Littwin: Trump is back to war and Polis is telling us the best defense is a good offense

Gov. Jared Polis announced Colorado's first two cases of coronavirus in Colorado on March 5, 2020. As of Friday, March 27, tyhe state was up to more than 1,700 cases with 31 deaths. (Photo by John Herrick)
Gov. Jared Polis announced Colorado's first two cases of coronavirus in Colorado on March 5, 2020. Polis plans to lift his stay-at-home order by April 27. (Photo by John Herrick)

In case you were wondering, the wartime president is back. It took Donald Trump only a few days to realize that wishing away the novel coronavirus wasn’t going to work. It might have sunk in with the news that America had taken the worldwide lead in confirmed coronavirus cases, meaning, among other issues, there won’t be any Easter parades — or packed churches for Easter services — this year.

All Trump needed to get back into action was a suitable enemy. And as we know, when it comes to perceived enemies, Trump never has to look far. 

He started with General Motors — with which he has a longtime grudge over a plant closing in Ohio — for what he called “wasting time” in producing ventilators. Yes, his complaint came less than 24 hours after Trump had dismissed the need for so many ventilators and two days after Trump had pulled back from a deal with GM. But, as I said, we’re back in wartime. And so when finally invoking the Defense Production Act, which allowed him to compel GM and other companies to produce ventilators, Trump would blame GM for trying to “rip off” the government. 

It was the usual Trump misrepresentation (and for a comprehensive look, via The New York Times, at Trump’s lies and misstatements on coronavirus, click here). In any case, a fight with GM would only take you so far. It turns out that mayors and governors across the country had been the ones criticizing the president for slow-walking the response for much-needed tests, ventilators and protective gear. They were the ones begging Trump to use the Defense Production Act. And yet on Thursday night, Trump was telling head sycophant Sean Hannity that he didn’t believe New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo actually needed the 30,000 ventilators he was asking for. And the next day, it was suddenly an emergency.

And there it was, waiting for him — the ideal target. Not just governors, but Democratic governors, in plain view. And if you watched the latest Trump-led press briefing/campaign rally Friday, you saw Trump in full-blame mode, name-calling Washington Gov. Jay Inslee — who, Trump said, “leveled out at zero” in the polls when he ran for president — and “the woman” from Michigan, otherwise known as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Of Whitmer, Trump said, “she has no idea of what’s going on.” When he used her name in a tweet later, he called her Gov. Gretchen “Half” Whitmer. Seriously. That’s the same president who kept saying that the coronavirus was under control when it wasn’t and who was — actually, still is — pushing unproven medications to treat it.

And here’s the kicker, the so-Trump-like kicker, the kicker that only Trump would proudly admit to: Trump said his problem with Inslee and Whitmer was that they weren’t showing him — and, to his credit, he actually included his team — proper appreciation.

When asked what more governors could do to help in the fight against the coronavirus, Trump said, “All I want them to do — very simple: I want them to be appreciative. I don’t want them to say things that aren’t true. I want them to be appreciative.”

Apparently Inslee and Whitmer — whose states happen to be among the hardest hit by the virus — didn’t meet Trump’s standard for kissing up to the president. So his response was to tell Mike Pence, who’s heading up the White House task force, not to bother calling them.

“I say, ‘Mike, don’t call the governor of Washington. You’re wasting your time with him. Don’t call the woman in Michigan. It doesn’t make any difference what happens.’ You know what I say: ‘If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call.’ He’s a different type of person. He’ll call quietly anyway.”

Trump didn’t mention Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, which is too bad, because, coincidentally, on the day Trump went to war with governors, Polis pulled out reams and reams of data to show Colorado’s need for hospital beds and ventilators and, most importantly, to explain his statewide stay-at-home decision.

Polis didn’t need Trump to make him a foil. He already had House Minority Leader Patrick Neville calling the governor’s decision “Gestapo-like.” And he had Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, in an op-ed piece for Colorado Politics, saying Colorado had become a “police state” with communism creeping in. So we have Polis consorting with commies and Nazis. And we have Sonnenberg failing to understand that in a police state he could not have actually written that column.

In a more reasoned critique, 14 Republican state senators wrote a letter to Polis complaining that he hadn’t consulted with them before making his decision and that he had not shown the data on which he based it.

You want data? Here’s data. It’s frightening, and if you read it, you will see how Polis, who was reluctant to issue the stay-at-home ruling, felt he had no choice.

According to modeling by the Colorado School of Public Health, each infected person in Colorado would infect three to four other people. That’s how pandemics happen. The three-to-four infections rate is a number higher than in some other models, but Polis showed, in a slide show, where this model would lead.

