Contagion in Chief

I don’t know about you, but I am spent – emotionally, psychologically spent from everything Trump does, declares, defies, defiles, denies and doublebacks.

For nearly four years, the country has endured Trump’s erratic autocracy from name-calling to pulling out of treaties; from Twitter rants to his recent doublebacks on a stimulus plan.

He’s gone from fawning over administration appointments to flagrant antagonism when they leave: Sec. of State, Rex Tillerson, “dumb as a rock”; Sec. of Defense, James Mattis, “overrated”; and Chief of Staff John Kelly, a four-star Marine general who served in the Persian Gulf war, Operation Desert Storm and Iraq war, “unable to handle the pressure.”

Alternatively, “…14 Trump aides, donors and advisers have been indicted or imprisoned since the days when the first-time candidate promised that he would only hire ‘the best people.’ ”

When it comes to foreign policy, Trump regularly disrespects allies while praising dictators, even as he is regularly manipulated by China, Russia and North Korea.

With the highest death toll in the world from a virus that hasn’t been seen in 100 years, Trump’s response is classic: blame China; tell the American people that “it’s going to disappear” like “magic” (tell that to the more than 210,000 family members who have lost loved ones); and withdraw from the World Health Organization, a group which led the eradication of polio.

His disdain for advice from the CDC and science experts led to a packed Rose Garden event that medical experts call a superspreader event which triggered more cases at the White House and Washington including Trump and First Lady Melania. His recklessness, however, didn’t prevent him from holding a rally on the lawn of the White House less than two weeks later with several hundred supporters, many of whom wore masks, but were closely packed together – the most recent morally reprehensible action to date.*

Absent any documentation about when the president last tested negative or details of his infection, his doctors have cleared him to attend outside events. And all the doctors who treated Trump had to sign non-disclosure agreements, (except for two brave souls who refused last year).

With Western states suffering from unrelenting fires, Southern states suffering devastating hurricanes brought about by climate change, race justice marches, and the rising number of coronavirus cases (more than 50,000 per day), the most infectious disease facing the country is not Covid-19, it’s Trump, himself. He is a deadly cocktail of ego, drama, and chaos even as he continues to incite violence against anyone who dares challenge him.

On Thursday, it was reported that the FBI had thwarted an attack on Michigan’s governor, Gretchen Witmer.

Vox reported that “Earlier this year, a man named Adam Fox recorded a video in which he called Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer a ‘tyrant bitch’ for closing the state’s gyms.

“Now, he and five other men known as the ‘Wolverine Watchmen’ have been arrested on conspiracy charges, accused of plotting to kidnap the governor in retribution for her actions to limit the spread of Covid-19.”

Trump has turned lying, cheating, prejudice and lack of listening and responding to intelligence reports, (perhaps the most critical job of presidential decision-making) into an “art form.”

His latest chaos-du-jour is seeding his supporters with talk of a “rigged” election. Despite congressional testimony from his own FBI director, Trump says, “…the only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged,” due to millions of mail-in ballots. “Stand Back and Stand By,” Trump declared at the first presidential debate with his opponent, Joe Biden. His purposeful call-to-arms gives his vigilante supporters all the justification necessary to show up at polling sites. One can only speculate what’s going to happen.

Adding to the toxicity is Attorney General William Barr who has turned the Department of Justice into Trump’s personal get-out-of-jail card and attack dog against his opponents, even those from 4 years ago!

“Nearly 2,000 former Justice Department employees,” CNN reports “criticized Attorney General William Barr for moving to drop the charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn… saying in an open letter… that Barr had ‘assaulted the rule of law’ and have called for him to resign.

“ ‘Make no mistake: The Department’s action is extraordinarily rare, if not unprecedented,’ the letter says. ‘If any of us, or anyone reading this statement who is not a friend of the President, were to lie to federal investigators in the course of a properly predicated counterintelligence investigation, and admit we did so under oath, we would be prosecuted for it.’ ”

The convergence of all these actions is nothing less than an attack on democracy, itself.

With his rally supporters and vigilantes, Trump is the most virulent virus the country has endured in 150 years, and the only effective vaccine is the ballot box and a belief and re-dedication to the ideals of American democracy.

 *But wait! Trump plans on putting many more lives at risk with several campaign rallies planned this week.

1 comment… add one
  • Gary Lange October 12, 2020, 5:00 pm

    How sad that our commander in chief “declares, defies, defiles, denies and doublebacks.” Thanks Jim for putting this into a short article.

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