Donald Trump didn’t fool a living soul at his coronavirus presser Wednesday. He set out to minimize the issue, saying there were “maybe ten” cases of coronavirus in the U.S. and “soon there would be five.” Where he got those figures, only he knows, because the people whose job it is to know, are quoting sixty known cases of covid-19 at this time, and one, in Sacramento County, California, is the first case which is community spread, not the result of direct contact with a victim or travel in a foreign country. That is a sobering development. Conservative columnist Max Boot apparently reached the end of his tether when it came to Trump’s attempted whitewash, because he really let him have it. Boot’s lede sentence cuts right to the heart of the matter in this brutal take down in the Washington Post: Diseases, far more than any human enemy, ruthlessly expose and exploit the weaknesses of their victims. Now the coronavirus outbreak is laying bare the pathologies of the Trump administration — which include compulsive lying, pandering to dictators, ideological aversion to “globalism,” inveterate hostility toward experts and expertise, and (in a related development) sheer incompetence. Yep, pretty powerful stuff. Now bear in mind, Boot is a respected columnist and rightfully so. His pieces are articulate, compactly structured and well developed. He doesn’t rant — or at least he didn’t used to, but as you can tell from the lede, he’s had it with Trump and he’s giving El Caudillo de Mar-a-Lago a piece of his mind. And it’s a beaut. Globalism isn’t something you can be for or against; it’s simply a fact of life. But Trump’s whole presidency is built on denying basic realities such as global warming and Russian attacks on our politics. Rather than focus on real threats such as pandemics, climate change and Russian aggression, the administration is fixated on politically convenient boogeymen such as “criminal aliens” and Nigerian immigrants. The administration’s latest budget calls for a $3 billion cut for global health programs, including a 53 percent cut in funding for the World Health Organization. This comes on top of earlier budget cuts that forced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to downsize its global health security initiative in 39 out of 49 countries. Then Boot delivers the coup de grace. It’s all about undoing any and everything that Barack Obama ever wrought. That is how black and white, how simple and stupid, and how totally sick Trump’s entire political “philosophy” is, from the top to the bottom. Seeking to undo everything that his predecessor had done, Trump dismantled the epidemic-fighting infrastructure the Obama administration had built up at the National Security Council and the Department of Homeland Security. One of John Bolton’s first acts upon becoming national security adviser in 2018 was to dismiss the NSC’s global health team led by Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer, a widely respected public-health expert. These moves are emblematic of the president’s contempt for apolitical civil servants who know what they are doing. He prefers unqualified political hacks whose only loyalty is to him rather than to the country. Many top administration posts are already filled by “acting” placeholders while further purges are being launched by the new head of presidential personnel, the president’s 29-year-old former “body man” (i.e., gofer), John McEntee, with the assistance of a 23-year-old […]
If you’re wondering how Mike Pence of all people came to be appointed the coronavirus czar, although that’s not his title, it’s strictly because Trump thinks he can do a PR spin that will be to his liking more than anybody else — or at least that is Trump’s hope and if Pence doesn’t pull it off, goodbye 2020 ticket. Covid-19 has Trump freaking out like no other thing. He can’t tweet at the virus, it doesn’t care. He can’t have the complicit GOP stack the deck for him against the virus, they’re powerless. It’s like nothing else Trump has ever dealt with before. He can’t buy the virus off. So he’s doing the next best thing and filtering what information about the virus gets out and how. Like everything else, this is all about Donald Trump. Bess Levin, Vanity Fair: On the darkest of dark sides, we also learned Thursday about a new gag rule requiring all government officials to get Pence’s approval before making statements about the virus that could make the president look bad: The White House moved on Thursday to tighten control of coronavirus messaging by government health officials and scientists, directing them to coordinate all statements and public appearance with the office of Vice President Mike Pence, according to several officials familiar with the new approach…. Mr. Pence was scheduled to lead a meeting of the government’s coronavirus task force on Thursday. The vice president’s first move appeared to be aimed at preventing the kind of contradictory statements from White House officials and top government health officials that have plagued the administration’s response. Even during his news conference on Wednesday, Mr. Trump rejected the assessment from a top health official that it was inevitable that the coronavirus would spread more broadly inside the United States. According to the New York Times, administration officials are unsurprisingly saying that “the goal is not to control the content of what subject-matter experts and other officials are saying, but to make sure their efforts are being coordinated,” and they’ve definitely, 100% never given us a reason not to believe them. Their goal is to control the content, make no mistake about that. Trump is freaked out over the markets crashing and that’s what he seeks to get a handle on, not the virus. He doesn’t give jack about the virus, except as insofar as it poses an obstacle to him controlling his economic narrative, which is basically his entire pitch going into reelection mode. Trump is in bunker mode now and needs to surround himself with his most devoted toadies so as to feel secure. There is no other reason to explain why Larry Kudlow, of all people, has also been named to this commission that Pence is heading up. Kudlow is worthless in his own field and has zero credentials in medicine or infectious disease — but he is a Fox News alumnus, so that gives him credibility in Trumpworld, where it counts. Kudlow is there because he can play Trump’s favorite game, spin the narrative. it will be interesting to see how this develops, a health care crisis, being dealt with as a PR inconvenience. As Max Boot pointed out, Trump can’t even spell coronavirus — but maybe we’ll get lucky and it will spell doom for him.
