For most of the country, Week #170 of the Trump Era was a blur. No, not the usual blur of cyclonic imbecility that Trump normally throws our way every single day, but the numbing sameness of every day as the nation settled into its 3rd week (or is it the 4th?) of enforced home-isolation. Is there a difference between a Monday or a Thursday anymore? Does it matter?

After all, the Trump Groundhog Day Show is still on every day at 5(ish), and even by Reality Show standards, it’s very predictable, even eerie in its déjà vu-inducing sameness. The object is to guess who is telling the truth and who is lying, and the answer is always the same every nameless day: Fauci tells the truth and Trump lies his ass off. Talk about writer’s bloc! Can’t they tweak the formula even a tiny little bit to let us all know that today is indeed different from yesterday, even it is only the slightest change of pace?

On Friday, in the middle of a nationwide outcry for more testing, Trump decided he wants to cut down on the testing, claiming we do “more testing than anyone” (we have more sick people than anyone) and that “we have beautiful tests” (WTF is that even?), as 3 Americans died every minute from Covid-19, most of them never having been tested. Ignoring all the science and data, he also decided he would stage a Grand Re-Opening of America on May 1st, like it was one of his hotels that was closed for renovation. 

By Saturday the entire world was talking about Trump again (his only goal every single day of his life), only they were unanimously calling him a dangerous imbecile who was the absolute worst possible president imaginable that America could have during such a desperate crisis. But they were talking about him, so there’s that…

Saturday was also the day when Senate Republicans refused to extend their ballyhooed small business lending program to community and minority-owned banks, or to (!) State budgets (some States just can’t be trusted not to make it their policy treat their minority citizens as equals).

Sunday found Wyoming making it unanimous, marking the first time ever that all 50 United States were undergoing a National Emergency at the same time, the Covid-19 Pandemic. To make matters worse, another dire emergency arose just then, but this time Trump did not hesitate to act for 70 days, but instead immediately formed an Oil Alliance with Russia and Saudi Arabia to prevent wealthy oil investors from having to bear any of the financial burden of this global pandemic (phew!). Production was cut to keep oil prices high, thus reassuring a stressed and fearful America that yes, Victoria, there is a Santa Claus! For the very wealthy only, but still…

On his Sunday Groundhog Day Show, Trump quadrupled down on his ridiculous lies about all the testing he has supposedly been hands-on supervising, then suddenly shifted gears and laid the blame on the States and their Governors for the national failure in testing, Tweeting this to them (sic): “get your states testing programs & apparatus perfected. Be ready, big things are happening. No excuses! The Federal Government is there to help. We are testing. More than any country in the World. Also, gear up with Face Masks!”

Other than the “gear up with face masks” part, none of what he said made a lick of sense, especially when he says things that are the exact opposite of what he said the previous day. Then there was the riff about killing off the Postal System of a major country (ours). Trump already had one valid reason to try to kill the United States Post Office; his consuming jealousy of Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon. Now, (Silver Lining Time!) the Covid-19 crisis has caused the Post Office to lose income, giving Trump a tailor-made excuse to sharpen his axe to chop off one of our limbs as he adamantly refused to consider providing emergency funding for the USPS.

Since Trump is deathly afraid that all 50 States will institute mail-in voting in the face of a likely lingering virus threat in November, he threatened to “shut it down” due to the sudden nationwide drop in postal activity and thus postal revenue, loudly exclaiming “not on my watch” about the national Mail-in Voting Act now moving through Congress, and lying about the potential for voter fraud by mail-in ballots (even though every study finds 0% voter fraud).

Lacking any veto power over State laws that will allow every voter to mail in their ballot, he figures to veto the Post Office itself instead.

He hasn’t presided over 3 years of voter disenfranchisement by his fellow Republicans of Democratic voters just to see it undone by bipartisan democracy! Since he was already willing to shut down our Postal Service to pursue a petty personal vendetta, shutting it down to cheat his way to reelection has already become one of Trump’s famous obsessions.

