THE President is desperate. It used to be that he could dismiss critics so quickly because he seemed to have a Teflon coating. Traditional media carrying negative stories were easily labeled as part of the “fake media,” their journalists mocked if not threatened. Online he has thousands of trolls at his command, dissing our insults and threats while quick to share their own version of fake news about the Administration’s achievements.
But he didn’t see COVID coming. To be fair, no one did.
The problem for Donald Trump is that 2020 is also an election year. And things are no longer shaping up to be the year that many believed was his easy march to the-election. The Democrats, expected to be fighting to death all the way to the party convention, are now falling behind former Vice President Joseph Biden. The economy, one reaching heights unseen in US history, is now failing to lows unseen in a century of US history. More Americans have filed for jobless benefits in one month that have in the last two years. All of a sudden, due to the novel coronavirus, there is a possibility growing by the day that Donald Trump will be a one-term President.
He needs a fall guy. One to be blamed for COVID-19. And he seems to have found one in the World Health Organization.
All that is happening in America now — the lockdown, the joblessness, the virus spread — all that is the fault of the WHO which was too protective of China to the extent that it didn’t warn the world early enough about the gravity of the threat.
The problem with this excuse is that a number of countries around the world acted early enough as soon as they heard the initial news from China. Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and most specially Germany saw what was happening and began taking decisive action. In contrast, Trump repeatedly dismissed the virus as something that one day would just disappear like magic. He repeatedly boasted that America was very ready, that no other country was as ready. Heck this would be less problematic than the seasonal flu.
Too bad for Trump all these are on record. Try as he might, he cannot erase what is on record. He can – and surely will – tell his supporters that the fake media is lying again. And hang the WHO as the fall guy to explain why America is no longer as great as Trump has been touting it to be.
Back home the situation isn’t that different, except that PRRD is no longer eligible for a second term. But like in the US there is a great murmur on social media asking, if not demanding, for explanations:
Why, despite previous assurances from government that we were prepared, it turns out we weren’t.
Why the President said early on that he would just slap the virus and it would be gone. (But it hasn’t.)
Why the people shouldn’t be hysterical in their reaction to it.
Or why we should worry when we were the “model of containment.”
Now that the Philippines leads ASEAN in number of COVID cases and is also one of those with the lowest number of recoveries, expect the search for a fall guy to begin in the Philippines. Someone to blame. Someone on whose back the Administration can pin a giant “X Marks the Spot” so that all slings and arrows can be diverted his way.
But that won’t be Health Secretary Francisco Duque. He is not qualified to be a fall guy. And I say this for the simple reason that the definition of a “fall guy” is someone who is unfairly blamed because he had nothing to do with the fiasco.
Note that: had nothing to do with the fiasco. Now how can that be Secy Duque? He simply is not blameless. Far from it.
So maybe we don’t need a “fall guy” in the Philippines after all because we have THE guy.