Donald Trump is a germophobe and that character quirk extends to everything he says or does. He honestly believes that keeping bad people out, and away from “good” people — of which he is a specimen, one presumes (?) — is the way to handle things, including the public health crisis which is upon us right now. Trump actually took to Twitter, both his comfort and his consort in times of trouble, and repeated how he’s found the answer to the coronavirus. Only problem is — it’s totally wrong and completely batshit as well. Does Trump think he closed the borders? One of these situations where you’re left to wonder if this is dishonesty or confusion. https://t.co/VCtJHrHiSQ — Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) February 28, 2020 Yes, friends, Donald Trump is doing a victory lap around the coronavirus. Incredible, but then what isn’t when you start out a sentence with the words “Donald Trump?” And nobody else can believe it either, that 1. Maybe he thinks the borders are closed? 2. If they were, what would that matter, when you have a virulent strain which respects no borders? Geographical ones, in all events. Gaslighting: psychological manipulation seeking to sow seeds of doubt, makes victims question their own memory, perception, and sanity. It uses persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying. It attempts to destabilize the victim and delegitimize the victim's belief. https://t.co/74JhrEWJ3i — Navy Mom ???? ???? Impeached Forever ???? (@USNavyMomPA) February 28, 2020 Donald, the responsibility for keeping the country safe falls to you and your administration. So look: Closing the Mexico border (not boarder, you ignoramus) would have done nothing to stop the spread of this virus. If this is actually what you're thinking about, God help us all. https://t.co/EkoDw1Zcum — George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) February 28, 2020 Maybe we should close off the Canadian border, too, ya think? Or, here’s a good one, maybe we close off the Big Boarder [sic] In The Sky, and declare that nobody from other planets can land here anymore, including meteorites with cooties and such. Too Andromeda Strain for you? I just thought that if we got Space Force on it, it couldn’t hurt. Last I knew Mike Pence was the spokesman for them as well, so he won’t know if he’s talking on behalf of Space Force or Covid-19, and frankly, the way that this matter has been handled so far — it won’t matter. I leave you with Trump’s classic Quote of the Day: “When somebody sneezes — I mean, I try and bail out as much as possible when there’s sneezing.” — Donald Trump
The central tenet of the entire Trump playbook is that if you don’t like a piece of news, it’s fake. Of all the topics that Trump has ever been reported on in relationship to, he and his minions really don’t like the coronavirus public health crisis. They don’t like it one little bit. Speaking at CPAC, Mick Mulvaney made it clear that the problem here is not so much the virus, itself, only the way the press is handling coverage of it. The Hill: He also accused the press of peddling a false narrative about the administration “scrambling” to contain the virus, saying he briefed Congress with other top health officials six weeks ago. He accused the media of ignoring the coronavirus until now because publications were too preoccupied with Trump’s impeachment before that, which he called a “hoax.” “Why didn’t you hear about it?” Mulvaney told an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Friday morning in a discussion with Stephen Moore, an economic expert at the Heritage Foundation. “The press was covering their hoax of the day because they thought it would bring down the president.” Mulvaney claimed that the press is only covering the virus now because they believe doing so will “take down the president.” “Is it real? It absolutely is real,” Mulvaney said. “But you saw the president the other day — the flu is real.” “Are you going to see some schools shut down? Probably. May you see impacts on public transportation? Sure,” Mulvaney said, adding, “We know how to handle this.” And this dovetails beautifully with Don Jr. ranting on Fox News that Democrats hope the coronavirus “comes here and kills millions of people so that they can end Donald Trump’s streak of winning.” So there you have it, it’s all the fault of the media and the Democrats, nothing new to see here, move along. This is knee jerk Trumpworld flailing reaction. But what is noteworthy, is that the fear level is palpable. Don Jr., Mulvaney, and the rest of them know that they have a volatile situation here and they are clueless about what to do about it. Nobody believes Trump’s assertions that everything is just fine. And as the stock market continues to crater, Trump’s toadies realize that they better do some damage control and stat — and they don’t have a clue about that either. Only one thing is certain: Trump’s Wednesday fireside chat with the nation didn’t do squat to allay fears, all it did was prove up how clueless Trump really is.
