Kevin McCauley
Kevin McCauley

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says a global effort is needed to defeat the coronavirus pandemic. "Every nation has a responsibility to share all of their data, all of their information in as timely and accurate a fashion as they have the ability to do not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because that’s how you save lives for your own people as well," he said during a March 17 press briefing.

Donald Trump, who is undergoing a remarkable transformation from downplaying COVID-19 as something that will mysteriously disappear when the weather warms to a self-proclaimed wartime president, undermines Pompeo's call to global action by stubbornly referring to the pandemic as the "Chinese virus," a racist characterization that infuriates the Beijing government and poses a threat to the Chinese-American community.

Trump says he calls COVID-19 "the Chinese virus" because the sickness originated in Wuhan. The Chinese government, for its part, did not cover itself with glory in the early stages of the outbreak, denying the seriousness of the pandemic and then devising an over-the-top propaganda campaign portraying the heroic response of patriotic medical workers combatting the disease.

The US president's initial slow response to the outbreak mimicked that of China's government. After banning travel from China, Trump wasted more than a month, viewing coronavirus as more of a PR problem than a public emergency.

The "Chinese virus" description is just the latest effort by Trump to shift blame for his failed leadership. He would rather see outrage over his use of "Chinese virus" than blowback over the lag in testing for COVID-19, which is why the nation is in the midst of a healthcare crisis.

A wartime president would understand that Chinese scientists have the most experience in fighting coronavirus. Beijing now reports no new cases of the virus.

A wartime president would reach out to China's government and scientific community, rather than fighting a war of semantics with China.

He wouldn't spout utter nonsense like, "We've done a fantastic job," on the same day that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is warning about the potential of a 20 percent unemployment rate.

The Wall Street Journal editorialized March 18: "Markets are panicked in part because they sense that our political leaders are more panicked than the public is."

Our wartime leader is AWOL.

Italy has now surpassed China as the nation with the most COVID-19 deaths. Is Trump now going to refer to COVID-19 as "the Mafia hitman?"

Russia may be using the COVID-19 to test some of the disinformation tactics that it plans to unleash during the US presidential election.

The European Union reports that pro-Kremlin media are spreading disinformation about coronavirus in a bid to add to the public health crisis, according to the Guardian.

Russian media have profiled COVID-19 as a biological weapon developed by the US, UK and China. They also reported that immigrants are responsible for the pandemic and that US pharmaceutical companies are ready to cash in on the disease.

Trump should tell his pal, Vladimir Putin, to cut it out.