Donald Trump’s Covid-19 Response: We’ve Seen This Movie Before

Joel Eisenberg
5 min readMar 26, 2020

Mayor Larry Vaughn first downplayed the threat, then refused to close the beach during a national holiday over concerns it would hurt the economy.

“Jaws” is one of my favorite films. It still resonates after all these years.

Boy, does it especially resonate now.

Peter Benchley’s perennial bestselling novel of the same name was the basis for Steven Spielberg’s 1975 smash, which until the release of 1977’s “Star Wars” was considered the biggest box office smash of them all, grossing $470.7 million worldwide, inclusive of $260 domestically, in unadjusted mid-1970s dollars.

For perspective, the budget was less than $9 million.

Few films, to date, have been anywhere near as profitable.


To be clear as to the point of this article …

As a character, Mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) was an indelible creation, a selfish prick of a politician but a gregarious guy more interested in the local economy than human lives.

He was willing to take the risk, despite the warnings. He knew of the recent shark attacks on Chrissie Watkins and Alex Kitner, and yet he allowed his horrid judgement to keep Amity’s beach open for the upcoming 4th of July holiday. Under pressure from Police Chief Brody (Roy Scheider), he allowed several of Amity’s locals to hunt and kill the alleged creature.

And they thought they had him, until Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) spoiled the party.

But Vaughn downplayed the issue, once proven this shark was not the beast responsible.

Joel Eisenberg

Joel Eisenberg is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and producer. The Oscar in the profile pic isn’t his but he’s scheming. WGA and Pen America member.