Quote of the Week: “I don’t take responsibility at all.” ~ Donald Trump
While one could argue persuasively that this quote covers Trump’s entire life, he said this in response to a reporter asking him if he felt any responsibility for the months-long delay in the American response to the Coronavirus pandemic while he downplayed the danger by labeling it a “a Democratic hoax” and “a continuation of the impeachment,” in spite of what we have learned were multiple dire warnings from multiple credible sources.
And that was before the Coronavirus became a Doomsday movie come to life, only this time Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman are in self-isolation with ominous cases of the sniffles, and even Space Force is helpless against the onslaught of a microorganism sweeping the planet like a Tic Toc video. The Trump Administration’s chaotic and ambiguous attempts to take charge of the Pandemic response while keeping the public informed have been a national disaster, with America’s bookend States providing us with leadership and effective action in the persons of New York and California Governors Andrew Cuomo and Gavin Newsom.
Week #166 of the Trump Era began, appropriately enough, on Friday the 13th, with Trump finally calling a press conference to declare a National Emergency, minus any actual rules or guidance emanating from the Federal Government, or any personal understanding on the part of the President of what it means. Fortunately for the nation, the Trump Whisperer was in attendance, the inestimable Dr. Anthony Fauci, whose job has become (on top of personally directing the massive scientific efforts to combat Coronavirus) to tell the American public the truth, and in the process has been implanting the realization in every mind that the truth is always the exact opposite of what Donald Trump just said.
It’s one thing to defend Trump’s lies and insanity when your life does not hang in the balance, quite another to follow him through the Gates of Hell just to irritate smart people. Last laughs are hard to come by in the cemetery.
If we are not careful, America just might give birth to The Era of Listening to The Experts About Complex Shit Again, and just maybe stop doing insane things like firing the country’s Pandemic Response Teams and disemboweling our scientific research capabilities.
Fauci is content to let Trump boast about “topping off the national oil reserve tank,” blame previous Presidents for raising the phony ethics and accomplishments bar too high, and insult his enemies, foreign and domestic, real or imagined, to his heart’s content. Fauci has no skin in those games, nor did he have an opinion about Louisiana postponing their primary that day out of fear of a Joe Biden contagion. During his brief communication opportunity windows between Trump’s insane lies, Dr. Fauci is laser-focused on disseminating factual information and solid medical advice.
And speaking of solid medical advice, on Saturday Trump was publicly ignoring all of it as he dismissed the possibility that he could be infected in spite of repeated exposure to infected individuals, and was out there shaking hands with a crowd of well-wishers and grabbing public railings barehanded. It would take another day of badgering by responsible people for Trump to be tested (he came up negative, by the way, so don’t get your hopes up.)
Sunday gave us a true Trump Freak Show of a press briefing, once again saved only by Fauci, a down-to Earth, no-nonsense truth machine. The nation’s airports were turning into Disaster Areas, besieged by packed crowds seeking to head home amid confusing and often conflicting travel restrictions, and zero capacity of airports to deal with any semblance of the social distancing required. One State after another was shutting down and imposing drastic measures, as all 50 States went shopping for extra hospital bed space, ventilators, testing kits and protective gear for caregivers, all in critically short supply.
The Trump Administration’s response to all this chaos that made the hashtag #PresidentCuomo go as viral as Covid-19? Trump considering out loud about whether to pardon his former National Security Advisor Micheal Flynn, convicted of lying to the FBI about his part in securing Russian interference in the 2016 Election on behalf of Trump, and Hatchetman-General William Barr beginning to dismantle the criminal cases Robert Mueller opened against the Russian masterminds of the 2016 Election Hack.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took the opportunity to urge Republican judges who are considering retirement next year to quit immediately, so that the Senate will have a chance to replace them this year with conservative judges, a clear signal that McConnell is convinced that Trump will not be reelected.
The critical shortage of Covid-19 testing kits was addressed on Monday when it was announced that a company owned by Jared Kushner and his brother Joshua would be providing them, easing the nation’s worries that the ultra-wealthy would lose some of their vast fortunes during this crisis. At $1,331 per test, we can all rejoice that Ivanka and the First Grandchildren will not suffer the pangs of penury and loss of entitlement.
Meanwhile, Dr. Fauci and his incredibly gifted and dedicated crisis management team were working overtime, battling the twin enemies of pandemic and official misinformation inexorably sweeping an unprepared nation, both dire threats potentially costing American lives.
On Tuesday, Mitch McConnell spoke to the American people about the Congressional response to the pandemic, and the American people spoke to the President about their own response to his job performance. McConnell outlined a trillion-dollar immediate bailout featuring cash payments to American citizens, to be followed up by a longterm legislative response plan later in the week. Unlike Recessions or Depressions, which develop gradually, this American financial disaster happened practically overnight, with devastatingly profound consequences to every person in the country.
To which the American people responded by handing Joe Biden another big victory in the race for the Democratic nomination, as the country seems to be deciding to go back to some semblance of normalcy and confident competence after 3-plus years of having the bumbling President Now What? in charge. All of Trump’s horses’ asses and all of their men could not put Rudy Giuliani’s Ukrainian Fairy Tale together again, and just like Trump’s claims that Covid-19 was ”a Democratic Hoax,” Americans are announcing by their actions that they realize the truth is always the polar opposite of what comes out of Donald Trump’s big yap.
As the seriousness of this disastrous pandemic grew by the hour, Trump’s beloved Stock Market numbers lost every penny that was gained since his election, and threatened to sink further. Confirmed cases of Covid-19 doubled in New York City overnight, automobile manufacturers shut down their factories, and Trump finally agreed to unleash some of the resources of the Federal Government to aid the States of the Union, even the wealthiest of which are unequipped to handle a crisis of this overwhelming magnitude.
Towards that end, he invoked an 1950 law that gave the President the power to order industry to produce medical equipment to meet a public crisis, but designated no particular company to accomplish this conversion, and placed no one in charge of the effort.
There were brief flashes on Wednesday when you said to yourself that either somebody read Trump the riot act and told him to stop acting like an asshole, or even he realized how deadly serious a business is this Covid-19 threat. He was almost (for him, anyway) acting like a normal person would, and his tangents of crazy boasting and reflexive lying were kept to a minimum.
Then on Thursday, in case anyone thought he had grown as a man and as a leader in this cauldron of crisis, he went right back to being a complete asshole, running his mouth about utter gibberish, lying just for practice, and making childishly insane boasts. He even spread a rumor that a Malaria vaccine was found to be effective against Covid-19, adding to Dr. Fauci’s workload trying to unring that bell. Which is probably all for the best, rather than encouraging any unrealistic expectations of guidance from this Administration.
Remember, “I don’t take responsibility at all” is this President’s mantra, and it is up to you and I to do whatever we can to not only survive, but to put an end the overwhelming threat of this insidious virus once and for all. Oh, and we need to combat the Coronavirus too.