The fight against the Corona virus is also a fight against Donald Trump. It is time to put away the silk gloves and put on the boxing gloves in our relationship to the American president. We can no longer leave this responsibility only in the hands of American voters.
Norway must, along with the rest of Europe, make it clear that we cannot live with Donald Trump as US president for four more years. The American president even manages to make matters worse during an international state of emergency situation because of the corona virus.
It is no longer only about national elections in the USA. It is about an entire world that has to take responsibility to remove from power a president who represents a danger to international society.
We must be clear
We neither can, nor should interfere with elections. However, we can be clear in our message that the leader of the world’s most powerful country is unfit to be president.
Because if we had not understood it before, we should realize now. While the whole world is fighting a desperate fight to stop the corona virus, Donald Trump reduced the risk of the virus to a personal attack on him.
“A democratic hoax” is what he called the corona concern, while managing yet again – or at least trying – to turn a crisis situation into a personal election campaign.
With that being his understanding of the challenges that the world is facing, the fight against the corona virus takes a powerful backlash.
It is no longer only about national elections in the USA
Just the other day, he brought up again his promise about a wall against Mexico. This time as a virus initiative. When the Bank of America stimulates the fiscal policy in a crisis situation, Trump reads this as a personal victory over the bank’s interest policy. Another election campaign victory, that is, for the absurd president.
His very own logic
A president who also considers himself particularly well-suited to stop the virus because he has an uncle who has worked at the MIT, a reputed American institute. The fact that his uncle was an electric engineer, nothing resembling an infection expert, does apparently not matter.
No logical connection, in other words, neither genetically nor professionally. Yet nevertheless this is a potential construct in the head of Donald Trump.
But that is the only place where one finds this logic, in the head of Donald Trump. The problem for the rest of us is that this head is what governs the USA.
Seeing how NATO is at the beck and call of Donald Trump’s security whims has been disheartening. While Donald Trump continues organizing giant public meetings to win the election, the Cold Response military exercise wraps it up in Northern Norway in order to avoid spreading infection.
It has also been discouraging to watch how European business interests have to adjust their international trade according to Trump’s every whim. Even now, when the American administration tells us that closing borders for virus reasons will strengthen American business.
Not our fault
A virus suited to stimulate American business, no less. Too bad the world’s stock exchanges do not buy into that analysis. Instead, traders line up to seek a solution out of the current troubles. Even the emergency exits are closed, while Donald Trump insists that everything is under control.
“Besides”, he adds, “this virus is no fault of ours. We are making a tremendous effort against the virus.”
And last night he added insult to injury with the introduction of a travel ban for travelers from Europe, because the virus is foreign, as he says. Yet not so foreign that he will not let the Brits into the country. Boris Johnson is an ally. It is still not about infection protection. It is about political populism.
That is the only place where one finds this logic, in the head of Donald Trump.
“Grand” is the term for a political regime that has rid itself of a health care reform that would have enabled average Americans to be tested for the virus. The fewer people who can afford to get tested, the fewer people will be infected - with the Trumpian logic. And in the same way, the health care system’s lack of preparedness contributes to keeping the number of confirmed infections down. Just like wetting your pants helps you get warm. Initially.
Nor do I forget his attempt at torpedoing Arctic cooperation through the Arctic Council, cooperation that may prove very valuable when the virus is to be contained.
Wedge him out
The question about who is elected president of the USA is no longer just an American issue. We must be clear that Donald Trump represents a threat to health and safety, in addition to his being a democratic problem.
We can no longer let our own security and trade policy dependence on the USA limit our freedom of speech.
I have seen how Norwegian foreign policy politicians cringe when asked about American foreign and security policy.
Now that we are facing an American president who fully believes that the Corona virus is a political hoax staged by the Democrats to wedge him out of the Oval Office, a completely different national and international approach to the problem of Donald Trump is required.
He definitely needs to be wedged out of the Oval Office and we all carry a responsibility to help our American friends.
This op-ed was originally published in Norwegian and has been translated by HNN's Elisabeth Bergquist.