Before his statewide stay-at-home ruling, he said, about half of Coloradans were practicing social distancing. At 50%, the death toll, the model says, would be between 800 and 19,900 deaths, depending on whether the infection rate was three people or four. At 60%, it slips to between 400 and 11,500, depending.

Polis’ expectation is that the stay-at-home ruling would lead to 80% social distancing. The model didn’t have numbers yet for what that level of compliance would mean. Polis said we won’t know for about two weeks when the numbers kick in. What we do know, he said, that “the more non-compliance there is, the more people are not heeding the advice to stay at home, the longer and more severe this crisis will be.”

In rolling out the numbers, Polis said we should translate those numbers to actual people. And to treat the actual people, he said, Colorado now has just under 2,000 ICU beds and will need 5,000 more by the summer. Polis said the state has about 900 ventilators, but needs 7,000 more.

What Polis wants to see, he said, is Colorado eventually reaching the South Korea model, where life, while not yet normal, is somewhere near normal, which would be a far cry from a statewide shutdown. As you probably know, South Korea tested early and located those who had been in contact with people testing positive.

At this point, Polis said, South Korea is “dealing with the problem on a case-by-case, cluster-by-cluster basis instead of with widespread lockdowns and disruptions of economic activity, which is where he want to get here in Colorado.”

Polis is an admitted data nerd, and his fluency on the pandemic is a little greater than, let’s say, Ken Buck’s or, possibly, Trump’s, who said Friday about coronavirus: “You can call it a germ. You can call it a flu. You can call it a virus. You can call it many different names. I’m not sure anyone even knows what it is.”

Here’s what Polis said in citing the numbers that convinced him a statewide shutdown was necessary: “If we get this right, some might say we did too much too soon. I would much rather be the recipient of that complaint than to have a full-scale public health disaster with tens of thousands of Coloradans paying the ultimate price.”

Which is why nearly half the nation is shut down — and will be for a while. It’s not about a police state. It’s not about Gov. Whitmer. It’s about a pandemic and saving people’s lives.

 

20 COMMENTS

  1. Mike Littwin, Since you compared President Donald Trump to Chamberlain , and Churchill, I think it fair to compare you to Saul Alinskey or Herr Goebbels. Both of them were experts at twisting facts and information, to appeal to, and lead those who do not know the truth, or not interested in learning it. And you seem to feel President Trump not working hard enough, but he sleeps very little, and has many things on his mind. He is working for about 370 million North Americans, while also leading, or influencing the rest of the world. And 63 Million of those elected him in 2016. Those, who are hostile to USA, still talk to him, follow what he does, since that effect USA citizens, and leads the other countries. Business policies have come to foreign countries too. , USA still has the strongest economy on planet EARTH. And even the hostile countries, are coming around to capitalistic economy, even in their dictatorial ways of government.

    • Thank you. Plain and simple, Thank you. I came on here to read some facts about a virus that is knocking the stuffings out of our population and loved one, only to be hit with more political subjective crap. It is so hard to read anything from the left about what is going on in the science community and the world without digging through personal insults, Damnit to f…ing hell I wish that they liberals would just start expressing facts and news, so irritating. I used to love to hear all parties but not anymore. People are dying left and right and the liberals need to jump on people’s graves with insults to the president. How ethically and emotionally wrong!!1

  2. Trump’s pathological narcissism is exhibited in his constant belief that if he doesn’t understand something, then no one else can either, especially experts in the field that patiently, but fruitlessly, try to educate him. It is similar to a 2 year old’s belief that if they can’t see you, you cease to exist. His repeated astonished claims of “Who could have known?” when presented with commonly understood facts is going to be the death of untold thousands.

  3. 6:30 PM Saturday. Now that we all have read the false information spread over past few years, Read the New York Times today and on net (article printed 23 minutes ago) you will find all those experts that Harry talked about, as they discussed USA policies, Regulations, Business as usual, and lack of information from China. All of this led to USA not realizing they had problem until end of January, and beginning to get picture in February. But lot of obstacles to overcome, not to mention all the false and guesses made by our MSM (who really do not know all they profess to know), and tend to miss lead us. Read it and weep for all the nasty lies, smears, and name calling by all sides. Should be a lot of apologies, but in 21s century, that will not happen.

  4. Frank, it’s not treason to acknowledge that your President’s* dishonesty and incompetence is costing lives and failing the country.

    You think a World War II vet would tolerate such inept nincompoopery from the commander in chief?

    I don’t think dishonesty should be one of an administration’s defining characteristics, yet here we are.

