ICYMI: Foot-dragging GOP governors are imperiling the whole country
The Washington Post Editorial Board skewered GOP governors this weekend for dragging their feet on the coronavirus pandemic. The Post did not hold back in criticizing governors like Iowa’s Kim Reynolds and Arkansas’ Asa Hutchinson for rejecting the advice of medical professionals like Dr. Anthony Fauci and refusing to issue stay-at-home orders, the consequences of which “will be measured in body bags.” And let’s not forget that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is so ignorant that he claims he just recently found out that coronavirus is “transmitting before people see signs.”
The editorial points out that these governors have been enabled by the President, whose refusal to lead is an endorsement of complacency. Just look at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis who refused to close the beaches until the President gave his ok, ignoring the advice of public health officials who say Florida hospitals could soon be overwhelmed.
Read more about how GOP governors are endangering everyone’s lives in the scathing editorial below:
The Washington Post Editorial: Foot-dragging GOP governors are imperiling the whole country
President Trump likens the struggle against the pandemic to a war that will yield a colossal toll in human lives, but refuses to urge states uniformly to issue stay-at-home orders. The president’s equivocations have produced an uncoordinated jumble of policy subverted by foot-dragging governors who treat the coronavirus less as a national emergency and more as a political annoyance. They are guilty of an abdication of leadership whose consequences will be measured in body bags.
Messaging is critical in this crisis. By telling people in the strongest terms to stay at home, even with certain exceptions, most governors have conveyed the gravity of the spreading threat; that is likely to save many lives. By failing to do that, and treating a plague as one interest to be balanced among many, other governors treat the peril with a nod and a wink. Their message, sotto voce, is: Let’s not all get our knickers in a twist.
The nod-and-a-wink governors — in the Dakotas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Arkansas and elsewhere — pose as powerless to order a lockdown, or note they have already closed schools, restaurants, gyms and other establishments, but won’t order blanket edicts to individuals. They point at other states’ exceptions that allow people to carry on with essential work, or get groceries and pharmaceuticals. In Missouri, Gov. Mike Parson says staying at home is a matter of “individual responsibilities”; in Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson scoffs there is nothing “magical” about stay-at-home directives; in Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds protests that “I can’t lock everybody in their home.”
Those governors, all Republicans, have been enabled by Mr. Trump, who points to states that don’t yet “have the problem,” and remarks that it’s “awfully tough to say, ‘Close it down.’ ” He favors flexibility and is seconded by Vice President Pence, who says the federal government “will defer to state and local health authorities on any measures that they deem appropriate.”
As the White House leads from behind, the effect is to endorse and induce complacency. Faced with a stealthy pathogen that can spread from asymptomatic individuals, or incubate for weeks before a victim falls ill with fever, states are free to delude themselves into thinking the virus has passed them by — until, having bidden its time, it erupts inside their cities and towns. Governors of those states can entertain the illusion of alternative facts, imagining their borders are impermeable. They can, like Georgia’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, resist a stay-at-home order for weeks until discovering just this week — surprise! — that the virus is “transmitting before people see signs.”
Their magical thinking endangers the nation. It gives people license to minimize the threat — a threat the White House says could kill up to 240,000 people even with effective social distancing. It allows state-to-state gaps in the firewall that will likely encourage a raging disease to erupt in a series of rolling blazes across the country. As many states get tough, even deploying the police to encourage people to stay indoors, their odds of impeding the pandemic’s path of destruction are undercut by their neighbors’ selfishness.