“I don’t think it’s a failure; I think it’s a success.”
— Trump declares bankruptcy 2003, ‘Dark Towers’ pg. 115
“I take no responsibility”; “I have total authority.”
— Trump pandemic comments April 2020
“That’s just classic Trump, to brag about how in-demand an emergency bailout is. If he was captain of the Titanic, you’d just know he’d be saying, ‘I just want to congratulate everyone! These lifeboats have become so popular. A few weeks ago, nothing. Now they’re moving like hotcakes. It’s really a tribute to a well-run ship.”
— John Oliver, ‘Last Week Tonight’
By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (4/16/20)
Dear Fellow Readers,
Trump’s behavior this week is shocking, even for Trump. During Trump’s Monday nightly pandemic campaign rally Trump offered:
“When somebody is the president of the United States, the authority is total. And that’s the way it’s got to be. It’s total.”
From the man that carries the metrics for our wellbeing in his head while he washes his hands of a plan for scaling testing as a precursor for ‘reopening’ and holds the governors accountable. Crows: full authority – while accepting no responsibility.
This is the guy delaying mailing checks to people that need it to buy food so the IRS can imprint with his signature. This is the guy who briefs us on his pandemic response with references to his standing on social media, “I just found out I’m number one on Facebook. I thought that was very nice. For whatever it means, it represents something.”
This is the guy that de-funds the World Health Organization to deflect blame for ignoring early warnings from his own intelligence groups and cabinet over a looming pandemic, deferring to the lies of Chinese President Xi and his own calculation for reelection. Facts subordinated to Trump’s ‘will’. Our lives put at risk through his selfishness.
A confederation of states aligns to develop a strategy for reopening. Trump has accomplished something we’ve not seen for over 150 years – he tests the concept of the United States as a federal republic of 50 states.
This makes sense for a densely populated area of the US that has been hard hit:
“…The officials participating in the effort, Mr. Cuomo (Gov. Cuomo D-NY) said, would “study the data, study the research, study the experience of other countries, and give us guidelines and parameters to go forward.”
““Let’s be smart and let’s be cooperative and let’s learn from one another,” Mr. Cuomo said.”
The seventh state to join is Massachusetts, the only one with a Republican governor.
Similarly, “California, Oregon governors lay out framework to resume public life and business as coronavirus deaths soar.”
These alignments for adjacent states make sense and should be done under any scenario. But this is underscored by the lack of guidance from Trump. Trump wants us to believe that his late act of halting direct flights from China saved lives even though COVID-19 was already in the US; it was too late by then.
More than 25% of the confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally (now over 2 million) are in the US as well as about 20% of the deaths attributed to the virus. Trump wants us to see this as a success.
We hear Trump say, “I take no responsibility.” We consider what Trump knew, when he knew it and what action he took or did not take. But what conclusions do we draw – is he right, he’s saved thousands of lives, or did he fail to act and cost thousands of lives?
Here is a single moment that encapsulates Trump’s failure to act, his defensiveness and his retaliation against anyone that would dare question – in this case, CBS reporter Paula Reid. Trump starts his daily self-promotion show with the equivalent of a campaign video, a timeline of all the great things he claims to have done to make us safe. Consider Trump’s response to Paula Reid’s question against this backdrop.
Reporters have been stepping up their challenges of Trump and the video was offered as his rebuttal – I choose not to offer a link to what is essentially a campaign video. The main point, even with Trump’s best case presentation, the month of February is glaringly absent for anything other than Trump’s dismissal of the risk of COVID-19 and a mere 3,000 CDC test kits shipped on February 6.
This is the challenge Paula Reid repeatedly puts to Trump, you have to watch the video to fully appreciate the questioning, the non-answer and his aspersion of her; here is part of the exchange over, “what did your administration do in February…?”:
“A lot,” Trump replied.
“What?” Reid pressed.
“A lot,” Trump reiterated. “And, in fact, we’ll give you a list of what we did. And, in fact, part of it was up there. We did a lot.”
