He Turns To His Go-To Maneuver of Blaming “the Other” to Distract from his Failures
The following is a statement from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Last night, President Trump delivered a rare Oval Office address at a moment of national crisis. Instead of providing leadership, clarity and realism, he offered up a morally bankrupt and politicized address that was no match for the moment. At a time when the virus is spreading like wildfire in America and there is an urgent need for ramped-up testing and widespread mitigation strategies right here at home, Trump talked of a ‘foreign virus’ and portrayed the culprits as China and Europe.
This is Trump’s go-to move. It’s called ‘divide and distract.’ He pits his in-group — ‘us’ — against the out-group — the threatening ‘other.’ He does this to stir up his white grievance voters and distract from his own weaknesses. Remember the 2018 midterms? He didn’t want to talk about the GOP assault on health care coverage that included protections for pre-existing conditions — an issue that was hurting Republican candidates across the country — so he incited racial resentment and base turnout by railing about caravans and criminals.
It didn’t work then, and it won’t work now.
As Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin remarked as she reviewed last night’s speech, ‘He is lost. He cannot deport a virus.’ Dan Pfeiffer, co-host of Pod Save America and former Senior Advisor to President Obama, added, ‘When you’re a bigot, everything is an immigration problem.’ Gérard Araud, the former French Ambassador to the United States said in response to Trump’s widely-panned Oval Office address, ‘Trump needed a narrative to exonerate his administration from any responsibility in the crisis. The foreigner is always a good scapegoat. The Chinese has already been used.’
As the coronavirus crisis envelopes his Presidency, Trump’s xenophobia has gone global. He pretends that the bold action needed is to keep Chinese and Europeans from entering the country so that he can deflect and distract from his administration’s mismanagement and culpability. It’s not only divisive, cynical and predictable, it’s a strategy that likely will cost many American lives.