As the coronavirus spiralled out of control, America was warned it would either be like Pearl Harbor or “a light at the end of the tunnel” – depending on who voters listened to.
On one side, the world’s leading experts. On the other… a man who has told more than 22,000 lies in office.
While America’s top doctors said a face mask could save lives, cheerleader-in-chief Donald Trump said it was optional and not fit for a president.
He promoted the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a miracle cure, even as his clinical advisors said it was unproven.
For Trump, Covid-19 was the gift that kept on giving.
He had never had so much air-time to self-promote. He was like a kid in a candy store.
But instead of giving clear direction in the hope of saving thousands of lives, the US leader boasted about TV ratings and being No1 on Facebook (another lie).
And he leapt from tone-deafness to complete moral deprivation. “I want to come way under the models,” he said of the infection projections.
“The professionals did the models.
“I was never involved in a model. At least this kind of model.”
Why let 200,000 deaths get in the way of a bit of X-rated humour?
He also repeatedly mocked those, including rival Joe Biden, who wore a mask. The briefings gave slippery salesman Trump an opportunity he could not pass up.
As millions continued to be put at risk through his falsehoods, he bragged about his performance.
But now he too, after listening to his own advice and not his experts, has become a statistic – another of the 7.36 million Americans infected under his watch.
Covid-19 is a crisis he can’t joke or cheer his way out of. Trump’s political future now lies in intensive care on a ventilator.
America needed a President who could act quickly and effectively.
Instead, Trump has been epically outmatched by a germ.
Trump, the cheerleader? Now, more than ever, America needs a quarterback. And not one lying in a hospital bed.