West Virginia loves President Donald Trump. The Mountain State went for Trump by nearly 70% in the 2016 election. As the president’s approval rating has plummeted nearly everywhere else, in West Virginia it has remained around 60%, only outdone by Wyoming, where at one point it was 64%.
But is this a one-way thing? After all, on Tuesday, President Trump said West Virginia didn’t need the glut of resources that will be going out to other states, because, at the time, there were no positive cases of coronavirus (a case was confirmed Tuesday night). Why the cold shoulder? Shouldn’t a place that’s head-over-heels for Trump get more than everyone else?
OK, OK, maybe this isn’t really about affection. After all, Trump made the remark about resources while praising Gov. “Big Jim” (as the president calls him) Justice because there were not yet any positive tests for the virus in West Virginia.
It’s not that Trump dislikes West Virginians. It’s just that, yet again, he’s shown he doesn’t understand how this whole thing works. At all.
As a social media meme put it, “You can’t test positive for coronavirus if you don’t get tested for coronavirus.”
Federal and state response to a threat that has people hunkering at home has been a complete bungle. There aren’t enough test kits to go around. State officials have said as much. Guidance on how and where to get tested has been lacking detail and clarity. West Virginians and Americans have whiplash from how the messaging on this problem has pivoted, while health agencies struggle to get plans in place.
West Virginia deserves all of the resources going to other states and, in all seriousness, perhaps more. The state’s older-than- and less-healthy-than population compared to the rest of the nation means it’s fertile ground for more serious, possibly fatal cases of this virus that is easily spread. Many West Virginians also don’t have the access to health care that people in other states do.
West Virginia needs clear guidelines for testing and financial help for those who wouldn’t be able to get tested otherwise, among many other things. Some of this is now coming together, but the late start and the president’s remarks show how leadership in West Virginia and Washington has failed the people of the Mountain State.