he repeatedly contradicted.  
  5. “Playing God and portraying Trump’s actions as part of a divine plan”- Trump stated only he could protect us from the pandemic, pushing a clearly authoritarian line. His evangelical followers blamed the sins of “left-wing radicals” (i.e., abortion, LBGTQ rights, BLM, socialism, and so on) for the pandemic reigning down upon us from the heavens above. The QAnon folks still believe that he is a savior, sent by God to slay the non-believers and cannibalistic pedophiles running our government. 

Unfortunately, over 70 million Americans believed Trump’s non-sense and voted for him. And, with the blind support of the GOP state establishment, Texas was the largest state he won. 

Thousands, including active police and military members, attempted to storm the Capital and overthrow our government for him. The traditional GOP is no more. It’s now the ReTrumpican Party. I suspect it will stay that way until Trump departs from this earth. 

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Jack Bernard

Jack Bernard

Jack A Bernard is a retired SVP with a national healthcare corporation. He was Chair of the Jasper County, Ga Board of Commissioners and Republican Party. He was also on the Board of Health for Jasper County and is currently on the Fayette County BOH. Bernard has over 100 columns published annually, primarily in the South.