Doctor Fauci did Trump a favor on Sunday night when he gave him something else to be outraged about (his raison d’être) when the brilliant doctor did a TV interview and told the truth about Trump’s delayed response to Covid-19. Now, everyone already knows about Trump’s 2018 decision to fire the entire Federal Pandemic Response Team that had successfully thwarted 3 pandemics, everyone already knows about the 70 day delay in Federal response to this pandemic, everyone already knows that Trump received about 10 Red Alert warnings about the pandemic from the very highest levels of his own government in ample time to avoid our catastrophic and ever-rising death toll, everyone already knows the chaotic failure of the testing process and Trump’s continuing lies about it, everyone already knows that Trump shamelessly advertised a phony cure that killed people just 2 weeks ago, everyone already knows that Trump denied certain States lifesaving supplies a week ago, and everyone is witnessing their President shrinking into a shrieking Munchkin before their very eyes on national TV daily.

So, by comparison, this statement by Dr. Fauci seems tame, diplomatic and rather obvious: “If you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives.” Nope. That infuriated Trump and he came very close to firing the leader of his own vaccine team. 

Trump’s unbridled fury continued through Monday’s Groundhog Day Show, when (again, even for him) he went into crazy-lying overdrive, once again flipping between MAGA rally boasting, intransigent insistence upon some seriously insane delusions, and his repeated very personal and very vicious attacks on reporters (his tried and true kill-the-messenger gambit).

Vice President Pence tried to mollify Trump with a thorough ass-kissing, but Trump could not be contained as he smiled and gloated about (!!) the number of American dead bodies, and then immediately instructed Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin to give us the (!) good news, but Mnuchin was clearly not up to pulling a Rumpelstiltskin and spinning gold from the tangled clumps of dry straw that is the Trump Administration’s substitute for leadership. Even Dr. Fauci appeared to be in “mollify the beast” mode early in the press briefing.

Then Trump delivered the coup ‘d crazy when he in effect declared himself king, in possession of dictatorial powers over the States. He said they will reopen their economies when he tells them to, issuing veiled threats to “rogue Governors.” You know, those rogues who at this moment are moving Heaven and Earth to save people’s lives, working 15 hour days and keeping their citizens reliably informed? Yeah, those rogues.

Dr. Fauci did manage to provide a decent ending to this especially disturbing episode when he assured the American people that his own team’s report to the President would be influenced only by hard science, the latest hard data and sound medical practice, and cautioned every American to continue to practice strict social separation because that is the only thing that works, giving Trump’s May 1st goal the fisheye and calling it “highly unlikely,” a direct challenge to Trump’s desired strategy of taking our foot off the brakes because the car has been considerably slowed down as we approach the cliff. 

Early Tuesday morning, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo came out swinging in a series of TV interviews on every major TV station, repeatedly throwing the C-word at Trump, “Constitution,” and refuting his disturbing claims of supreme authority. Cuomo has become a new Bogeyman for Trump due to his commanding and very capable handling of New York’s Covid-19 crisis, the State hit hardest by this pandemic. Cuomo’s daily briefings for New Yorkers at 11AM have become a nationwide television and YouTube hit for a country starved for honest leadership, and Trump views every bit of praise for Cuomo as praise stolen from him, and considers every headline and editorial that is not about Donald Trump to be an abomination and a supreme insult.

When it came time for Trump’s Tuesday edition of his combo (listed in in order of their importance) Reality Show/MAGA Rally/Press Briefing, he was the very image of a furious imbecile losing control of a critically important situation (assuming of course that anyone outside of the screenwriters of Peter Sellers movies spend much time conjuring such mental images). Ignoring every shred of reality unfolding in front of him, he babbled on about reopening the country by May 1st, that there is “light at end of tunnel” (there is not) and doubled down on his idiotic assertion that he has omnipotent power (he does not). He declared there are other countries doing worse than us (there are not). Then, in a reversal of every opinion he’s ever given on the topic of giving American aid to anyone for any reason, he announced we would be sending these countries medical help and supplies, since we clearly have the situation in hand (we most certainly do not).

