There is only one person in America who can draw hope from the events of Week #173 of the Trump Era, and that man is Roger Stone. As far as the rest of us? Not so much. For one thing, there are 77.000 fewer of us than there were when the year 2020 began, most of them preventable deaths that can be considered negligent homicide on the part of the President of the United States, a crime he keeps compounding daily.
Week #173 began on Friday when Trump’s own hand-picked intelligence chief publicly corrected him, telling the public that the narrative being pushed by Trump abut the origins of the virus are false, and that they provided him with no such intelligence report about about any “Chinese lab accident,” that Trump claimed came from them.
Before the Trump Era, it was unheard of for the Intelligence community to publicly contradict the president, but before now, we did not have Presidents who routinely lied about matters of life and death to the American people.
In an effort to shield Trump’s lies about the Coronavirus and Trump’s fatal refusal to act on solid information, the White House blocked Dr. Anthony S. Fauci from testifying before a House subcommittee investigating the coronavirus outbreak and response, arguing that it would be “counterproductive.” Trump will, however allow Fauci to testify before a Senate Committee because that committee with be dominated by Trump’s Republican coconspirators.
The “counterproductive” part of the White House claim about the House Committee is true only if you are referring to Trump’s reelection campaign, since Fauci has an annoying habit of sharing all the available data with the public and telling the unvarnished truth, insistent upon saving as many lives as possible, without a shred of regard for Trump’s political goals.
More understanding of Trump’s priorities is his new Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who held the first press conference by a While House Press Secretary in 417 days. She proved herself up to the task when her opening line to the assembled press corps was “I will never lie to you,” and then proceeded to lie her ass off, proving herself a worthy successor to Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, the Gold Standard for lying sacks of shit working for Trump.
Trump capped off the day by siding with the armed miltants that stormed the Michigan Statehouse insisting on their right to infect and kill their fellow citizens rather that be forced to endure temporary inconvenience, even thought the protestors were led by by Trump’s favorite Hatriots For Hire, the Proud Boys, a White Supremacist organization funded by anti-government Trump supporters.
Saturday saw Trump spending the weekend in Camp David, the only remaining alternative to Mar A Lago or his New Jersey golf resort, shuttered by the Covid-19 crisis along with the rest of his hotel and golf resort empire. He brought along his brain trust, such as it is, new Chief of Staff and Trump Cheerleader Mark Meadows, and First Daughter Ivanka, to plan the next step of his Administration’s Covid-19 response, the part where we ignore the spiraling body count, declare victory over the virus, reopen the country and concentrate on what matters most, Trump’s reelection. People die every day anyway, right?
Sunday seemed to Trump like a good day to desecrate the name of Abraham Lincoln just for shits and giggles, so he returned to Washington to hold a televised Town Hall meeting inside the Lincoln Memorial, an event that required the Secretary of the Interior to grant a waiver to the Department’s rules against commercializing the site and granting Trump the fist-ever admission of a film crew inside this national shrine. So, the answer is no, there is no level to which Trump will not stoop, as the week’s subsequent events would reconfirm again and again.
In view of the statue of the man who said “Just tell the people the truth and the country will be safe,” Trump proceeded to tell monumental lie after monumental lie, such as falsely claiming that “the Intel community did not bring up the Coronavirus subject matter until late into January” in spite of a mountain of documented evidence to the contrary, detailing numerous instances well before that time where Trump was presented with the facts and refused to act on them, costing the county 70 days of inactivity that doomed tens of thousands of Americans to agonizing and completely avoidable deaths.
Then he claimed that the wildfire spread of the virus in many meatpacking plants out West was no big deal, stating that the thousands of stricken meatpacking employees (!) “are rapidly getting better” (no they’re not), the complete opposite of the horrible reality unfolding in our food chain. He defended his decision to order the plants to remain open, even as meat processing executives and Republican governors conspired to keep the horrific number of Covid-19 cases and the many deaths of their employees a secret from the general public, endangering countless more lives. Trump made it clear he is so over this Covid-19 pandemic business and would now be concentrating on “more important matters” (there aren’t any).
Then he went full Pity Party as a billionaire who lives in a gold castle in the sky raged about how unfair everything is to him personally, and of course blamed the press for their hostile habit of reporting the events of the day exactly as they occurred and, even worse, quoting his exact words instead of the more reasonable things he meant to to say but must have slipped his mind in the heat of the moment.
Then he said “I am greeted with a hostile press the likes of which no president has ever seen. They always said nobody got treated worse than Lincoln. I believe I am treated worse.” Which only serves to make us wonder if President Trump might enjoy a night out at the theater as soon as he reopens the country, just to test that theory.
