When a grave problem such as the coronavirus pandemic affects the world, it is incumbent upon the world to come together to fight it. Full stop. Joe Biden expressed this notion eloquently in his speech Thursday in Philadelphia, saying that we must “harness the ingenuity of our scientists and the resourcefulness of our people” and that “we have to help the world, help the world to drive coordinated global strategy, not shut ourselves off from the world.”
Tell that to the jingoistic clown who is supposed to steer us with an earnest demeanor and a steady hand through this growing public health and economic crisis. Welt am Sonntag, a Sunday newspaper in Germany, has just revealed that Trump has been quietly using capitalism as a divisive, ugly weapon while sowing discord and distrust with one of America’s closest allies. The German Health Ministry today confirmed the report, telling Reuters that Trump is indeed trying to entice CureVac, a German biopharmaceutical company that is conducting promising research into a vaccine, into delivering it exclusively to the United States in return for a substantial amount of money.
On March 3, CureVac published a press release announcing that CEO Daniel Menichella was invited to the White House “to discuss strategies and opportunities for the rapid development and production of a coronavirus vaccine” with Trump, Mike Pence and others. However, the release offered no indication that Trump has been trying to lure the German company to work only with the United States—even at the exclusion of Germany—in the hope, no doubt, of portraying himself as an American hero.
Of course, the leader of any nation is charged, first and foremost, with protecting the citizens of that nation. But solving this coronavirus pandemic requires a coordinated, global effort among governments and scientists, not a foolish Trumpian game of me-first. If the United States or any other country acts selfishly now, the world will remember it. Such abhorrent behavior will surely backfire while depriving us all of the cooperation and teamwork we all need right now. Trump has just made clear what “America First” truly means—and it simply has no place on this planet.