It turns out that President Trump is not only the consummate reality showman, but a man of action as well.
And not in a good way.
Trump says he was moved to propose his recent executive order to break the logjam between Democrats and Republicans negotiating efforts to continue financial support to Americans hurt by the fiscal fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. He took action all right, but in deferring the payroll tax — just one of many missteps in the order — he set Social Security, and the Americans who depend on it, up for a fall.
Frankly, the best action item for the president, as well as Democrats and Republicans, to take would have been to simply extend the relief plan already in play. By now people would have received the $600 check for the first week of August.
It’s too bad Trump didn’t feel called to “take charge” earlier in the coronavirus pandemic when he dismissed the “Chinese virus” as nothing to worry about and under control. We might not lead the world with cases approaching five million.
Today, as the virus cases spike in more states and people fear a second surge and more lockdowns, not many trust in what seems like a vaccine rushed to bail out Trump on Election Day.
It is no wonder with less than 83 days away from re-election and plummeting numbers in the polls, mostly due to his handling of the virus, Trump seems to be reaching into his reality shnow playbook to pull the plot twist of drafting an executive order, to recast himself as a “large and in charge” hero.
But his “take charge” chops leave much to be desired. Many even question whether he has the legal right to enact many of the initiatives in his order — but that hasn’t stopped him.
Protesters interfering with your Washington photo op? Away they go.
Trouble in Portland? This means war, send in the troops. He is the self-proclaimed war time president, lest we forget. He has long eyed sending troops to Chicago. While the current situation there does need to be brought under control, that’s the province of Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Illinois lawmakers. Not Trump, nor Attorney General William Barr — both of whom are oblivious to the structural racism that exists in the country’s police forces.
The president has one very critical observation right, and it is where everyone’s focus needs to be. Our nation is hurting. The previous $600 weekly unemployment relief payment was a lifeline for so many. Since its inception, unemployment rates and the cost of food and living expenses have soared, thanks to the pandemic. This is not the time to deflate the life raft.
For the coronavirus relief payments to be used as a political football is sad and unconscionable. That $600 barely kept heads above water. Trump’s executive order extends the benefits, but cuts allotments from $600 to $400. In addition to a $600 or more weekly check, how about issuing another $1,200 stimulus payment to American households.
His ride or die followers like the governors of Florida, Texas, Georgia and Arizona — all who opened their states early — are ignoring even the basic protocols like wearing face masks and social distancing. They are now paying a hideous price in lives lost for their misguided actions.
Adding insult to injury, part of the commitment for accepting Trump’s “deal” would be to agree to send your kiddies to school in person. Our Scientist-in-Chief insists that the risk to your children are minimal because children are “almost immune to the coronavirus.” Tell that to the schools in states where the virus is having a field day. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Association, from July 16 to July 30, there was a 40% increase in coronavirus cases in school-age children.
Here’s an action item for you: people are hurting — send the money.
Joyce Ferriabough Bolling is a media and political strategist and communications specialist.