In the era of social distancing, rising unemployment and constant anxiety, I strongly recommend you not watch President Trump’s daily press appearances. They will infuriate and sadden you. The president who delayed acting when the coronavirus first appeared, and delayed in activating the Defense Production Act, now insists the shelves at stores are not barren, tests are widely available and he’s deserving of a 10 out of 10 for his response.

Things have gotten so bad that the renowned immunologist helping us navigate through the crisis, Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, can barely stand to watch the president mislead the country. The Post reported:

When Fauci returned to the briefing room for Friday’s news conference he was there to see Trump tout the potential benefits of a malaria drug that is not yet proved to be an effective treatment for covid-19 and blow up at a reporter who asked a question he considered “nasty.” Despite his admonitions against face-touching, Fauci rubbed his forehead.
It fell to the doctor to lower the temperature in the room, delicately bridging the gap between Trump’s feelings and his own scientific approach.

We now know that Trump ignored and suppressed the warning of national security experts who feared the pandemic was on its way. (The Post reports: “U.S. intelligence agencies were issuing ominous, classified warnings in January and February about the global danger posed by the coronavirus while President Trump and lawmakers played down the threat and failed to take action that might have slowed the spread of the pathogen, according to U.S. officials familiar with spy agency reporting.”)

Your stress level, in other words, is likely high enough without further annoying yourself by watching the person whose negligence has resulted in untold harm to the country.

In addition to tuning out Trump, you should tune in to governors’ news conferences, even if the governor is not your own. The briefings by New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) have become daily displays of candor, reassurance, unvarnished truth-telling and decisive leadership. My Post colleague Dan Balz reports: “Contrast Trump’s blame-shifting with what Cuomo said on Friday when he announced the stay-at-home restrictions. ‘If someone is unhappy and somebody wants to blame someone or complain about someone, blame me,’ he said. ‘There is no one else who is responsible for this decision.’ ” Those sorts of displays will remind you that for all federal government’s incompetence, the states are making tough decisions and moving to fill the leadership vacuum.

Beginning this week, you will have another source of reassurance: shadow briefings from the presumptive Democratic nominee, former vice president Joe Biden. His campaign already put out an informative video explaining how we got to where we are and what we should be doing:

While the “what we should be doing” section is somewhat vague, read through Biden’s highly detailed plan.

We will need to muddle through the remainder of the year, relying on Congress, governors and local leadership. The economic picture will look grim. But both the coronavirus and the Trump era will not last forever. Though so much is uncertain and our lives have been put on pause, we will hold elections in November. We will be able to replace Trump and his exasperating band of buffoonish advisers.

With Biden, we are reminded that a president who embraces science and experts, shows empathy, avoids blame-shifting and can grasp complex information is the norm. It is only in the disastrous Trump era that we have been bludgeoned by ignorance, cruelty, incompetence and narcissism on an unprecedented scale.

So do yourself a favor, tune out the White House and look to competent leadership wherever you can find it.

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