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Washington Governor Jay Inslee appeared on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show last night to discuss the state’s ongoing response to coronavirus. He embodies the kind of leadership needed to navigate the outbreak of the coronavirus: let’s pull together, we need to listen to the scientists, my job is to communicate clearly, and let’s make sure everyone, no matter their background or birthplace, is included in the effort.
A normal president would embrace and lift up Inslee’s leadership. But the graceless Trump called Inslee names: “I told Mike [Pence] not to be complimentary (sic) to the governor because that governor is a snake. I said, ‘If you’re nice to him, he will take advantage.'”
Inslee’s response? “I really don’t care too much what Donald Trump thinks of me, and we just kind of ignore that. It’s background noise because we really do need to work together, Republicans and Democrats. This is a national crisis…We’re focussing on people’s health, not on political games right now.”
Attacking Democratic governors who are stepping up and leading the way isn’t working so well at controlling the spread of a virus. So, what do Trump and his GOP allies do when they want to deflect responsibility for their own misconduct and mismanagement? They point the finger at immigrants. They gin up fear of “the other.” They divide to distract. For the past week, we’ve been pointing out that Trump and his political allies are “going there.” Now it’s escalating. Yesterday alone:
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Inslee is right. We need to pull together and meet this with a can-do American attitude anchored in E Pluribus Unum — Out of Many, One. Not surprisingly, Trump and his allies are more interested in dividing and distracting us by pointing the finger at immigrants and foreigners.
Trump sees the world through a zero sum, ‘us vs them’ lens. This is not only dangerous for our public health and our democracy, it’s fundamentally un-American. At our best, we are a nation striving to bring people together regardless of their race, creed, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference and class so we can rise to momentous challenges. But Trump and his allies don’t care about the American experiment. They are uninterested in realizing the promise of our multiracial democracy. They care about maintaining their power and privilege, even if it means ripping our society apart and scapegoating the vulnerable.
Let us work towards a new day, a new President and a new opportunity to advance the project of building a nation that includes, protects and empowers one and all. Our survival as a nation and a people may well depend on it.