Many people must have had a difficult time suppressing their natural instinct to be less than sympathetic, when news emerged of US President Donald Trump’s positive test for the dreaded COVID-19 virus.
It must have been particularly difficult for his political opponents and members of the scientific and medical community, as the president has consistently trivialized the severity of the pandemic while second-guessing, if not openly contradicting scientific and medical advice on the most efficacious ways of minimizing the risk of contracting COVID-19.
Mr. Trump’s words and actions have motivated millions of Americans to ignore warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), and have arguably contributed, in no small way, to the USA leading the world in number of deaths and infections from the novel coronavirus.
No other leader has done more harm to efforts to control the pandemic, although Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil is a strong contender for the dishonor.
Now that Mr. Trump has realized COVID-19 is not a ‘little flu’ that will miraculously disappear, it is hoped that both he and his wife make a full recovery and suffer no long term effects from the virus.
It is hoped the president will return with the evangelistic zeal of the Apostle Paul, to spread the good news of wearing of masks, physical distancing and frequent hand washing or sanitising as the main defence against COVID-19.
It is hoped he will support the efforts of the scientific and medical community or, at least, refrain from undermining their efforts with unrealistic announcements of when a vaccine is likely to become available.
The prevailing conditions in the USA, with the nation reeling from the effects of the pandemic, racial tensions (Black Lives Matter protests), an economic downturn and political polarization, demand sober and mature leadership.
It is definitely not the time for a divisive, braggadocio and conspiracy theory oriented leadership.
It is definitely not the time for an ‘Apprentice’ president.
I wish President Trump a speedy recovery if only for his unconventional and unorthodox approach to politics and the amusement it sometimes provide.
Hail to the chief!