    Why do you tolerate it?

    • Jay, You are following the foot steps of our past Community Organizer, and have been for long time. You need to read David Horowitz, who was born into a communist family, in California. Received his education and experience in California, winding up at Berkley, being mentored by Radicals, Progressives, and following their thinking. You should really read his Resume, and find where he switched from Radical (Progressive) Communists thinking, back in USA, and established FREEDOM CENTERR. You are a victim of our University System, just as Barack Obama and Michelle, Bill and Hillary Clinton, who studied Alinskey, in college, and are now in Politics. All working to build the world as they believe it should be, not as it is. And Mike Littwin prides himself on being a radical. (I would remind you and him, that the Snake in Garden of Edina, was named Lucifer and was the first radical. And he gained his KINGDOM referred to as HELL. That is also ACORN, COMMUNITY ORGANIZING, AND not necessarily Communist, Fascist, Socialist, BUT SIMPLY USING POLITICS TO GAIN POWER AND MONEY. I dare you to Read David Horowitz, because his education, experience, surpasses you both. and also otters who want to find fault.

      • Frank, I’m well aware of David’s “work”. He has such a long, well-known history of dishonesty and bigotry, that here again I think you’re a victim of bad info.

        He was wrong about Vietnam, Trickle Down Economics, Iraq and Israeli Apartheid…so I’m at a loss as to why someone with such a terrible track record is a model of intellectual virtue to Conservatives.

        He started out at the Bertrand Russell Institute for Peace before becoming a cheerleader for Vietnam, may I in turn suggest that he had a good start before he lost his way.

        In my opinion, maybe you should pick up a copy of Russell’s A History Of Western Philosophy to see if anything resonates in your bones. I’ll bet you’ll pick up some gems.

        • Typical Progressive, and you have audacity to think President Donald Trump has problems. You don’t want to recognize the truth. As David Horowitz stated, Radicals, Progressives, Community Organizers, Communists, Socialist, Fascists, never see the hell, they leave behind them. Capitalism is not always the “City on the Hill”, but it is still the best to let individuals rise to heights, or levels, their dreams, desires, ; education, and culture, as long as their physical and mental capacity allows them. Where do you fit in that, Jay? After all, everyone works for their own little KINGDOM? (And there is no one who is so blind, as one will not see) Just think how fixed in your ways, you will be, when, or if you live to my age.

  5. I think we need to stop blaming and analyzing and contradicting and thinking for ourselves and simply accept Governor Polis’s orders. It’s easier! And probably safer. According to 9 News people are still leaving home to go to the mountains and illegally parking cars. I say they should be ticketed with big fines and told their registrations and licenses will be revoked if they dont pay when or before renewal comes due. The cars coukd then be donated to Good Will. In our libertarian individualistic wild west culture,
    we need more, not less of a police state to save our health care system from collapsing and to save peoples’ lives.

  6. Vick ——-That is not why I, and many others, fought and served during Korean Conflict, Cold War, and Vietnam Conflict (26 years 18 days for me),. And we wasted a lot of time, money, people, and equipment in fighting World War I, and World War II. We could have been so comfottable, following Orders of the Germans, Italians, and Japanese. Whole world was involved with that, and we literally destroyed Europe, Africa, and Pacific. But we rebuilt all those or assisted them to do that, for a reason. All people should be able to live to their dreams, desires, ability, physically and mentally, if capable, and work hard. That line fits me, starting as farm boy in Ohio, with HS diploma, 2 years experience in coal mine, 2 years in clerking in store, when my enlistment (draft notice received same day) led me to whole new career, experience, and working sensitive, new projects and equipment, and leaving service in 1976 with 124 college credit hours, in diverse disciplines. Even to meeting the woman I married on 24 Aug 1952, who turned out to be perfect team mate for me. What we did, and with my peers, made a difference in 20th Century. We went from speed of Horses, to speed of Space craft, and I was pioneer for Satellite Communications (1970 to 1976) . Otherwise we would still be using typewriters and snail mail. What will you do in 21st Century?

  7. NOTE FOR ALL: POLITICO printed article today, mapping 15 Days in White House, with story of VIRUS SUPPRESSION ATTEMPT. 29 March 2020, and I printed it 5 hours from appearing on net. Title: Inside the White House, during 15 days to slow the Spread. By Meridity McGraw and Caitlin Oprysko.

    And I would remind all, that Governors and staff members of each state, are first in line for the State Problems, with FEMA and Federal Government as 2nd and back up to State Needs, when Crisis is beyond their abilities and capacity.

