Will return to commentary central on Friday.
“Are you worried about getting it?
“I don’t know.”
– Reporter Bob Woodward asking President Trump if he’s worried about getting the coronavirus.
After the president was diagnosed with Covid-19 — a virus that has claimed more than 209,000 American lives — and admitted to Walter Reed Hospital, the messaging, clearly controlled by Trump, is that he is “feeling much better, now,” despite reports that his oxygen level dropped twice.
So much for Trump’s it-will-magically-disappear theory.
While Trump praised healthcare officials in a video taken in the hospital, he never used the opportunity to remind all Americans to wear masks, socially distance and follow the guidance of professionals. For weeks leading up to his diagnosis, in an act of complete irresponsibility, Trump held several campaign rallies with hundreds of close-quartered supporters, most of whom were not wearing masks.
At Tuesday’s presidential debate, Trump mocked former vice-president Joe Biden for wearing a mask.
“Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away … and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”
While the Cleveland Clinic, who was hosting the debate, required all audience members to wear a mask and distance themselves from others, Trump’s family members entered the hall wearing masks only to remove them before the debate. Once again, the messaging was clear: the rules are different for Trump and his family from those laid out by experts in order to protect ourselves and others.
However, the virus is just one of an avalanche of crises the country has been facing beginning with the death of Breonna Taylor, a black woman shot and killed by police in her own apartment on March 13. Two months later, a video vividly captured the death of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of police.
In the last several months, we have seen racial justice protests throughout the country, the death of a revered supreme court justice, and witnessed the rush to fill her seat by hypocritical Republican Senators.
In yet another show of irresponsibility, the president introduced the new Supreme Court nominee in a White House Rose Garden ceremony. As a video of the event clearly showed, all those in attendance were not distanced, few wore face masks and several shook hands. Several at the ceremony have since been diagnosed with the virus including two Republican Senators, two of Trump’s debate team, one of whom, Chris Christie, has also been hospitalized.
On September 27, The New York Times reported that after legally obtaining more than 20 years of tax records, “Mr. Trump paid no federal income taxes in 11 of 18 years. In 2017, after he became president, his tax bill was only $750.”
Two days later, Bob Woodward released his book, Rage, whose biggest revelation, is that President Trump willfully misled the public about the coronavirus last March, saying that “I wanted to always play it down… I don’t want to create a panic.”
Based on 18 interviews Woodward conducted with the president, “Trump never did seem willing to fully mobilize the federal government and continually seemed to push problems off on the states,” Woodward writes. “There was no real management theory of the case or how to organize a massive enterprise to deal with one of the most complex emergencies the United States had ever faced.”
Then there’s the mail-in ballot “scandal” that Trump continues to peddle. Behind in the polls and fearing a loss, he has taken to twitter.
NPR reported, “IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!” he tweeted.
RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS. IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2020
Election officials have called all of this “preposterous” and “false.”
“ ‘Election officials spend a great deal of our time building in security measures,’ said Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a Republican. ‘The idea that people could print millions of ballots either within the country or external to the country, just on its face, is not going to pass muster with an election official.’ ”
“ ‘We have not seen, historically, any kind of coordinated national voter fraud effort in a major election, whether it’s by mail or otherwise,’ FBI Director Wray told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.”
Throughout it all, Trump continues to obfuscate, and lie to the country. The convergence of all these crises and his style of governance once again demonstrates that Trump is incapable of following the direction of experts about his own health as well as governing the health and welfare of the country.
Perhaps the most recent example of Trump’s irresponsibility came yesterday, when he had Secret Service agents drive him around the front of the hospital for a photo-op with cheering supporters. Despite having a “deadly disease,” as Trump himself described to Woodward, he brazenly put the lives of staff and Secret Service agents at considerable risk despite a medical directive stressing that virus patients should be quarantined?
Even when he has been diagnosed with a serious case of Covid-19, Trump continues to operate under the “rules-don’t-apply-to-me” clause.
One message for the rest of us, however, was made clear by debate host and Fox news anchor, Chris Wallace: “Wear the damn mask!”