Renee Montagne, NPR discussed on Weekend Edition Saturday

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Is weekend edition from NPR news I'm Renee montagne with just months to go before he stands for re election president trump is trying to manage a major national crisis and his own political future here's part of the message he sent at a White House press conference yesterday the choice we make the precautions we put into place are critical to overcoming the virus reducing it spread and shortening the duration of the pandemic which is what it is meanwhile his democratic rivals are trying to send their own messages to both help the public and their campaigns in pure political reporter Danielle Kurtzleben has been following this and joins us now good morning good morning the president is working to marshal resources both for the government and the private sector but you know often of course presidents are most influential as messengers what do some of the experts you been talking to say is really helpful in a crisis like this well first things first they say that a crisis like this I mean that the the crises like this are rare this crisis is unique Mike Leavitt who was a health and Human Services secretary under president George W. bush he pointed out to me that this isn't like a hurricane or a tornado where there's a discrete localized impact that's for a lot of people it's a sort of rolling potential disaster and people are for an extended period of time continually trying to avoid it these are complicated Ricky merchant ships different than our weather event a tornado or hurricane different chairs in the sense that they happen everywhere at the same time so with this happening everywhere to all Americans at the same time I mean the most fundamental thing is to communicate truthful information now C. N. N. this week counted literally dozens of falsehoods about corona virus that trump and his administration had spread and that was before by the way his Wednesday night oval office address in which he seemed to get his own policy is wrong yeah right in people I think have a sense of no control and they really are looking for somebody in in control in a situation like this a keeping people from panicking ten they'll be very hard even for president how does he manage that well so one way is keeping experts close at hand sort of showing that you have smart people around you tell you what to do I asked a scientist and epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins her name was Emily girly about this and she pointed out you know it's not just showing the people that you're getting good information but also that listen I have people telling me when I need to change course if we need to change course and with that we can do that quickly and the president was putting Anthony Fauci and other experts out front in an effort to do that now it is also true though that if there's a disconnect between what the president says and what experts suggest that could add anxiety because of mixed messages for example he announced that travel the travel restrictions regarding Europe and some experts have said that that just isn't useful and of course the democratic candidates have not shied away from criticizing trump's response is here what has stood out for you from Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders one thing is a first of all they both gave speeches this week actually Sanders gave too and the big thing is you know they didn't really criticize each other in those speeches they both seem to have backed off of viewing each other as rivals here set and of course they don't want to be seen as taking political advantage now that said they are definitely criticizing Donald trump's governing style Joe Biden this week called it a failure on testing that is colossal and he also called a failure of planning leadership and execution now Sanders also has said this administration is quote largely incompetent now however they are taking a little bit of advantage Sanders is taking the opportunity to to promote Medicare for all right now Biden is pivoting to the general election really they're just trying to show that they could be presidents during a crisis NPR political reporter Danielle Kurtzleben thanks for joining us yes thank you and tomorrow on weekend edition a closer look at the risk coronavirus poses to our economic health Lulu Garcia Navarro talks with a veteran of the last economic shock about what's different this time around listen to that conversation tomorrow morning by asking your smart speaker to play NPR member station my name.

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