Secretary Modly addressed Crozier’s crew over the ship’s loudspeakers. Punctuated with profanity, his words provide a fascinating case study in speechmaking around sensitive topics.
…Modly’s address also included broad, blanket statements and he spoke in absolute terms, which should be avoided in such circumstances.
…Modly’s mention of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee by name made it virtually impossible to claim the speech was not political.
…Knowing your audience and speaking to them in terms that are likely to resonate with them is something most speakers at least attempt to do. Modly didn’t bother. He mocked the crew’s popular leader, who has tested positive for COVID-19, by sarcastically calling him “a martyr C.O. who wasn’t getting the help he needed.”
….Modly asserts incorrectly and definitively that “no one expected this pandemic.” A range of astute observers and global health professionals have been warning us about this very topic for years.
…“The only reason we are dealing with this right now is a big authoritative regime called China was not forthcoming about what was happening with this virus,” said Modly. But we know from extensive, highly sourced reporting that the president and his administration were being briefed on the situation developing in China as early as the first days of January.
Incompetence? Meet arrogance and malice.
In the years, decades, and centuries to come, teachers and students will point to the Trump administration as the definition of what not to do.
In fact, after this TrumpVirus crisis is over, Trump might just come to mean the opposite of not only what is right but the opposite of intelligent thinking and might become shorthand for “what not to do.”