Historian Jon Meacham Slams Trump’s Coronavirus Briefing Infomercials

Historian Jon Meacham said that Trump’s coronavirus briefings aren’t informative, but they are infomercials intended to sell his response to the virus.

Transcript via Meet The Press:

CHUCK TODD: Jon Meacham, the president personalizing that. I thought that was interesting. Look, he’s not wrong. This decision, if he makes it too soon, it would be, probably, the most consequential of his presidency. And it perhaps could go consequential in a really bad way if he’s wrong.

JON MEACHAM: Absolutely. And it’s in keeping with his monarchical tendencies here. I think these briefings are really infomercials more than briefings. He is constantly selling his own reaction to the crisis in the face of facts. And I think that ultimately what you’re seeing with the numbers is Americans at some intuitive level understanding that the president is selling them, he’s not protecting them. And I think that one of the things he’s got to figure out politically here is this is a virus. The virus can’t be bullied. It can’t be dismissed. And, you know, 75 years ago today, Franklin Roosevelt died. And one of his watch words in the second world war was: “The American people can handle bad news, but you have to give it to them straight from the shoulder”. And the news is going to get worse and worse before it gets better and better. But if you level with people, they will respond.


Meacham is correct. Trump is trying to sell the American people on the adequacy of his response to the coronavirus instead of actually telling people the truth and responding to the crisis.

The problem is that Donald Trump lacks the skills needed to run the United States government and implement an adequate policy response to handle the virus, so he is like the student who didn’t read the book trying to sell the class his oral book report.

He is constantly selling the perception of doing a good job, without doing the job at all.

The American people could come together to beat the virus if there were clear guidance and leadership coming from the top, but Trump offers no leadership. He is self-promoting and pitching while hoping that the virus goes away.

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