“It wasn’t in the video,” Reid said. “The video had a gap.”
“Look. Look. You know you’re a fake,” Trump replied. “You know that? Your whole network, the way you cover it is fake.”
Watch the video here.
One final version, take a look at how CNN’s chyron writer handled the exchange in real time, starting with “Angry Trump Turns Briefing Into Propaganda Session”. It’s sprinkled with “Trump Melts Down in Angry Response”, “…Uses Task Force Briefing to Try to Rewrite History…”.
Trump is costing us lives even as he tries to rewrite the history of his failure.
Here is writer and former G.W. Bush adviser David Frum’s thorough treatment for The Atlantic. Thorough and damning: This Is Trump’s Fault: The president is failing, and Americans are paying for his failures.
Misadventures of Mini-Trump DeSantis
Here is a check-in on Gov. Ron ‘Mini-Trump’ DeSantis of Florida. DeSantis ran his campaign for governor as the person most in lock-step with Trump, including a video with him ‘teaching’ his daughter to “build the Wall.“ More importantly, he resisted all pressure to declare a lockdown to abide by Trump and state businesses. While there is daily speculation over whether Trump will dismiss Dr. Anthony Fauci, DeSantis has done the equivalent of that to Florida:
“Florida’s Surgeon General Scott A. Rivkees was removed from state Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ cabinet coronavirus meeting today moments after stating that social distancing measures would need to continue until the creation of a vaccine. Video captured Rivkees‘ comment and his subsequent removal by DeSantis‘ Communications Director, Helen Aguirre Ferré.”
People will die and the struggle to contain COVID-19 will be prolonged but there is a Red state school of aligning with Trump and valuing the economy over lives – which sadly will achieve, the opposite of what they offer as a goal.
DeSantis is not alone as a Red state governor putting business ahead of personal safety. “South Dakota’s governor resisted ordering people to stay home. Now it has one of the nation’s largest coronavirus hot spots.”
One result of South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s declaration that “There would be no statewide order to stay home” is a COVID-19 outbreak at the “world’s biggest pork processor, Smithfield Foods, will shut a South Dakota plant indefinitely after employees tested positive for the coronavirus.” More than 300 workers have fallen ill with “57 more workers confirmed” on Monday out of a work force of 3,700 people. The knock-on for disruption of food supply, the workers put at risk or worse, many cannot safely access health care because they are undocumented…. This event highlights so many problems we’ve been unwilling to address politically with the worst of this falling on these workers, their families and their community.
Trump’s Red state/Blue state – N.Y. Got $12,000 Per Virus Case, by One Count. Nebraska Got $379,000.
I have often commented on the use of propaganda by foreign state entities to undermine and disrupt US politics and unity. Russia is the worst and it’s not that they are at it again, it’s that they never stop. Beyond the 2016 election to benefit Trump, Russia has a long history using pandemics as a destabilizing message.
Remember, propaganda is not intended to get you to change your mind, it’s meant to trigger angry responses against anyone not aligned with your view – discord.
From AIDS to Ebola to COVID-19, Russia has been at it. While “Putin has been a staunch proponent of vaccines”, the Russian disinformation directed at us is to “encourage Americans to see vaccinations as dangerous and federal health officials as malevolent.”
Failing the test
What Trump values most is his image. Trump refuses to accept responsibility for testing as a necessary step to ‘reopening’ putting lives at risk. The sad fact is testing in the US is actually in decline, while Trump continues to lie about the ease of accessing testing for any that want it:
“The number of coronavirus tests analyzed each day by commercial labs in the U.S. plummeted by more than 30 percent over the past week, even thoughnew infections are still surging in many states and officials are desperately trying to ramp up testing so the country can reopen.”
I will end with that sad note but with faith that responsible persons will right the ship on this necessary component pre-‘reopening’.
Two lighter moments.
“93-year-old Olive Veronesi of Seminole, PA, who held up a sign at her window asking for more beer, has received a delivery from .”
And this ‘mountain goats everywhere’ in Wales.