Truth in the eye of a storm

B. Jay Cooper
5 min readMar 20, 2020

It’s tradition that when in the midst of a crisis — war, famine, pandemic — one holds back on any criticism of the President to allow good vibes and for him to lead us out of the problem.

President Trump doesn’t observe such traditions — as he points fingers at the “Chinese virus,” as he repeatedly exaggerates and lies during briefings which are supposed to help calm the populace.

He actually squandered the right to a “criticism recess,” during his first three and a half years as President. That’s when a President is supposed to be earning credibility so he has it — just for this purpose! We need to believe someone and the President should be that someone. We are not facing a political issue. We are in the middle of a pandemic.

The brief respite, at Monday’s news briefing, threw everyone off their seats as he appeared to be the calm, responsive President we all need in this time of anxiety, uncertainty and fear.

That lasted a day.

He is back to exaggerating, lying and more. And he adds to the anxiety we all are feeling. You may have noticed that the last few days neither Anthony Fauci, the world’s leading expert on infectious diseases, and the head of the Center for Disease Control have been absent from the daily briefings.

Why have they been missing? I don’t know but I think a possibility is that they know they’d have to, in real time, correct the President and the President doesn’t like being corrected. So he excluded them. I am totally guessing on that. Or as the President would say, “That’s why they haven’t been here and then again, maybe not.”

Yesterday Trump glowingly announced a new drug was developed and approved at record speed by the Federal Food and Drug Administration(FDA) that could significantly help us face down this pandemic. The truth? The opposite, which was diplomatically explained literally a minute later, when the FDA head talked right after the president and explained the drug at issue was developed and is in use for another disease (malaria) but seems to be able to help coronavirus victims. So, despite the president saying it was available by prescription, it isn’t for coronavirus because it’s still being tested for that use to make sure it doesn’t do more harm than good. That’s what the FDA does, makes sure drugs are safe and do good, not harm.

Repeat: The President of the United States proclaimed a new drug had been approved by the FDA that…

B. Jay Cooper

Former deputy White House press secretary (Reagan and Bush 41) and former head of communications at Republican Natl Committee. My blog: