Trump and the virus

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, October 6, 2020, 4:00 PM | comments: 0

Talking about Trump is exhausting, so I don't do it as much as I used to. Every single day seems like a new travesty. His supporters have only two things left in their playbook, which are grievance politics and an endless string of moral equivalence arguments ("butter emails..."). We glossed over all kinds of scary things just in the last week like active voter suppression, the refusal to condemn white supremacy, almost no taxes paid due to catastrophic business losses (and maybe cheating), the first lady's "F' Christmas and immigrants" rant... none of it was unimportant.

But his response to his own infection by the coronavirus has been a little more horrifying than usual. It starts with the fact that the White House was so lax about mitigation protocols in the first place. So far, there have been 16 people infected including the person who needs to be protected the most, the president. Preventing this is wholly uncomplicated. Literally Mickey Mouse is doing a better job preventing the spread of the disease. That photo of all those people in the Rose Garden packed in there, no masks, is wholly irresponsible. Think about that: If the US fatality rate is 1%, and half of the 250 people at that event were infected, at least one would statistically be likely to die. If you don't think that's possible, ask Herman Cain's family about how he died a few weeks after attending a Trump rally.

Then the president was checked into the hospital, where doctors painted an optimistic picture, but outside experts and doctors suggested there was real risk at play. Bored and missing his fans (and for the record, presidents, of any party, should not have fans), he then put several Secret Service officers at risk by having them drive him around the block so he could wave at people, while he was contagious. Those men will likely have to quarantine for two weeks.

It didn't stop there, he then put a bunch of people at risk on a helicopter as he flew back to the White House. There, he dramatically climbed the stairs to the balcony, removed his mask, and out of breath, posed for a photo op. Then he walked into the building without a mask, where you could see others were, still contagious. Have you see the way medical professionals dress around people who are still contagious, even when the infected people have masks?

Then he posted several videos suggesting he's an expert, but no need to fear, and don't let it affect your lives. Imagine if you're the family of any of the 210,000+ Americans who died, what a comfort that is, knowing you and your family doesn't have access to the best doctors in the world. What kind of protective gear was the videographer wearing? If working in the White House was scary before, imagine it now with a guy who is spreading an infectious disease around.

All the while, the administration is trying to prevent the FDA from publishing the guidelines for vaccine approval, and effectively censoring the CDC's guidance for virtually everything that can help mitigate the spread. All of this behavior is intended to stroke the ego of an authoritarian who is losing badly in the polls, and is antithetical to protecting Americans and enabling the safe operation of the broader economy.

Trump will be Trump ("it is what it is"), the guy who throws fire on a dumpster fire in a train wreck in an oil spill during a hurricane right after an earthquake. But how much cognitive dissonance do you have to exercise in order to defend this? Get out and vote, y'all, and not for Trump. He doesn't care about you.


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