I have many friends who fall into the category of conservatives, some very conservative. Most openly tout their support of President Donald Trump.

We’ve had some disagreements lately over Trump’s daily briefings to the press about the COVID-19 pandemic. I get no sense of confidence or comfort from what the president says. Yes, I realize he’s primarily a cheerleader for the country, as he has said, but even in that realm he has failed.

My friends have disagreed, saying the president is showing leadership. It boggles my imagination that anyone can feel that way.

More than 25,000 people have died in the United States from the COVID-19. More than 45,000 people have recovered after getting the virus, which is fantastic news. In all, more than 589,000 Americans have tested positive.

Worldwide, more than 125,000 have died from the virus, with more than 471,000 recovered. The virus has affected nearly 2 million people. Many others carry around the disease even though they show no symptoms of having it.

The White House on Jan. 29 established the coronavirus task force, after being warned numerous times that a pandemic was possible. Members of the task force included Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Global AIDS coordinator Deborah Birx, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams,  Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin.

Of course, Trump spends most of his press briefings spreading half-truths, out-right lies and self-congratulatory statements that he’s winning his “war,” as he calls the fight against COVID-19. I guess the heal spurs that earned him five deferments to serve in the Vietnam War have improved.

His daily briefings offer little useful information from the chief executive. It’s not until Birx or Fauci speak that Americans get a sense of what’s truly going on in our battle against the coronavirus. Those who actually work in the medical field, especially Fauci, have repeatedly had to contrast what the president has said.

On a state level, I think our Republican Governor, Asa Hutchinson, has done a pretty good job in his daily briefings. Dr. Nate Smith of the Arkansas Department of Health also has been straight forward in his announcements. You don’t see state officials bragging about their work, disparaging the work of others or stumbling through what they want to say.

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Another strange turn of events in the coronavirus battle emerged last week with more countries criticizing China’s latest attempts to help the world.

Apparently, 17 million test kits sent to England have not performed well, according to John Bell, that country’s coordinator of coronavirus testing for Public Health England. The Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, Georgia and the Czech Republic have been critical over masks and test kits from China. COVID-19 began in Whuhan, China, in 2019, then began its world sweep.

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Things got even more strange at the White House last week. President Donald Trump’s press secretary Stephanie Grisham left her job without ever having briefed the press. 

Kayleigh McEnany, who served as Trump’s 2020 campaign spokeswoman, has replaced Grisham. Her main job, evidently, will be to set up interviews requested by Fox News, the president’s favorite television network. All other requests, well, they probably won’t go anywhere. McEnany will be the fourth press secretary in Trump’s first term. You remember Sean Spicer and Sarah Sanders? At least they held press briefings.

McEnany got the job, in part, because Trump loves people who openly love him. It’s that simple.

Back in February, when our president was being warned that the COVID-19 could be headed to America, McEnany told the Fox Business Network, “This president will always put America first, he will always protect American citizens. We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here. We will not see terrorism come here. And isn’t that refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama?”

She’s perfect for our president, but not so perfect for anyone else, including a free press.