He also found time to attack former President Bush for having the gall to issue a videotaped statement about the pandemic that urged bipartisan cooperation, shared responsibility and national unity, which undermines Trump’s entire governing strategy, threatening to undo Trump’s years of divisive rhetoric, his policy of taking zero responsibility for the carnage he creates, and his vicious alienation of most of the America people. To underscore his commitment to his slash and burn management style, Trump blocked the publications of any information regarding the medical supply inventory of 6 key companies whose contracts were awarded through political patronage and not scientific expertise. Once again, people die anyway, right? Whats an extra 50 or 60 thousand dead in a country of 327 million people?
Speaking of thousands and thousands more avoidable deaths, Trump’s own government scientists predicted that the month of June will bring us 3,000 Covid-19 deaths per day for an estimated 135,000 pandemic deaths. Trump only reluctantly admitted this new figure, then went out of his way to increase the death toll by once against touting the drug made by a company in which he owns a financial interest, hydroxychloroquine. Reluctant to stop showing off the the longest word he ever learned and determined to cash in on the spike in sales of this drug that has been found to be useless against the Coronavirus and somethings fatal to patients, Trump once again advertised its potential (it has none).
Then Dr. Fauci confirmed the intelligence reports about the origins of the virus with scientific proof: “The best evidence shows the virus behind the pandemic was not made in a lab in China. Everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that this virus evolved in nature and then jumped species,” once again displaying a disturbing disloyalty to the Demander in Chief by not going along with the more politically useful “Blame the Bogeyman to Appeal to The Numbskulls” approach.
On Tuesday Trump once again took a trip, this time to Arizona, ostensibly to visit the Honeywell factory that was retooled to make survival masks, but in reality to make it a campaign event and to send a message to the irresponsible that it’s once again okay to travel again (it’s not okay unless you want to die). In true campaign form, Trump trotted out a few Prop Minorities, this time giving that one “Blacks For Trump” guy a rest and having several Latino workers sing his praises.
Then he said he would pay for the medial care of 150 health care workers being treated in a local nursing home, saying “they’re sending Donald Trump the bill. I can’t write it off to the government because they wouldn’t like that. But we, we’re paying for it. So make sure you get me that bill.” He can and will write it off, that is if he doesn’t stiff them altogether out of lifelong habit. He toured the mask factory still refusing the wear a mask himself because he feels it would make him look ridiculous (and no one in his inner circle has the nerve to tell him that ship sailed long ago), while some enterprising worker decided this would be a good time to blast Guns N’ Roses “Live and Let Die” over the factory’s loudspeakers.
Later that day he confirmed his inability to sustain focus on important projects, even life and death matters, by informing us that he is (!) “winding down the crisis task force” even as the the CDC warns us that the worst is yet to come. His eagerness to distance the country (and himself) from the fight against this pandemic was underscored when Dr. Rick Bright filed a whistleblower complaint, saying he was fired for issuing a report (commissioned by the Trump Administration by the way) that said, among many other damning factual statements, “pressure from HHS leadership to ignore scientific merit and expert recommendations and instead to award lucrative contracts based on political connections and cronyism.”
This unfortunate lapse into cold and factual scientific honesty only highlights Dr. Bright’s complete unsuitability to recognize the political responsibilities of running a vaccine task force. Universally considered in his field to be among the world’s top minds in the science of vaccine development, Dr. Bright fell short of the Administration’s expectations that he also serve as an echo chamber for Trump’s false claims and stop scaring the people with the frightening truths that could very well ruin his Grand Re-Opening plans. You would think scientists of all people would understand that to make an omelet you have to break some eggs. About 135,000 of them.
Trump also threatened to kill more Americans when he told Blue States to “change your sanctuary city policies” or forget about Federal help for their dying patients, in case anyone was still under the mistaken impression that saving American lives was even a secondary priority for this President.
On Wednesday cooler heads in the White House prevailed when Trump announced that his announcement of yesterday was not really an announcement and that he was now announcing that he was not winding for the task force after all, and that it would remain indefinitely. “Indefinitely” should mean forever, because that’s how it was in America before Trump disbanded our Pandemic Response Team in 2018 to save a billon dollars. That “saved” billion just cost us $4 trillion and counting in bailouts on top of the 77,000 lives so far, and sent our country into a Great Depression-style economic collapse almost overnight.
So Trump took it upon himself to find a replacement for Dr. Bright, someone he can trust not to outshine him intellectually or stray from the most important mission of all; getting Trump reelected. Turns out that guy is part of his family. Being that his son-in-law Jared and his “Shadow Task Force” of spoiled incompetent heirs to vast fortunes completely fucked up procuring and distributing protective gear for emergency personnel, Trump figures they’ve learned from their mistakes and are ready for bigger and better things.
