The news media is not particularly thrilled with the idea that President Trump’s first state visit to India is expected to be a joyous one. The coverage is rife with talk about optics and spectacle among journalists who can’t seem to get over the fact that the visit celebrates “shared values, and strategic and economic interests” between the two nations, according to the White House. The press is not thrilled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has organized a mammoth, 14-mile motorcade for the occasion that has earned its own hashtag: #BiggestRoadShowEver.”
Indeed, the journey of the presidential “Beast” limousine and other official vehicles will roll through the city of Ahmedabad to be followed by a mega-rally with an audience of 100,000 friendly locals. The media has grimaced over such fare.
“Trump heads to India for a giant rally, but little else,” reported The Los Angeles Times.
“Could Trump’s maiden India visit become all show and no business?” asked The Economic Times.
“Trump ready for a king’s welcome in India,” said ABC News, while The New York Times predicted “an epic show.”
“Trump’s biggest rally might not be in a red state, or even in the United States. It’s likely to be inside a cricket stadium in Gujarat state, in western India,” proclaimed CNN.
Accompanied by first lady Melania Trump ad a 12-person delegation, the president’s 36-hour visit includes a stop at the Taj Mahal and the cities of New Delhi and Agra. Mr. Trump has assured everyone he will be back in time to make an appearance at the all-important Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which opens mid-week at a resort just outside the nation’s capital and typically draws 15,000-20,000 participants.
Mr. Trump also is keeping it simple.
“Look so forward to being with my great friends in INDIA!” he tweeted shortly before departing the White House on Sunday morning.
“Look forward to being with all of my friends and supporters at CPAC,” he added some two hours into the overseas flight.
THE VIRUS ISSUE
Should the U.S. take a hard line on the threat of COVID-19? Americans favor a strident approach: Voters now say the U.S. government should quarantine people within the U.S. borders who have recently been to China; another 53% the government should deny entry to any foreigner who has been diagnosed with the virus. So says a new Economist/YouGov poll.
Concern is rampant elsewhere. A new IPSOS poll of 8,000 people in eight major nations including the U.S. revealed that close to 9 out of 10 respondents say the coronavirus is dangerous: 54% say the virus poses “a high or very high threat to the world” while a third deem it a “moderate threat.” An additional 12% say the virus is of a “lower threat.”
Mr. Trump is on the case. The U.S. Northern Command already is preparing for “a potential pandemic,” while the Navy and the Marine Corps have issued servicewide messages for “prudent planning” in the matter.
The White House — which notes that over 14,000 people traveled to the U.S. from China each day in fiscal year 2019 — suspended entry for “all aliens” who were physically in the People’s Republic of China, as of Jan. 31. Measures were also taken for “necessary and appropriate” medical screening and “quarantine” as warranted.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY
President Trump’s Democratic rivals have already turned his response to COVID-19 into a partisan issue, complete with a link to climate change.
“My plan to stop pandemics invests in public health, restores American leadership at home and abroad, and leads with science,” presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren recently said in a short campaign statement.
“Trump has repeatedly tried to nickel and dime federal programs essential to health security, proposing billions of dollars in cuts so drastic that even a leading House Republican thought they would leave Americans vulnerable,” the Massachusetts Democrat said, citing Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate agreement.
“It demonstrates reckless denial about the role of climate change in fueling epidemics,” Ms. Warren said.
“I am concerned that the Trump administration’s shortsighted policies have left us unprepared for a dangerous epidemic that will come sooner or later,” former Vice President Joseph R. Biden wrote in a USA Today op-ed.
SCALISE CUTS TO THE CHASE
President Trump’s fans continued to be annoyed that his political rivals will not cut him a break on anything. That could come with a price, however.
“Democrats continue to fight President Trump simply because they hate him. Their hatred of the president makes them tone-deaf to the pocketbook issues of concern to the millions of Americans who support him and voted him into office. The Democratic presidential candidates have learned all the wrong lessons on the campaign trail because they’re not listening to voters,” House Republican Whip Steve Scalise writes in an op-ed for Fox News.
“All we have heard from Democratic presidential candidates is doublespeak. They are more concerned about spouting platitudes to win approval from the radical left than advancing individual freedoms for the American people,” he continues.
“Compared to Democrats’ incompetence and infighting, President Trump is delivering wins for the hardworking families of this great country. With this president, the message is clear: Promises made, promises kept. After the Democratic debate in Las Vegas, it’s clearer than ever that President Trump is the only candidate we can trust with America’s future,” Mr. Scalise concludes.
POLL DU JOUR
•41% of U.S. adults say the Democratic Party is “too liberal”; 78% of Republicans, 41% of liberals and 12% of Democrats agree.
•27% say the party’s ideology is “about right”; 7% of Republicans, 15% of liberals and 58% of Democrats agree.
•21% are not sure; 12% of Republicans, 33% of liberals and 14% of Democrats agree.
•11% say the Democratic Party is “not liberal enough”; 3% of Republicans, 11% of liberals and 17% of Democrats agree.
Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 16-18.
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