Wineke: Trump alone can fix it

Donald Trump

MADISON, Wis. — President Trump campaigned for office by crowing that this nation has many problems and that he, “alone, can fix it.”

Now the nation has an overwhelming problem – a shortage of medical supplies for the men and women who are treating patients with coronavirus – that Trump alone can fix and he won’t.

Instead, the president keeps telling governors to seek supplies on their own, which means they are all fighting over the dwindling supply of ventilators, gowns, gloves and protective masks. The companies that produce said supplies are, not surprisingly, tending to look favorably at the highest bidders.

Even worse, there are companies that could ramp up production, are reluctant to do so because they haven’t been assured they can be paid.

If there were ever a time for the federal government to step in, establish priorities and speed supplies to areas of greatest need, this would seem to be it.

The president has the power to act. A few days ago, to much fanfare, he crowed that he was going to act – and, then, he didn’t act.

Instead, he goes on television every night, complains that he is receiving insufficient credit for his magnificent leadership and announces accomplishments that turn out to be untrue.

To wit: our churches are not going to be packed with parishioners on Easter Sunday. President Trump can say anything he wants, but our churches won’t be packed; they won’t even be open.

I am pastor of a smallish congregation in Rock County (most of my parishioners live in Green County). Even if I were to open my doors, most of my people would stay home because they are not stupid. Many of them (like me) are elderly. Many have compromised health to begin with. They will come back to church when it is safe to do so.

To wit: At the beginning of this crisis the president announced that millions of virus test kits were being distributed and that “anyone who wants one” can get one.

If so, why are people standing in line for hours waiting to be tested?

The politician who seems to be gaining heroic status these days is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who also goes on television every day, but who gains trust by explaining the scope of the problem and the methods by which his state’s health care workers are attempting to meet it.

But many governors are also taking heroic steps, even though those steps may not be popular – Wisconsin’s golfers are not happy about seeing their courses shut down, nor will they be happy if, as seems likely, many of them will never reopen.

If these steps are productive, we will never know whether they were all needed. That will be a small price to pay.