KT edit: For Trump, it is all about show of strength

Those who were hoping that Trump's illness would make him a little more empathetic are in for disappointment.

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Published: Sun 11 Oct 2020, 6:33 AM

Last updated: Sun 11 Oct 2020, 8:35 AM

Equating recovery with strength is a folly when talking about SARS-CoV-2 virus that has invaded our lives and is showing no signs of abating. Over a million people have lost their lives to this virus, and millions who have officially recovered are still learning to cope with the aftereffects on their physical and mental health. Contracting Covid-19 and recovering is not a battle. Yet, US President Donald Trump has been describing this as one. Metaphors have downsides, we are learning. With less than a month for the presidential elections, there is an urgency to prove recovery, campaign for the polls, and meet more people to show that Trump is a fighter, when his show of strength has been more about his privileges than mettle. On the contrary, the sheer recklessness has allowed the virus to spread in the White House. More than 20 people have been infected and yet the administration is doing little to prevent or contain the spread. With more than 7.8 million infected in the US, and over 200,000 deaths, Americans are unable to find a role model in their president. This is no time to heap praise by calling Trump strong. Come to think of it, it simply sends a wrong message.
There is a stark contrast between Trump and leaders who have shown more responsible behaviour. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, for instance, has set the right example since the beginning of the pandemic. During the European Summit in Brussels, Merkel backed away from Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte citing social distancing norms. Instead of a handshake, the two leaders greeted each other by joining hands in the form of namaste. Merkel had also stayed in quarantine for two weeks in April after knowing she was in contact with a Covid-19 patient. Trump, on the contrary, has been tested positive but remains defiant to the rules of social distancing and importance of wearing masks. Trump seems to ape his fellow strongman, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro who too first dismissed the virus as a sniffle, but then benefitted politically after contracting the virus and recovering from it. Trump's maskless presence in the White House put his staff at unnecessary risk. And now as he plans to restart his large-scale rallies in swing states from Monday, it would not be a show of strength as he is making it sound like, but an act of imprudence that might put a lot more people at risk. The ones who have died of coronavirus were not weak. Those who were hoping that Trump's illness would make him a little more empathetic and allow him to show more prudence are in for disappointment. For Trump, it is all about winning and showing off a strong image, no matter what the cost.

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