With the coronavirus pandemic surging towards 5 million cases and 155,000 deaths in the U.S., it’s time to compare North Dakota Republican Gov. Burgum with President Trump in several key areas.
- Initial Reaction. When the pandemic struck, Burgum took decisive action, such as shutting down schools, restaurants and bars. When Trump was informed of the impending pandemic, he did basically nothing, and wasted valuable time. He should have been ordering more testing kits, more medical supplies, working on a vaccine, and working on a social distancing plan. Instead, he called it a hoax and said it would go away.
- Approach. Burgum, using real data, convincingly made the case for how serious the coronavirus is. Trump pushed a drug that doesn’t work and suggested taking disinfectants, which could kill us. Trump falsely claimed 99% of coronavirus cases are harmless, disgracefully stopped funding the World Health Organization, bashed Dr. Fauci, threatened school districts, dangerously urged states to open too soon, and has no plan to stop the out of control virus.
- Testing. Under Burgum, North Dakota is one of the leaders in the nation for testing. Several mass testing events have been held throughout the state. Trump says we wouldn’t have so many coronavirus cases, if we didn’t do so much testing. Right, and I wouldn’t be overweight if I didn’t step on a scale.
- Masks and social distancing. Burgum has consistently encouraged people to wear masks and practice social distancing. For months, Trump sadly mocked people for wearing masks and refused to wear one. His public events, with people sitting next to each other with no masks, were dangerous. The Trump rally in Tulsa was the worst. Not only were Trump’s blind followers not wearing masks, but the Trump campaign removed the stickers promoting social distancing, meaning the 6,000 who attended were packed close together.
- Partisanship. Burgum comes off as nonpartisan. He acts like he’s trying to help everyone, regardless of their political affiliation. Trump threatened to stop aid to states run by Democrats, called one Democratic governor clueless and another one “a snake.”
- Humanity. Burgum sincerely expresses his sympathy to North Dakota families, and says his heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones to the coronavirus. Trump is not capable of empathy.
- Media Relations. Burgum cordially and accurately answers questions from reporters about this frightening virus. Burgum impressively thanks the reporters for getting the important information out to the public. Trump lies, and berates reporters. The job of journalists is to seek the truth and respectfully challenge those in power. Not to kiss the president’s butt. That’s Kevin Cramer’s job.
With infections soaring in the state, Burgum should impose tighter restrictions, including a statewide mandate to wear masks. However, he looks comfortable in dealing with a crisis, and has demonstrated strong leadership. Trump’s negligence and ineptness has caused thousands of Americans to die or be infected. Once again, Trump has proven that he’s unfit to be president.