Trump decided this would be a good time to brag that it would be his signature on the $1,200 stimulus checks to every taxpayer, an unprecedented act of incredibly needy vanity and a craven attempt to take credit for a law written in the Senate and approved by both Houses of Congress. It will be the first time any President’s name has appeared on an IRS disbursement. His hope is that Americans are so stupid that they will think that this relative pittance was a gift from Donald Trump instead of a sop designed to shut us up about the $2 trillion of our hard-eared handed over to the same mega-corporations that Trump allowed to skip out on their taxes last year.

Then he named the members of something called “The Council to Reopen America,” filled with Trump’s family members, corrupt billionaires in his cabinet, Trump ass lickers and prominent business leaders, many of them unaware of the existence if this Council, never mind their own membership in same. See, the Council to Reopen America isn’t really a thing, just the fevered invention of a snake oil salesmen who senses he is losing his audience. There is no address for The Council to Reopen America, no staff, no budget and no clearly-defined duties or stated mission. 

Perhaps finally getting some reality hammered through his thick skull by an especially patient subordinate, Trump did manage to back off his self-coronation of the previous 2 days and admit that “Governors will reopen their States on their own timetable,” then immediately undermined this admission by stating that some areas of the country “will open before May 1st,” thus dooming Dr. Fauci to another round of wasting his valuable time explaining in as nice a way as he can manage that Trump is dead wrong again, time he could be spending directing the vital scientific work to find a vaccine that is the only way of ending this threat.

Then, recognizing his regrettable lack of a comfortable number of people he can plausibly blame for his own ineptitude (dream on, Clouseau!), Trump went scapegoat hunting and decided that the World Health Organization fit the bill admirably, so he announced his suspension of payments by the USA to the W.H.O., payments authorized by Congress and signed into law by Trump himself, meaning that Trump is attempting to commit the exact same crime that got him impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors when he withheld Congressionally approved funds from Ukraine in order to advance his personal agenda.

Coupling racism with crazy lies (Trump’s winning formula in 2016) he asserted that the W.H.O. is guilty of ‘“pushing Chinese misinformation” and for not blaming China enough for America’s troubles (very shortly after the other side of his mouth effusively praised China’s handling of the pandemic), and declared their funding was “under review pending an investigation.”  This if course inspired a chorus of outraged protest and even more ridicule for President Laughingstock as the joke wore extremely thin.

Wednesday Trump once again reversed course on a dime and reclaimed his crown, once again proclaiming that he had absolute power over the States, even as many of the prominent business leaders named to his make-believe council recommended far more testing before they would even think of reopening their businesses, stating plainly that they refused to kill their employees just to please an incoherent and incompetent lunatic doing his level best to sabotage his own country. Or words to that effect…

Then, rising to the challenge to wear his lunatic mantle with pride, out of the blue Trump threatened to adjourn Congress so he can appoint his equally incompetent nominees to important government positions without Senate oversight, claiming that his kingly powers gave him the right to do so, giving even the Doctor Frankensteins in the Republican Party reason to balk as the monster they created now turned on them, as Mitch McConnell and his 52 Igors in the Senate loudly dismissed the insane idea of leaving America without a branch of its government during a dire National Emergency just so Trump could hire more useless cheerleaders to applaud his reckless destruction of America.

Then on the final day of the chaotic Week #170 of the Trump Era, Trump nearly caused another pandemic, this one of severe whiplash caused by yet another abrupt about-face regarding his power over the States, when he told America’s State Governors via conference call that “You’re going to call your own shots, you’re going to be calling the shots” regarding the reopening of individual States. Then he once again passed the buck and renounced his responsibilities as this nation’s leader by telling them not to look for any unifying leadership from the Federal government (which exists for no other purpose but unified leadership of its member States. That pesky C-word again!) by saying “We’ll be standing right alongside you, and we’re going to get our country open and get it working. People want to get working.”

