Heather Cox Richardson, in the May 6th Letters from an American, describes Trump’s weak response to the COVID–19. And she gets Scriber’s nod for a Quote of the Day (in bold below).
In an interview with ABC News yesterday, Trump himself admitted the reopening of states for business could cause people to die. At a briefing, when reporter Jim Acosta asked why it was important to end social distancing right now, Trump told reporters "I’m viewing our great citizens of this country to a certain extent and to a large extent as warriors. They’re warriors. We can’t keep our country closed. We have to open our country … Will some people be badly affected? Yes."
But Trump didn’t offer much to provide confidence that the government was on top of the ongoing coronavirus response. In the ABC News interview, when Trump blamed President Barack Obama for leaving the “cupboard” of the Strategic National Stockpile “bare” of medical supplies when he left office, anchor David Muir asked him what he had done to restock it in the three years he’s been in office. The question appeared to catch the president, who is accustomed to a friendly audience on the Fox News Channel, off guard. “Well, I’ll be honest,” he said. “I have a lot of things going on. We had a lot of people that refused to allow the country to be successful. They wasted a lot of time on Russia, Russia, Russia. That turned out to be a total hoax. Then they did Ukraine, Ukraine and that was a total hoax, then they impeached the president of the United States for absolutely no reason.”
A Washington Post article by Dr. Zack Cooper, associate professor at the Yale School of Public Health and Yale’s Economics Department, says that we do, in fact, have the ability to test at the rate of 20 million tests a day, which is what experts say we need in order to reopen the economy safely. But the rub is that it would cost about $250 billion, and there has not, so far, been sufficient political will to spend that kind of money on testing, especially when those most affected by the reopening of states have been poor Americans and workers who are disproportionately people of color. A Rockefeller Foundation committee on reopening the economy has published a report on how to do so safely; Cooper was a member of the committee.
But for all these events undercutting Trump’s push to reopen the economy, what got under his skin most dramatically was an advertisement released Monday by the Lincoln Group entitled “Mourning in America.” This one-minute spot plays on President Ronald Reagan’s famous “Morning In America” reelection campaign ad, showing Trump’s term as the opposite of the rosy vision people associated with Reagan. “There’s mourning in America,” the voice in the ad intones over shots of Covid-stricken patients and folks in unemployment lines in masks, “and under the leadership of Donald Trump, our country is weaker, and sicker, and poorer. And now, Americans are asking, ‘If we have another four years like this, will there even be an America?”
It took Trump four tweets to express his fury adequately, calling Lincoln Project founder George Conway a “deranged loser.” Ten hours later, he was still fuming, and ranted about the Lincoln Project to reporters for two minutes on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews. This gave Conway the opening to hit him again in an op-ed in the Washington Post today. The article used Trump’s behavior to illustrate Conway’s usual concerns about Trump’s fitness for office, but it began with a new focus on the coronavirus: “Americans died from Covid–19 at the rate of about one every 42 seconds during the past month. That ought to keep any president awake at night.”
Here is that Washington Post op-ed by George Conway: Trump went ballistic at me on Twitter. Here’s why he reacts with such rage..
Americans died from covid–19 at the rate of about one every 42 seconds during the past month. That ought to keep any president awake at night.
Not Donald Trump.
Just days ago, the president flipped out at a detailed New York Times article that described how he watches television at all hours, obsessed about how he’s covered in the news. As though to prove the story’s thesis, Trump rage-tweeted that it was a “phony story” and that the media would say “Anything to demean!”
And then, as though to prove the point again, at 12:46 a.m. on Tuesday, Trump went ballistic on Twitter — at me.
In a four-tweet screed, he attacked me and my colleagues at the Lincoln Project as “LOSERS,” “loser types,” “crazed” and “a disgrace to Honest Abe.” About me, he said, “I don’t know what Kellyanne did to her deranged loser of a husband, Moonface, but it must have been really bad.” Ten hours later, on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews, Trump was still enraged, ranting about us for nearly two minutes in front of the media.
What triggered his ire was a [60-second online ads][youtub] we released Monday. Entitled “Mourning in America,” it’s an inversion of President Ronald Reagan’s famous 1984 reelection campaign ad, “Morning in America.” Reagan’s ad took credit for the resurgence of the American economy. Our ad puts the blame for the government’s failures in responding to covid–19 right where it belongs — on Trump. He dithered for 10 weeks, from January to mid-March, misleading the public about the severity of the crisis, pretending that the virus would never take hold here. History will record that each day of delay cost American lives.
It may strike you as deranged that a sitting president facing a pandemic has busied himself attacking journalists, political opponents, television news hosts and late-night comedians — even deriding a former president who merely called for empathy and unity in response to the virus. It may strike you as nuts that Trump bragged about his supposed Facebook ranking in the middle of a virus task-force briefing, asserted that millions would have died were it not for him, boasted that “the ‘Ratings’ of my News Conferences etc.” were driving “the Lamestream Media … CRAZY,” and floated bogus miracle cures, including suggesting that scientists consider injecting humans with household disinfectants such as Clorox.
If so, you’re not alone. Tens of thousands of mental-health professionals, testing the bounds of professional ethics, have warned for years about Trump’s unfitness for office.
Some people listened; many, including myself, did not, until it was too late.
Now, it’s more obvious than ever. Trump’s narcissism deadens any ability he might otherwise have had to carry out the duties of a president in the manner the Constitution requires. He’s so self-obsessed, he can only act for himself, not for the nation. It’s why he was impeached, and why he should have been removed from office.
And it’s why he reacts with such rage. He fears the truth. He fears being revealed for what he truly is. Extreme narcissists exaggerate their achievements and talents, and so Trump has spent his life building up a false image of himself — not just for others, but for himself, to protect his deeply fragile ego. He lies endlessly, not just in the way sociopaths do, which is to con others, but also to delude himself. He claims to be a “genius,” even though he apparently can’t spell, can’t punctuate, can’t do math and lacks geographic literacy, and even though his own appointees have privately called him a “moron,” an “idiot,” a “dope,” and “dumb.” Now, God help us, he fancies himself an expert in virology and infectious diseases.
That’s why I created the Trump persona of Dr. Donald J. Fauxi.
But the jig is up. When Trump lied and claimed credit for “the greatest economy in the history of our country,” even though it wasn’t, and even though he inherited a strong economy, and goosed it up with trillions of dollars in debt, it didn’t matter to most people. The economy was good — so what? The debt? That won’t come due for decades.
When he tried to obstruct the Mueller investigation, that didn’t move them either. The rule of law and the violation of a presidential oath are abstractions; the Dow Jones industrial average and the unemployment rate aren’t. And when he used his presidential power to try to extort a foreign ally into smearing a political opponent, not enough cared then, either.
Now it all matters, painfully and concretely. Trump’s lying, his self-regard, his self-soothing, his lack of empathy, his narcissistic rage, his contempt for norms, rules, laws, facts and simple truths — have all come home to roost. Now he sees his poll numbers fall accordingly, and lashes out with ever-increasing anger. For deep in his psyche he knows the truth. Because he fears being revealed as a fake or deranged, he’ll call others fake or deranged. Because he fears losing, he’ll call them losers instead.
And while Trump’s mind roils in rage, too many Americans are losing their lives. That’s the losing that matters, to everyone but him.
Be safe out there. You don’t want to be counted among Trump’s “badly affected.”