    First coronavirus case in U.S. was on January 21, 2020, And it was treated as pneumonia by normal doctors and nurses. No Data from China, or anyone else before then. President had just come back from trip to India on 26 February 2020. Read it for yourself. (note: compare this to how H1N1 Swine Flu was handled in prior administration). Then ask why states and medical facilities did not prepare for future Virus attacks – whether a weaponized virus, or accidental lab work). Would think State Health Directors would expect such to occur, as each virus seems to be more deadly then prior ones.

  8. Americans have always been willing to forgive. Almost to a fault. But it’s difficult to forgive a repeat offender and two catastrophic pandemics in the last twenty years (SARS in 2003 and COVID-19 this year) originated in China.

    Despite that, many Americans have not only forgiven China for incubating yet another tragic and destructive pandemic responsible for the loss of life worldwide but they have also forgiven China for initially covering-up the extent of the outbreak. A cover-up that sadly and needlessly increased the body count.

    Ironically, many of those same Americans who forgave China for its role as a global pandemic nursery are not as charitable with American politicians who don’t share their twisted political views. And to taint the views of those Americans less willing to forgive China, use of the terms “Wuhan virus” or “China virus” have been deemed racist.

    But the good news is that those loathsome few who willingly, eagerly and enthusiastically use the deaths of innocent Americans to push a political agenda are in the minority. USA Today reports, “A new Gallup poll found……60% of Americans approved of (President) Trump’s response to the outbreak.”

    Will those who so generously forgave China for releasing yet another pandemic on the world be as generous with Gallup?

    ***********************

    “The Independent is a nonprofit. You as readers and donors (both, I hope) are our investors. We work not to fatten the bottom line, but for our mission. It’s on our home page. You can read the whole thing there. But here’s a key passage: “We seek to amplify the voices of Coloradans whose stories are unheard, shine light on the relationships between people, power and policy, and hold public officials to account. We strive to report the news with context, social conscience, and soul, and to give Coloradans the insight they need to promote conversation, understanding and progress in this square, swing state we call home.”
    Tina Griego, managing editor Colorado Independent

    “We’re funded by donations from our readers, charitable gifts, community partnerships and foundations.”
    Holly Armstrong, board chair Colorado Independent

    “Thank you for your readership and encouragement. Please take good care of yourselves and each other.” 
    Susan Greene, Editor and executive director

    • Is this a round about way.for you to ask for forgiveness for voting for Trump?

      Let’s see how many folks keep dying while he keeps lying…then we can talk forgiveness.

  9. Tina and Susan, I agree with what you hare saying. My first experience in Colorado was in 1951, when I was sent from Nevada base, to hide me for a time, and found at Lowry AFB, that AF NCO designated to teach the course, had been handed a 3 ring binder, told to report to tar paper shacks in Lowry II, and was Army Air Corp. When he asked class, individually, and came to me (as last one of 25?) , He immediately order “Corporal, bring you chair and sit beside me. You will teach this class, and me, too”. I did, and last day, Officer brought a prepared test, in sealed envelop, and supervised all of us testing. We all passed, and that was a day, I have never forgotten, for the “back patting, and ATTABOYs,” that day. (Also during that period, I had met young woman at Lakeside, who I came back to Denver and married the next year). This August we will be married for 68 years, and what a team we made, in a career, I never dreamed of as farm boy from Ohio, with HS diploma. Left service with 124 college credit hours, in management, administration, intelligence work, supply, economics, instructor, avionics, satellite communications, and working with foreign personnel, countries, as well as USA joint services, briefing civilians, military, and training – teaching sensitive equipment and programs, learned in military.
    ——-Retiring in 1976 (26 years 18 days) I worked with Political Officials, Democrats and Republicans, and minor parties from 1991 to recent years, with age and health slowed me. Now under medical care of 3 providers, age 90. –
    ——-While in service, in Lamar, Colorado, as Senor NCO, I also was Denver Post Distributor for that region, centered in Lamar. Rocky Mountain News offered competition to Denver Post, and we got all the news, good and bad. I hated to see RM fail, because DP became a downtown Denver paper, which was sold all over the state, but was not the paper it had been. Too many good reporters went to other work, and some good, but some reporters who were biased on RM, moved to DP, and are still in Colorado. And I have to say, they do not write a balanced article or columns. Reason I do not buy newspapers from anyone. I pick and choose, by reading the net papers, to find what stories I need to research, to be prepared to answer questions, from my peers groups (military retirees, families, seniors, and charitable organizations. (From time I was Corporal, in 1952, I have been the GO TOO GUY, that my commanders called on, to explain any question asked, and that stayed with me in retirement, all these years. UNFORTUNATELY, I HAVE OUTLIVED TOO MANY OF THOSE CALLERS, and as I asked my Cardiologist, at end of my appointment, “Does God have something that needs done, or am I being punished”?. His answer was “No, Frank, you are living a good life, keep on doing it”. He retired #1 July 2018, and I now see his son. So, I hope Susan and Tina understand , because you both are fair in what you write.

