On the coronavirus, nationalists aren’t nationalist enough

One might think the coronavirus would activate Trump’s defensive instincts at least as much as supposedly problematic immigrants and Chinese-made products. But the same Trump who in 2015 famously urged a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims coming into the United States until we could “figure out what is going on,” has largely tried to shrug off the dangers of a new disease the risks of which are still not fully known.

He’s brought many of his supporters along with him. Seeking to provide him political cover and reacting against a perpetually hostile media, they’ve resorted to every possible argument to dismiss the threat of the coronavirus. It’s just like the flu. Only old people die. The swine flu killed more people.

And so, what is supposed to be a populist nationalist movement is reacting foolishly to what otherwise would be a natural populist nationalist issue.

It is China, the country that Trump supporters rightly want the U.S. to be more suspicious of and less reliant on, that gave the world the coronavirus. Surely this is more damaging than, say, putting together iPhones.