For once, dogkiller dad Mike Huckabee has had a great idea. You know how even the broken clock is right twice a day, and so forth, well, this is Mike Huckabee’s moment in the sun. He’s come up with an original idea on how Donald Trump can singlehandedly get rid of the coronavirus, and Twitter is right there with him, endorsing it. Is there anyone left in politics who doesn’t live in their own personal fantasy world — Alex Murphy (@Dr_VanNostrin) February 28, 2020 Isn’t this great super hero imagery? This is better than Superman flying into outer space to reverse the spin of the planet, so that it would become yesterday, and Lois Lane wouldn’t die from too much dirt in her car. (You had to be there.) PENCE: Ok task force, ideas.FALWELL JR.: We could separate folks into different pools.PENCE: No more pools Jerry.WHITE: Those with virus will burn in hell!PENCE: Think containment Paula.HUCKABEE: I got a community spread joke.KIM DAVIS: Punish the gays?PENCE: Perfect! — Jeremy Newberger (@jeremynewberger) February 27, 2020 I'm with Huckabee on this one. Trump should absolutely try to personally suck the virus out of everyone and swim to the bottom of the sea.#SuckItTrump — Samantha Adams (@MsSamAdams) February 28, 2020 Rick Wilson says we absolutely do not want to access Mike Huckabee’s PornHub history and I concur. What kind of a mind thinks like that? Yes, I know, one that sought the GOP nomination for president in 2016. It was the reality TV actor or this imbecile. That was some talent on that bench. No wonder we’re where we are right now.
Donald Trump likes to jubilantly crow about how unimportant the coronavirus is. At the White House Thursday he said, “It’s going to disappear. One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.” He might not have that rosy a view of the future, if he knew that the Center for Disease Control, CDC, lost valuable time that could have been used to track the spread of the disease in the United States because it rejected the use of the World Health Organization test and devised a test of its own, to identify not only covid-19 but other viruses. At the beginning of February, it was discovered that the test was faulty. This lack of a reliable test prevented “surveillance testing” of people in possible hotspots, a standard method that detects a disease before large numbers of people start showing up at the local ER. ProPublica: “We’re weeks behind because we had this problem,” said Scott Becker, chief executive officer of the Association of Public Health Laboratories, which represents 100 state and local public laboratories. “We’re usually up-front and center and ready.” The CDC announced on Feb. 14 that surveillance testing would begin in five key cities, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. That effort has not yet begun. Donald Trump’s rosy optimism is based upon the fact that we don’t know what’s out there, only what’s already been presented. So far, the United States has had only 15 confirmed cases, a dozen of them travel-related, according to the CDC. An additional 45 confirmed cases involve people returning to the U.S. having gotten sick abroad. But many public health experts and officials believe that without wider testing the true number of infected Americans remains hidden. “The basic tenet of public health is to know the situation so you can deal with it appropriately,” said Marc Lipsitch, professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. He noted that Guangdong, a province in China, conducted surveillance testing of 300,000 people in fever clinics to find about 420 positive cases. Overall, Guangdong has more than 1,000 confirmed cases. “If you don’t look, you won’t find cases,” he said. Plus, doctors’ efforts are further hamstrung by the fact that the coronavirus was declared a public health emergency on Wednesday and that triggered federal rules which raise the bar for all tests, and require hospitals to validate their tests with the FDA. This can be a long process, especially considering the fact that now time is of the essence. Mass production of coronavirus test kits is being discussed, but that isn’t likely to happen until at least April. In the meantime, who knows what’s really going on out there and how many people have actually got this thing? This is a situation where what you don’t know could kill you.
