The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Please, Mr. President, we are tired of winning

President Trump at the White House on Monday. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

“We’re going to win so much that you’re going to be sick and tired. You’re going to say, ‘Please, please, Mr. President, we’re sick and tired of winning. Please let us have at least one loss. It’s no longer exciting to win.’ And I’m going to say, ‘No way, we’re going to keep winning, and I don’t care if you like it or not.’”

Donald J. Trump, 2016

President Trump was right. We are tired of winning.

Over the weekend, the United States passed Italy as the country with the highest death toll in the world from the novel coronavirus. Soon nobody else’s mortality will be able to come close to competing with ours! USA! USA! USA! The president tells us “we’re winning” the “war” against the virus. He tells us over and over again that “we’re winning it.”

We say: Please, please, Mr. President, we’re tired of winning so much. Our friends are out of work, our parents and grandparents are dying, our medical system is collapsing without tests and vital supplies, our kids can’t go to school, and we can’t buy toilet paper. If this is winning, can we go back to losing the way we used to?

Full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic

And he says: No way. We’re going to keep winning, and I don’t care if you like it or not.

And so we win some more.

We win the disaster-declaration championship. “For the first time in history there is a fully signed Presidential Disaster Declaration for all 50 States,” the president tells us. “We are winning,” he repeats.

We win new economic titles. “We’ve set every record you can set,” he says. We’ve already set the land speed record for unemployment: Over 16 million in three weeks. Soon we will have the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression.

We’re winning every competition on Wall Street. “We had the biggest Stock Market increase since 1974,” he tells us after a four-day rally. This was possible because we set another record: The Dow Jones industrial average’s worst first quarter in history. Take that, Herbert Hoover!

We say: It’s no longer exciting to win so much. Our retirement savings are exhausted. Please, Mr. President, let us have at least one loss the way Germany does? The Germans used the past several months to prepare extensive testing and contact tracing, and to build up medical stockpiles and hospitals. Only about 3,000 people there have died. The Germans will be able to restart their economy sooner.

But he says: No way. We’re going to keep on winning.

He wins the race to spend more emergency funds than any other president. “I signed the single largest economic relief package in American history,” he tells us.

He prevails over complainers. When a Navy captain pleads for help on his aircraft carrier, where a sailor has since died and at least 585 have become infected, Trump condemns the now-reassigned commander’s “terrible” action.

He triumphs against oversight. When an inspector general reports that hospitals face dire shortages of supplies, Trump dismisses the “fake dossier.” When another inspector general attempts to examine the administration’s secret handouts of relief funds, Trump ousts him.

He defeats the scientists. When the U.S. government’s top infectious-disease specialist says lives could have been saved if the Trump administration acted more quickly, Trump retweets a threat to fire him.

He routs the governors. When governors warn of dire mortality if workplaces open with a “big bang” in a couple of weeks without sufficient testing and contact tracing, Trump tells them “no excuses” and “it is the decision of the president.”

And he beats the doctors, getting U.S. hospitals to experiment widely with a cocktail of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, even as researchers in Brazil warn it causes potentially fatal heart problems.

We say: Please, please, Mr. President, for the sake of the nation, for the sake of humanity, can we please stop winning so much?

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And he says: No way.

The coronavirus pandemic is too serious to let the president hold freewheeling press briefings in real time, says Post media critic Erik Wemple. (Video: The Washington Post)

He boasts about how he has won “the biggest audiences” for his press briefings.

He sends life-saving ventilators to certain states because Republican senators facing difficult reelection campaigns have requested them.

He tells governors to be “appreciative” of his services if they want the federal government’s help with the pandemic.

He signs a coronavirus relief bill that contains a $170 billion tax windfall for real estate investors such as himself and his son-in-law.

He opposes mail-in voting during the pandemic, even though it’s safer, because it would increase “levels of voting” to the point where “you’d never have a Republican elected.”

We say: Please, Mr. President, we are sick and tired of this kind of winning. Could you try winning for the country for once rather than for yourself?

And he says: No way.

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Read more:

Dana Milbank: When you drown the government in the bathtub, people die

Dana Milbank: Trump blew it, not the WHO, Fauci or the Jews

Michael Gerson: Trump’s deadly negligence is now demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt

The Post’s View: We all want to reopen the economy. But it won’t be quick or easy.

The Post’s View: The world’s largest democracy should set a pandemic-response example. So far, it hasn’t.

Coronavirus: What you need to know

End of the public health emergency: The Biden administration ended the public health emergency for the coronavirus pandemic on May 11, just days after WHO said it would no longer classify the coronavirus pandemic as a public health emergency. Here’s what the end of the covid public health emergency means for you.

Tracking covid cases, deaths: Covid-19 was the fourth leading cause of death in the United States last year with covid deaths dropping 47 percent between 2021 and 2022. See the latest covid numbers in the U.S. and across the world.

The latest on coronavirus boosters: The FDA cleared the way for people who are at least 65 or immune-compromised to receive a second updated booster shot for the coronavirus. Here’s who should get the second covid booster and when.

New covid variant: A new coronavirus subvariant, XBB. 1.16, has been designated as a “variant under monitoring” by the World Health Organization. The latest omicron offshoot is particularly prevalent in India. Here’s what you need to know about Arcturus.

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