Kushner is now being charged with changing the laws of biology, chemistry and physics so we can have a vaccine developed in record time, as if it was human laziness combined with our health care bureaucracy that prevented swiftly-delivered vaccines, and not the pace of nature itself, which has always been the deciding factor in vaccine development.
That afternoon Trump was honoring some of the frontline caregivers in the Oval Office when a nurse he was honoring spoiled his PR moment when she caught the Fauci-Bright disease and blurted out the plain truth by revealing the harrowing conditions under which they worked and the lack of personal protective equipment, saying her hospital’s supply of PPE was “sporadic.” Trump immediately chastised the nurse, saying “Sporadic for you but not sporadic for a lot of other people,” and insisted that there are no personal protective equipment shortages in the US (there are).
After calling this heroic caregiver a liar, Trump moved to retain one of his aces in the hole when it comes to his achieving his main goal of being reelected when he vetoed a Senate resolution preventing him from making war with Iran without the permission of Congress. Trump may have no idea what century which war was fought, or even in which country they occurred, but he knows damned well that wartime presidents tend to get reelected.
Thursday found Trump and his White House staff preparing to do something about the horrific Covid-19 death toll. No, not implementing effective mediation efforts, but laying the groundwork for challenging the number of deaths attributed to the virus, claiming that the official Cause of Death of Covid-19 Virus was being overused, and the numbers being purposely inflated by doctors to make him look bad (as if he needed help with that). No word yet on when they will be called “Obama Doctors.”
And speaking of being made to look bad, Trump stopped the Center for Disease Control from issuing their reopening guidelines to the nation, for the careful management of the reopening of things like child care programs, schools and day camps, churches and other “communities of faith,” employers with vulnerable workers, restaurants and bars, mass transit administrators, etc, encompassing every segments of a large and complex society.
The CDC, normally the organization whose leaders and scientists are at the forefront of informing the public about dangerous diseases, has been muzzled by Trump, for the same reasons Fauci irritates him, their unquestioned scientific achievements and world-renowned expertise on such matters.
Naturally Trump countered the CDC recommendations with a bogus “religious freedom” argument, which immediately gained support from from the legions of huckster Evangelical preachers eager to return to siphoning off the hard earned of the poorly educated that keeps them in mansions and private jets, confident in their abilities to rationalize the great loss of life their religious services will incur. Trump reads his base very well, and knows they will listen to these shiny-eyes crazy loudmouths in a flash rather the attempting to unravel the unfamiliar multisyllabic words of smart-aleck scientists without even the good sense to follow their complicated mumbo jumbo with a “Praise the Lord” or a single “can I get an an Amen!”
The CDC report was leaked to the media and revealed the Trump Administration and numerous States to be in unacceptable violation of not only this Administration’s stated guidelines for reopening, but the most basic principles of Public Health policy, which is why the death toll estimates have more than doubled, and will grow a lot higher if Trump keeps pursuing such dangerously reckless policies (count on it).
And speaking of being recklessly dangerous, Attorney General William Barr dropped the case against Trump’s first National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, after Flynn had confessed to his crimes before 2 judges and was duly convicted. That fact that Flynn is considered a traitor took a back seat to Barr in light of President Trump’s long-standing interference in this case and his open lobbying of Barr to “do something about it.” So much for the independence of the Department of Justice and even the appearance of political neutrality.
If Trump wants a thing done, Barr is willing to interpret the law in a way that gets it done, and this is the reason why Roger Stone and only Roger Stone found Week #173 so encouraging, since his convictions for lying to Congress and Witness Intimidation stemming from (just like Flynn) the 2016 Russian Election Interference on Trump’s behalf that earned him a 3-1/2 year prison sentence is the other case Trump wants reversed, by hook or by crook, and in Barr he’s found just the crook he needs.
And finally, speaking of destroying the country, or at least the Postal Service portion of America, Trump decided to appoint a new Postmaster general, choosing a major Trump donor, Louis DeJoy of North Carolina, one more toady willing to help Trump destroy the Post Office in order to (a) destroy Jeff Bezos for being 100 times richer than him, and (b) to prevent the American people from voting by mail as most States are passing Mail-In ballot laws to protect their citizens for the expected resurgence of the Covid-19 virus in the Fall. Many observers feel Trump will try to either try to postpone the election or seek to negate its results by destroying our electoral process.
The week ended on Thursday evening with Trump almost having a fateful date with Karma when it was revealed than one of his personal valets tested positive for Covid-19. Trump’s angry reaction was described as “off the charts volcanic,” a temper tantrum so extreme that even those accustomed to his rage feared he would have a stroke on the spot. His unrestrained anger at the man for contracting the virus left no room for concern about his health or wishes for a speedy recovery. Sort of like the other 77,000 victims, whose grieving families are still waiting for some expression of sympathy from a President whose consuming self-interest and criminal negligence caused their untimely deaths.