Perhaps in an effort to stem the flow of the counterproductive science and fact-based information coming from his own Administration and undermining his cherished delusions, Trump named Vladimir Putin’s former Public Relations man to be the spokesman for the United States Health Department, naming one Michael Caputo as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, a man who was intimately involved in the 2016 coordination of the Trump campaign with the Russian criminals who were actively interfering in our election, and who spent last year aiding and abetting  Trump’s and Giuliani’s crimes in Ukraine.

And speaking of appointing dangerous incompetents to sensitive and crucial positions, Trump doubled down on his attempts to destroy our intelligence-gathering capabilities by nominating one Steven Feinberg as the #2 man at the Nation Intelligence Agency, a businessman who owns a mercenary army corporation who has exactly no experience in the highly complex field of Intelligence-gathering and its real world applications, but who happens to be one of Trump’s largest financial backers and a willing stooge eager to loosen the stranglehold that scientists are shamelessly trying to gain on the Covid-19 narrative with their suspicious and confusing “science and data”(and it is worth mentioning that not a single one of these science geeks ever once mentioned “following their gut.”)

That was also the day that the Small Business Emergency Lending Fund ran out of money (even for White-owned businesses!), another pressing need that required the presence of Congress, even as Trump undermined every effort at achieving a unified, measured and fact-based approach to containing the virus and safely opening the country again.

For that extreme breed of Deep Trump aficionados, too many of whom are basically walking gasoline cans in search of a match, the President’s hysterical and inflammatory rhetoric about the Covid-19 crisis pushed hundreds of them into committing unspeakable violations of the emergency measures instituted by various States, both by besieging State Capitol Buildings and in one extreme case surrounding a (!) hospital in the Midwest. You know, the same hospitals that are already completely overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients, many of them in danger of dying. 

These hatriots stopped listening in March when Trump was still calling the virus a Democratic Hoax 20 times a day, often 5 or 6 times in a row without taking a breath, kind of impressive as these things go.

These insufferable pinheads decided to protest their State’s closures and health protocols by blocking all access to public roads (and any ambulances carrying Covid patients when they got in the way it their uniformed rage) in the midst of the most extreme health crisis in a century, demonstrating, more than anything else, their willingness to kill people rather than endure a temporary inconvenience (like everyone with a lick of sense and an ounce of empathy is doing). Are the words “National Emergency” ambiguous or something?

The same people who chant “lock her up” at the drop of a syllable are suddenly all Man in The Iron Mask because they have to shelter in their homes for the common good of their communities (to say nothing of the good of the country they claim the exclusive right to properly love). Guess again, MAGA breath, they didn’t have cupcakes and flatscreen TVs in the dungeon, hoarding toilet paper wasn’t even a thing in the Iron Mask guy’s day, and his sentence lasted every single month of his life, not just the one.

When some of these worthies left the relative safety of their cars to gather close together in public in a swap meet of viral spores, one of the half wit organizers of the events Tweeted (from the safety of his own home of course) this typo-laden gem: “Now we are going to be portrayed as far right extremist. Thanks allot jerks…Stay in your dam car and put the freaking rifles away…You’re going to ruin this for everyone!” 

To which one can only reply “Rifles now? RIFLES? WTF?” Can’t these nimrods even get their delusions straight, or did Trump tell them that Covid-19 is coming for their guns as well as Granny’s life?  

This leaves us on our own, as Americans and as human beings. Each of us in our own lives have dealt with and overcome countless difficulties of every sort imaginable, even devastating challenges and profound losses. What those experiences leave us with is the sure knowledge that we know we can rise to this occasion as well.

We will get through this. We will bury our dead, mourn our losses and together move on as one country, under new leadership, following a new direction and fighting for fairer laws. And we will move on as people, most of us with a clear conscience that we did our very best to do our part during one of the most terrible ordeals in our country’s history. Most of us, anyway. 

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