On February 29 at 2 p.m., Donald Trump announced that a Coronavirus death had occurred in the U.S. “It was a woman in her 50s with underlying health problems.” Typical Trump, at 5 p.m. we learned it was a man.
He also reported there were only 15 cases and those were improving so much soon the number would drop to 10 and then to zero. (While he called it a “hoax,” and Kellyanne “alternative facts” Conway and Larry Kudlow insisted it was “contained,” two weeks later the virus was a pandemic.)
Trump also predicted that when the weather warms up in April, “magically” it will all disappear. (Which is what I wish he would do.) Related to the virus, Trump’s friend, Alex Jones, the right-wing conspiracy shill, who claimed the murders at Sandy Hook were staged, has a new con. His “Superblue Fluoride-Free Toothpaste,” infused with “nanosilver,” kills the Coronavirus and for only $7.47.
Alex, however, is a tad behind Jim Bakker, the convicted felon evangelist who infamously claimed “God chose Trump so we better obey him.” In 1989, however, Bakker was sentenced to 45 years for mail and wire fraud but was released after five years. Bakker has been hawking a $300 a bottle snake oil that purports to also kill the virus. (Both Bakker’s and Jones’ outrageous scams have a long way to catch Don the Con’s $25 million rip-off, Trump University.)
On Wednesday, an extremely “low energy,” raspy-voiced Trump gave a boring 11-minute speech announcing a 30-day ban of flights from Europe to the U.S. Again, typical Trump, minutes later the White House scrambled to correct errors in the speech. My guess is Trump’s “plan” will be as effective as Jones’ toothpaste and Bakker’s snake oil.
Regarding the virus, Trump has displayed massive incompetence and disinformation. But Mike Pence is still praying, and Trump is reportedly waiting on “Public Health Expert” Jared Kushner before deciding on declaring a national Coronavirus emergency. (Assuming there is a God, I hope She takes pity on us.)
I’m still reeling from the things Trump has said and done, or not done, as in testing for the virus. Whereas Italy has tested 826 people per million and South Korea 4,000 per million, we’ve tested five people per million.
Speaking of Italy, they’re under a countrywide lock down. And many U.S. epidemiology experts estimate we are approximately 10 days behind Italy. (So what’s the bad news you ask?)
Trump has met with experts but he doesn’t listen. Remember his 2016 campaign proclamation, “I, alone, can fix this.” Take for example his meeting with scientists at CDC. He showed up wearing white pants, an open shirt and a windbreaker like he was coming from a backyard barbecue. All he needed was a spatula. As people are dying and the stock market is crashing, Trump was wearing a “Keep America Great” campaign hat. (How about “Keep America Alive?”)
Trump proceeded to boast how impressed the doctors supposedly were with his medical knowledge. He even said, “Maybe I should have gone into that instead of running for president.” (I’m screaming at the TV, “If only!”)
Trump’s staggering lack of empathy almost seems sub-human. It was clearly evidenced following the 2019 horrendous mass shooting in El Paso that left 22 dead. Eight badly injured survivors were being treated at a hospital that Trump insisted on visiting. (Despite all eight insisting they didn’t want to even see his face!)
So there’s Trump talking about crowd size with medical staff who clearly wish they were somewhere else, anywhere else. “You know I was here just a few months ago and we had the biggest rally in El Paso history. Crazy Beto (O’Rourke) had a rally and only 400 showed up.”
Later, Trump posed for a photo with Melania who’s lovingly holding an infant who, as a result of the mass shooting, is now an orphan. But Trump, thumbs up, is smiling from ear to ear as if he’s at the grand opening of one of his golf courses.
In this same vein, ten days ago, Nashville was hit by a horrific tornado leaving mass destruction and twenty-four dead. Again, wearing a campaign hat, Trump toured the area fascinated that an 8-year-old boy was blown in the air three blocks away and survived. Finally, Trump casually asks about the boy’s parents. “They died,” an official says somberly, adding “his sister died, too. In fact, he lost his whole family.”
Does Trump exclaim, “Oh, my God,” or show a semblance of basic human empathy? Nope, he’s such a malignant narcissist, he’s incapable. Instead, he’s still amazed the tornado blew the kid in the air three blocks away.
As I wash my hands for the 10th time today, I’m haunted by the “what if” of Trump’s suggestion maybe he should have done something else than run for president.
Jack is at: facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth and email@example.com