I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. I want to believe he is cognitively clear and capable. I want to have confidence in him and his ability to lead. I don’t want to second guess him. I don’t want to cringe when he opens his mouth. I don’t want to feel as though this country has been hung out to dry by a man who can’t admit he is in way over his head (he has no inkling he is floundering). Of course, I’m referring to President Donald Trump.
As you have probably heard, yesterday, our President retweeted a video (originally posted and subsequently removed by Twitter and Facebook) that falsely stated hydroxychloroquine can cure Covid-19, a claim in direct opposition to the FDA’s conclusion that administering hydroxychloroquine to Covid-19 hospitalized patients neither speeds recovery nor decreases the likelihood of death. At yesterday’s White House press briefing, President Trump praised the doctor featured in the questionable video. “I can tell you this,” he said, “she was on air, along with many other doctors. They were big fans of hydroxychloroquine, and I thought she was very impressive...I don’t know which country she comes from, but she said that she’s had tremendous success with hundreds of different patients. And I thought her voice was an important voice, but I know nothing about her.” The key takeaway here, “I know nothing about her,” is a shocking admission of ignorance.
Who is this “important voice” lauded by President Trump? She is Dr. Stella Immanuel, self-described “physician, author, speaker, entrepreneur, deliverance minister, God’s battle axe and weapon of war.” Dr. Immanuel studied medicine at the University of Calabar in southeastern Nigeria, worked as a pediatrician in Louisiana, is licensed in Texas, Louisiana and Kentucky, and has been a physician at the Rehoboth Medical Center in Texas since October, 2019. Her medical credentials are solid; however, Dr. Immanuel holds some rather unconventional beliefs, which, if Donald Trump had taken the time to know his source, should have warned of forthcoming controversy.
Dr. Stella Immanuel, her reputation, practice, or religion, is not the issue here, nor is the viability of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for Covid-19. The gullibility and moral culpability of a president who freely presents hearsay to the American people during a dangerous pandemic is the issue and an increasingly pressing concern.
Our President should be knowledgeable. Armed with facts and the support of medical experts, he should confidently address the American people without referring to a prepared script or retweeting unvetted posts. He should KNOW what he’s saying. Our President should attend briefings, completely read reports, rely on better sources than Twitter or Facebook. Our President should listen to both sides of every issue and not hear only what he wants to hear. And the President of the United States should never say, “I know nothing.”
In most cases, a tweet is an insignificant social media post. However, President Trump’s tweets are a window into his mindset. Reposting misleading information, as he did yesterday, from a doctor he admittedly knew nothing about proves President Trump is unreliable and easily led. The more he talks, and the more he tweets, the more we see how little Donald Trump knows, and how little his own ignorance and shortcomings concern him.
I wish I could support the president. I truly do. But oddities like yesterday’s presidential tweet make that impossible.