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President Trump at a coronavirus press briefing
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Ross: We need Trump to be a leader, not a cheerleader

President Trump. (Getty Images)

Tuesday’s White House briefing felt at times like a group intervention, designed to force President Trump to confront the consequences of his magical thinking.

“But I want to give people hope too,” he opined. “I’m a cheerleader for the country.”

A cheerleader.

But is it really the cheerleader that gives you hope? Not exactly. Rather, it’s knowing you have a level-headed quarterback who knows what the stakes are.

“I’m not about bad news — I want to give people hope,” Trump stated. “I want to give people … a feeling that we all have a chance, I mean and they’re saying 120,000 people. You mean that’s good?”

He seems to understand what the stakes are now. I give him credit for that, but at the same time, his response to New York’s request for more ventilators included this remark:

“You know New York had a chance to buy 16,000 ventilators and I guess they didn’t take that option, that was in 2016,” Trump pointed out.

He’s bringing up 2016.

Is that how you instill hope? What instills hope is knowing that there’s a steady hand in charge. And at one point, that did seem to happen, as the president was trying to explain when the tests would be available.

“If I may Mr. President, I think your point’s well taken,” Vice President Mike Pence interjected. “The Abbott Laboratories point of contact test was approved Friday.”

That’s the first time I’ve seen the Vice President just step in on his own like that. Maybe the time has come for more of that.

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