  10. Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose. Or 6 feet from my nose, since you should be practicing proper social distancing, on the advice of the people who know best – epidemiologists. Not politicians. I don’t care that you’ve been lucky enough to live a long time, or that you’ve accomplished much in your life, including serving with loyalty the country you and I love. Good for you. The fact remains that when you ignore scientific advice because you don’t like being told what to do, or because you think you know better, or just because that advice comes from someone from the other political party, you are acting like a spoiled child. Much like a certain 73-year-old who constantly contradicts or ignores the medical professionals working for him, in favor of his own ignorant hunches. Whatever lets him avoid taking responsibility for how bad the epidemic will likely get, due at least in part to his intransigence. Leaders that institute stay-at-home orders are doing what is best for the people they serve. Because they are public servants. And people who liken those precautions to totalitarianism are not only profoundly missing the point, they are potentially risking people’s lives.

    • Scott ——-Not sure who your comment was for. I have not left my house since the order came out. My son (age 61) with order from his employer, and in compliance with “stay at home order” allows him to shop and go to doctor, or pick up prescriptions for son and wife, who have asthma, also shops for me. I have not driven or left house since the “stay at home” order came out, and with restrictions at stores, would not be allowed in, if I did go. So if you were commenting to all, okay. But if in reply to my comment, you are way off base. With kidney, heart, and general providers, I am not going anywhere unless I have to. Cannot even visit my wife, in nursing-retirement home, since she is restricted to her apartment, and her food is delivered for 3 meals, each day, at her door. She will be 85 in April, but needs care we cannot provide her. When this blows over, and restrictions are removed, then I will be moving to join her, whether we share a 2 br, 2 bath apartment there, or we have separate apartments, preferably on same floor, or area. She will eventually have to move for more medical care, with some problems. But not yet. We have been married for 68 years, as I wrote. There was a time 1991 to about 20 years ago, when I could work with any politician, in civil discussions, or meetings. And I did. All of my life, I have worked with people from other countries, and races, religions, without problem,. First public job was age 13 and 14, when I worked summers on cost plus job, in Ohio, straightening, widening, and building up Highway 250 in Harrison County. I graduated in 1947, age 17, worked in coal mine and A&) store, as cashier and clerk, with store manager who was noted for hiring young, and training store managers. Entered service 13 Oct 1950 and received draft notice same day I enlisted. In 1954, Mr. Watkins had my papers from A&) for me to work 90 days to come up to speed, and they had store in Indiana, for me to manage. I had re-enlisted, and he was disappointed , as my parents were with me. Don’t think they ever forgave me for staying in service. But I have no regrets. (note: last job I had in July 1976, was to accompany a GS 13 and Captain, to Omaha NE, to work with Corp of Engineers, and other Communicators, to design SATCOM Terminal for Offutt AFB, NE. Year before, as senior NCO, I installed a TACSATCOM terminal on NAVCOM station, Oahu, Hawaii for Presidential Support. Had full authority to contact other countries, and major commands, and to brief high ranking officials, of terminal capabilities. Selected and trained my subordinates for that job, from records sent to me. So I know what we did, and we worked within Military Standards, and USA Laws, under UCMJ. Otherwise, we would still be using typewriters, and snail mail.

  11. Thursday 3:41 PM. Just saw discussion of THE FIVE, that President Donald Trump mocked VP Joe Biden, for not getting endorsement from President Barack Obama. I have stated it before, but I own 12 books (2 by Obama, and 10 by others) trying to realize in my mind, WHO HE IS, AND WHY HE THINKS LIKE HE DOES? And I am not the only one. In reading his books, and those about him, Barack (Barrie) has spent his life, wondering who he really is, who his father really was, and why his father (on birth certificate that was posted 2 years after birth) deserted him at age 2. Raised by Stanley Ann Dunham’s father and mother, until 5th grade, then through his high school years in Punahou, he stated in his book, he was sensitive (or careful) about questioning the marriage records.
    ——–Now my main point is writhing this comment is, WHEN HAS BARACK EVER ENDORESE ANYONE ELSE, FOR ANY POSITION. He has gone through life, always believing , (or acting) as if he is smartest guy in the room? Just saying. —–

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