Can't someone please shut the president up? Forget blaming him or praising him — just take the microphone away from him, or at least turn down the volume.
Not only has he dithered while public health experts urged urgency in gearing up to meet the novel coronavirus head-on, now he continues to confuse and mislead an already worry-weary public nearly every time he moves his lips or thumbs. For months he acted as though the coronavirus was a hoax, then he said it would wash away, now he tweets in all caps: "We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself."
We don't think he does this deliberately. We think he simply cannot sort through his own thoughts and inclinations. Never in 100 years would we have expected to feel some sense of relief that Mike Pence is standing at Trump's elbow waiting to take a turn at the podium.
The plain truth is that our president, wittingly or unwittingly, is worsening American's chances of being sickened by COVID-19. And in doing so, he also is worsening our economy.
* Sen. Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, talking Sunday about the country's needed economic stimulus package under consideration, makes a point that our paychecks depend on adequate testing (which we don't yet have): "In the end, the only way to get the American economy moving again is to contain the disease. That will require, as soon as possible, adopting a new goal: Test every American who needs it for COVID-19. Then isolate and care for the few who are sick, and fast-track treatments and a vaccine so that Americans can go back to work and resume our everyday lives," he said.
* The U.S. surgeon general warns of a worsening coronavirus crisis, and still more states tell residents to stay home.
* Just Sunday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee issued a new statewide executive order banning social gatherings of 10 people or more. He also is prohibiting on-site consumption of food or drinks at restaurants, bars or similar establishments. We believe both actions are overdue.
Yet the president, it seems, has grown bored with social distancing and the other steps promoted by health officials.
Sure, the rest of us are frustrated, too. Meanwhile, about 50,000 people in the U.S. are now among the world's 370,000 or so confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Imagine what those numbers would look like if tests were readily available.
Please, Mr. Vice President, step to the podium again.