“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone”
— Blaise Pascal, 17th century scientist/philosopher
Trump is not a pandemic ‘unity’ leader; Trump is the ‘blame’ and discord leader.
By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (5/4/20)
Dear Fellow Readers,
Does anyone else feel like this moment in our pandemic history is an inflection point? Ready or not, there is movement to relax restrictions and depending on where you live, maybe even a new air of casualness. With that, we will learn in a relatively short period of time whether we’ve rushed a decision or not. Right now it seems there are more voices offering opinions than listening. As an example, here is Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R-MS) explaining his decision to reopen without meeting Trump’s approved guidelines to decide ‘when’. And in the face of a trend upwards in new cases reported.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) to Chris Wallace on why his state is forging ahead with plans to reopen even though it hasn’t met the federal criteria of a 14-day decline in new Covid cases: “We believe that that particular gating criteria just doesn’t work in states like ours.” (5-3-20)
But at least we’re making rational decisions – right?
Media carried images of “Hundreds of people, including a militia group armed with military-style rifles, rushed the State Capitol in Lansing on Thursday, with some forcing their way into the building and facing off with law enforcement. An angry mob screamed “Lock Her Up” and insults about Whitmer.”
“…Trump’s “very good people” language recalled his wording nearly three years ago, when he said there were “very fine people on both sides” at a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.”
Trump’s pandemic ‘Charlottesville’ moment? A fair comparison? Personally, I am beyond revisiting the latest Trump populist comment as anything other than self-serving. And I don’t waste time reading the Trumpster post-comment ‘explanations’ over what Trump ‘really’ said.
But if you strive to yet again give Trump the benefit of the doubt, consider what Trump did to his first true-believer Red state governor who wanted to be first for Trump’s adulation, “Trump throws Georgia’s GOP gov under the bus on reopen order: ‘I disagree strongly’”
Or consider the other sycophant who ever-strives for Trump adulation, Gov. Ron ‘Mini-Trump’ DeSantis (R-FL). He’s maybe outdone Kemp by deciding he will simply no longer report COVID-19 death counts – maybe that way, it never happened. “Florida Officials Won’t Release Coronavirus Death Toll Data, Report Says”.
Generally, if you’re ‘with’ Trump, he’ll see you as being on the right side of the argument. Trump’s Charlottesville comments were a clear signal – if you are one of ‘his’, the law is not so clear. Just ask war criminal and Trump pardoned former Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher. So, while Trump ‘advises’ Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, it’s unlikely he’ll comment on a move by Stillwater, Oklahoma Mayor Will Joyce to rescind a requirement for wearing masks as a condition for reopening after instances of threatened violence against store employees by some customers.
Trump has given us a lot of words through his daily pandemic self-promotion displays, so consider, “260,000 Words, Full of Self-Praise, From Trump on the Virus”.
It’s a fully annotated recount of all of Trump’s remarks – long on self-congratulations, exaggerations, lies, blame – and short on empathy and unity.
Still not sure? Try “TRUMP’S 100 DAYS OF DEADLY CORONAVIRUS DENIAL”.
The authors provide a day-by-day recounting of Trump comments and actions, starting with the first US death attributed to the virus on January 20 while Trump interrupted his Health and Human Services Sec. Alex Azar about lifting a vaping ban. Two days later, after being asked if he was worried about the pandemic, Trump said, “No, we’re not at all. And we have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China.”
Failing the test test, again
One of the cornerstones of reopening is testing. While Trump encourages reopening, he does so against a backdrop of: “53 days after Trump said anybody could get tested, Fauci says the U.S. is still a month away”. The author refers to Trump’s almost two-month-old statement as “questionable” which seems far too short of reality. What should we say when the shittiest pandemic self-promoting cheerleader ‘exaggerates’?
“On Tuesday, the United States’ top infectious disease expert, Anthony S. Fauci, illustrated again how far off Trump’s March 6 claim was. Fauci was asked on CNN when everyone who needs a test will be able to get one.
“Hopefully, we should see that as we get towards the end of May, the beginning of June,” Fauci said. “That’s what I’m being told by the people who are responsible for the testing. I take them for their word.”
As usual, Trump has been guided by pandemic predictions that fit his motivations of the moment. As reported by, “34 days of pandemic: Inside Trump’s desperate attempts to reopen America”, Trump found a prediction he liked:
“…embraced inside the West Wing by the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and other powerful aides helping to oversee the government’s pandemic response. It affirmed their own skepticism about the severity of the virus and bolstered their case to shift the focus to the economy, which they firmly believed would determine whether Trump wins a second term.”
That’s horrible you say, but that’s not all of it:
“And though Trump was fixated on reopening the economy, he and his administration fell far short of making that a reality. The factors that health and business leaders say are critical to a speedy and effective reopening — widespread testing, contact tracing and coordinated efforts between Washington and the states — remain lacking.
““We wasted two months denying it. We’re now wasting another two months by just dithering around,” said Kathleen Sebelius, a former Kansas governor and health secretary in the Obama administration. “The administration seems to have washed their hands of it and said [to governors], we’re out of it. You’re on your own. Figure it out.””
There it is!
Trump is opining, “LIBERATE” Michigan while ignoring risk and washing his hands of providing leadership to guide us through this pandemic.
Oval Oriface Distraction
While Trump is busy vilifying China, he missed telling us of that data published by the Chinese government reports that 60% of new confirmed coronavirus cases were asymptomatic – something that can only be determined with extensive testing for presence of the virus. Something we still lack. Italy and Iceland are reporting similar data.
Here’s an easy prediction: We’ll hear more from Trump about his ‘certainty’ about the origin of COVID-19 from a Wuhan laboratory than we will about the critical need to save lives by having an effective testing program.
One of Trump’s rarely used tools to fight the pandemic is an executive order to build resiliency against the pandemic. You know, to call upon manufacturers to gear up and ventilators, protective gear for first responders and medical workers, requirements for scaling up national testing. But instead, Trump used an executive order to force meatpacking employees back to work with corporate safety requirements that were ‘voluntary’. But it’s not only US workers that are being put at risk for Trump’s moonshot reelection strategy, “As Workers Fall Ill, U.S. Presses Mexico to Keep American-Owned Plants Open”. Mexico also lacks effective testing, workers are being infected and dying – but the US pressure is intense even if at times, inane:
“Newell [Brands], which owns Sharpie and Papermate, told workers that they were essential because doctors and nurses need pens.”
The Atlantic had an excellent article on the originas of COVID-19: “Why the Coronavirus Is So Confusing: A guide to making sense of a problem that is now too big for any one person to fully comprehend”.
Finally, for something approaching much-needed humor – though you may find yourself wondering if this is humor or the first completely unvarnished report of what life is like in the Oval Office and West Wing right now:
“Is my veep eating pages out of the Bible? Is that little suck-up Jared stealing my lines? Time for more Adderall.”
Stay Safe! Be Well!