Skip to contents
Opinion Columns

Silverman: How could America be so inept in the coronavirus times? It starts at the top

Hindsight is 20/20. For those of us hunkered down, right now is the perfect time to examine what’s gone wrong with our coronavirus response. There’s an election Nov. 3, 2020. At least there better be.  

As 2019 ended, we desperately needed some person of prominence, shouting like Paul Revere at the top of their lungs, “The COVID is coming! The COVID is coming!” 

Few remembered President Bush’s 2005 pandemic warning until yesterday. There was no public peep out of me until the beginning of March. I’m a lawyer and columnist, not a doctor or epidemiologist. Coronavirus was never taught to me at CC or CU Law. I doubt Trump studied pandemics at Fordham or Wharton. 

Craig Silverman

In Trump’s further defense, prominent Dems did not sound timely alarm bells, either. What if Democratic presidential candidates screamed out early COVID-19 emergency warnings? We heard no such shouting at the four Dem debates in January and February.  

Sen. Michael Bennet was a presidential candidate until Feb. 11, well after COVID-19’s menace was clear. Sen. Richard Burr and his fellow senators were provided coronavirus truth at an intelligence briefing on Jan. 24. Burr then sold millions in stocks but failed to warn the rest of us. Same with other senators.

On that night of Jan. 24, Bennet appeared on Rachel Maddow. It was the one-year anniversary of Bennet’s epic Senate rant at Ted Cruz. Bennet had his prime-time opportunity to launch a cacophonous coronavirus diatribe.  What great stature we’d now award any politician who was that prescient. 

Emergencies demand shrill sirens. Bennet authored a Jan. 27 letter to the Trump administration expressing alarm about COVID-19 testing capacities. Like most things related to Bennet’s candidacy, nobody paid attention. 

Bill Gates warned in a 2015 TED talk of a catastrophic highly infectious virus. Imagine if Gates, three months ago, had (Bloomberg-like) saturated our airwaves with COVID-19 crisis warnings; explaining the concept of containment. Abbott Labs may have had fast, effective coronavirus test kits available in early February instead of late March. We could have achieved containment.

Ron Klain, former chief of staff to Joe Biden and Ebola czar under President Obama, long saw this crisis coming. On Jan. 20, Klain alerted us to Trump blundering his way toward an American outbreak. Biden followed up a week later with a wise but little-noticed USA Today op-ed.  

Our president has the capacity to think futuristically. He foresees defeat if citizens get to vote by mail, which is the only way to have a fair election this November. Trump told his friends on Fox, “They (the Dems) had things — levels of voting that, if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.” 

Dems will cheat, Trump proclaimed last week at a coronavirus presser. That’s rich coming from a man legendary for his cheating to win at business, golf, women and elections.

Is COVID-19 payback for something? America’s stuck with Trump for now.  Let’s hope our president performs magnificently through the end of his single term.

Another one-termer must be Sen. Cory Gardner, who picked a fine time to stop being a Trump hundred percenter. Colorado’s junior senator just demanded an Inspector General investigation into Trump’s mismanagement of the Strategic National Stockpile. 

READ: Colorado Sun opinion columnists.

How will this benefit Colorado as we face critical shortages of ventilators, test kits and protective equipment? Squeaky wheels getting the grease is a nice expression, but it’s inapplicable to the Trump administration where only sycophancy seems to succeed.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has demonstrated outstanding leadership without picking presidential fights. Last Friday, Polis donned his own face mask

Our vainglorious president won’t wear a face mask unless you count that orange makeup. Don’t expect Jared Kushner to don one either, at least not until a stylish model has the Ivanka label. Perhaps they’ll be manufactured in China where Ivanka enjoys so many trademarks

China deceived us by downplaying COVID-19. So did Trump. American allies, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan handled COVID-19 well. How could America be so inept? America’s been fully invaded and we’re now surpassing casualties experienced in Wuhan, Italy and Spain. 

TODAY’S UNDERWRITER

Admiral Bone Spurs wants to be a wartime president, but he’s incompetent. The Defense Production Act should’ve been utilized long ago. What kind of Commander in Chief would fail to organize a central repository of equipment rather than rely on each state to purchase its own? The same kind of president who just fired stellar Americans, Inspector General Michael Atkinson and U.S. Navy Captain Brett Crozier

It’s outrageous that Colorado’s surrounding states, led by GOP governors, remain open for business and gatherings certain to further spread COVID-19. Our president could stop it but won’t. Trump’s more worried about his base and re-election than he cares about America. 

West Coast liberal governors acted fast and flattened their curves. Let’s pay more attention next time Governors Jay Inslee and Gavin Newsom warn about climate change. 

Mother Nature has found her way to stop pollution. The view from here is now clear. We’ve got many weeks more of this COVID-19 ordeal to contemplate politics, this world’s future, and its needed resurrection. Happy Passover. Happy Easter. 


Craig Silverman is a former Denver chief deputy DA who also has worked in the media for decades. Craig is columnist at large for The Colorado Sun. He practices law at the Denver law firm of Springer & Steinberg, P.C.


The Colorado Sun is a nonpartisan news organization, and the opinions of columnists and editorial writers do not reflect the opinions of the newsroom. Read our ethics policy for more on The Sun’s opinion policy and submit columns, suggested writers and more to opinion@coloradosun.com.