My Turn: Trump’s irresponsible behavior is putting my family in danger

  • Delaney Nelson is a junior at Nashua High School South.

For the Monitor
Published: 4/26/2020 6:00:08 AM

By happenstance, my family has seen this pandemic up close from the beginning. I’ve felt it on the job at my local supermarket, my mom is clocking exhausting shifts as a nurse, and my dad is helping our neighbors on the front lines as a firefighter.

Coronavirus has touched every part of our lives. It’s scary, it’s all-consuming and it’s constantly being made worse: Every day, Donald Trump’s chaotic, irresponsible behavior is putting my family in danger.

We’ve felt the intense anxiety of knowing that we’re not wearing enough protective gear. We feel it every time my mom brings her hospital scrubs home in a plastic bag, or when my dad tells us the fire department is switching to its Incident Management Team chain of command.

I feel it when I see pictures of the National Guard setting up a makeshift hospital in my high school, and I feel it every time I come home from work and wipe down my phone, keys, name tag, pen and anything else I touched.

Working at what is considered an essential workplace has caused me to analyze every potentially germ-transmitting action: how close I stand to other employees or customers, handing back change and receipts, and the fact that every single item on the shelves has been touched numerous times.

My anxiety over not having enough protective gear at work is heightened each time I go through a pair of latex gloves, or when I have to remind customers to stay behind the tape marking six feet from the cash register. I’ve seen the panicked buying driven by uncertainty, and my parents have seen the very real horrors of this disease.

We need help. We need leadership. And, we need someone willing to be an example for all of us. We aren’t getting any of that from Donald Trump.

First, Trump spent weeks downplaying the crisis, ignoring public health leaders, intelligence agencies and even his own advisers pleading with him to take action. As the virus spread and other countries responded, all he offered was a promise that everything was “very well under control.”

Second, when he couldn’t hide from the crisis, he turned to his usual theatrics, shifting blame onto everyone but himself. He’s lied, picked political fights, and even encouraged his supporters to violate social distancing. To see the president of the United States act this way is demoralizing , and even worse, it distracts from what really matters. While the president is performing on TV, the rest of us continue to be left behind. At every turn, Trump has failed to use the immense power and resources of the federal government to save lives.

Finally, just a month ago, the White House promised to deliver 27 million tests by the end of March. Instead, fewer than 1 million Americans were tested by their own deadline. And as the pandemic worsens, patients in New Hampshire and across the country are growing even more desperate for ventilators.

While frontline workers like my parents are relying on donated supplies, Trump’s son-in-law insisted that the United States’ national stockpile of lifesaving equipment somehow doesn’t belong to regular Americans.

Trump put it more bluntly: “We’re not a shipping clerk.”

That sent a chill down my spine – my family’s safety shouldn’t be a political issue. That equipment belongs to the people putting themselves in harm’s way to save others. But to this White House, it’s a bargaining chip.

Instead of guiding us through one of our country’s greatest challenges in a century, Trump is leaving us to fend for ourselves.

Heroes like my parents are giving everything they have to make sure we get to the other side of this crisis. Because of them, I’m confident that we’ll ultimately make it. But, Trump’s cold-hearted behavior means fewer of our friends, neighbors and loved ones will make it there with us.

(Delaney Nelson is a junior at Nashua High School South, where she is vice president of the Young Democrats Club.)

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