In a remarkable moment on Wednesday, a reporter asked President Donald Trump whether the wealthy should be getting tested for COVID-19 first even as thousands of people are being turned away. Trump delivered a stunning response: “You have to ask them that question, but perhaps that’s been the story of life.”
Just wow. Trump’s response that “perhaps that’s been the story of life,” a vapid acceptance that the rich really get an edge in every aspect of life.
In a country where with symptoms are being denied testing everywhere across the nation, it’s amazing to see that not only have the wealthy been getting tests on request, but they’ve been getting extraordinarily prompt service. Some, like Trump, have reported back results within hours of saying they had been tested, rather than the three days or more that regular citizens “lucky” enough to rate a nasal swab have waited to learn their fate.
Justifying this situation with a mere “hey, that’s just the way it is,” grates on every nerve for at least two reasons: First, a public health screening seems like the last place where someone’s bank account should have anything to do with whether or not they have access. This is a matter of not just testing one individual, but of protecting the nation. And that’s the second thing: this is just another example of how Donald Trump doesn’t think it’s his responsibility to do anything.
Trump is not even willing to pretend that he’s upset about the unfairness of wealthy individuals who have both the means and the finances to support precautionary quarantine getting instant access to tests that could be much better directed to those much less capable of setting life on hold for a matter of weeks.
Reporter: Why are non-symptomatic professional athletes getting tested before other people?
Trump: You'd have to ask them
Reporter: Should that happen?
Trump: I don't think so but that's just the story of life pic.twitter.com/3jDDyGcyMV
— jordan (@JordanUhl) March 18, 2020
If Trump is so casually ready to accept that the wealthy get an edge when it comes to coronavirus testing, what does that say about ICU beds? About respirators? About the desperate level of care that thousands of Americans are going to need in the days immediately ahead?
Sorry, poor person. You need to give up that bed. That’s “the story of life.”
Let that thought sink in for a moment.