[Ed. – Shorter David Remnick: Trump is a failure because he isn’t a Democrat and refused to be schooled by the abject failure who was his predecessor (as though any sane human wouldn’t do the same). By the way, the title wins the ‘cut as hell’ award.]
The pandemic is an event in the natural history of our species, but it is also a political episode. Its trajectory is shaped by policy measures specific to particular governments. The fact that the United States is experiencing tremendous losses — that it has far more covid-19 cases than any other country in the world — relates to a number of collective risk factors and preëxisting conditions. The most notable one is to be found in the Oval Office.
“This is not the apocalypse,” President Barack Obama assured his shell-shocked staff members the morning after Donald Trump’s election. When, the next day, Obama received Trump at the White House and tried to relay information about a range of issues — the threat from North Korea, the Iran nuclear deal, immigration, health care — he got nowhere.