You know, Josef Goebbels popularized “The Big Lie” back in the late ’30s. but it took Donald Trump to elevate it to a fucking art form. But finally, after 3 long years, we’re about to find out what happens when reality meets bullshit at 100 mph, and just how much of that shit Trump acolytes will really swallow when the chips, especially blue chips, are literally down. Believe it or not, I actually learned a couple of things from Trump’s press briefing on the coronavirus. First, I learned that Melania’s taste in neckwear is as tacky as her taste in men. Really, Melania? Hot pink before Easter? Second, I learned that HHS Secretary Alex Azar is going for that whole Sebastian Gorka look. Fat chance, Alex, you own him, And third, Trump’s shame quotient is now officially lower than his IQ. There’s Trump, standing at the podium, surrounded by people who have more letters after their last names than Trump has in his last name, and he smoothly and forcefully contradicts every word out of their mouths. Even his HHS Secretary says to get ready for more cases, which is why Trump pulled the rug out from under him live on national TV. But this is a problem, because for pretty much the first time, Trump is pushing bullshit that goes against his own best interest. For instance, we all know that Trump is a paranoid delusional. He shares those traits with his stumble bum base. Normally, there’s nothing that Trump loves more than an impending disaster, so that he can twist it around to worry his supporters to death, and make them rely on him to solve it. And what could be more dire and desperate than a mysterious super virus, for which there is no cure, possibly being dropped from black helicopters? Fits Trump and his supporters like a glove. But it turns out that Wall Street hates the coronavirus. So while the entire medical community is spreading cautious alarm that normally Trump would be whipping into a panic and blaming on the Democrats, this time he has to sit there and basically call it a hoax, while trying to reassure Wall Street that the Democrats are making a case of the sniffles into a scare tactic for November. I want to see what kind of cheap, third rate quacks Fox News finds that will gleefully violate their oaths in order to go onto Hannity and purposely mislead the public as to the actual risks posed by the virus. And it will be fun to see how long the GOP Senate can go on parroting Trump’s tripe, before they finally start having to peel back and accept reality before their constituents move to quarantine them. At what point do people who have subsisted on pure bullshit for almost four years finally start to tune back into reality before it’s too late. But worse yet for Trump, he’s trying to reassure Wall Street that everything is just hunky-dory. This is bullshit, and Wall Street doesn’t deal in bullshit, it deals in facts and information. And as they learned in the first year of the Trump presidency, when they let his tweets put stocks like Boeing and Amazon on yo-yo strings, bullshit is all Trump has to offer. Wall Street loves facts the way His […]
I know I complain about the horrors of covering Trump all the time, but it has its moments of joy too. For instance, he’s so cute when he completely loses all sense of self awareness. And when he loses his self awareness, he tends to lose his sense of awareness completely. Like the guy who, every time he goes to the bathroom, bangs his head on the pipe in the hallway. The same damn pipe that has been in the same damn place for the last 7 years since he moved in. Since the coronavirus started to spiral into something more serious than was originally thought and hoped, Trump has completely lost all sense of awareness, self and otherwise. And in doing so, he has given the Democrats more than one opportunity to lay him low on his performance. Not just now, but golden nugget sound bites for 30 second spots in the fall. There are already two occasions on which they have failed to properly capitalize on Trump’s complete inability to string two coherent words together, and one that is brewing and needs to be watched for timing. When it finally became apparent to His Lowness that this was a problem that actually had to be dealt with, Trump went before the first camera he could find, which was I believe a security cam at Best But, and announced that he was asking congress for $2 billion in emergency funding to fight the virus. Chuck Schumer did a nice job of slapping back at Trump by saying that the Democrats were going to propose $8.2 billion, but it could have been so much better. Something like I would like to remind everybody that it was only two years ago when President Trump sat in the Oval Office, and told Speaker Pelosi and I that he would shut down the entire US government if he didn’t get $34 billion for a vanity wall that wouldn’t fox the problem. He didn’t get it, shut down the government, and still didn’t get it. But now, when the safety and health of every American citizen is at stake, he believes the can deal with a problem of this magnitude on the cheap for $2 billion? This is why the Democrats in the Senate are crafting a bill to provide $8 billion in emergency funding, to ensure that the people tasked with fighting this virus will have all of the tools that they need. See how easy that is? Slap his punk ass down for being cheap, but throw in a sly reminder about how he isn’t cheap when it comes to some vanity boondoggle he’s obsessed with, only when it comes to serving the people who elected him. And don’t think that reminder about the government shutdown won’t drive him insane enough to say something stupid in response either. The second chance was Trump’s patently awful press conference with his “health team” in the White House briefing room. The pundits did a good job of skewering Trump, but the Democrats could have been much sharper, something like: I couldn’t help but notice in yesterday’s briefing at the White House that there was a shocking diversity of opinion on the stage. Trump’s own Secretary of HHS said to expect more cases in the US. The head […]
While Donald Trump clowns it up at CPAC, Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA) announced the death of a Washington state man from coronavirus, the first on U.S. soil, and he also declared a state of emergency, which will allow state agencies to tap necessary resources to respond to an outbreak of the disease and also utilize the national guard, if necessary. The Hill: “This will allow us to get the resources we need,” Inslee said in a statement. “This is a time to take common-sense, proactive measures to ensure the health and safety of those who live in Washington state.” “Washingtonians can be assured we’ve taken this threat seriously and have been working in collaboration with our health care partners to develop plans and procedures to prepare for what could likely be a world-wide pandemic,” he added. “Our priority now is to slow the spread of this virus.” This is probably going to be the template for how the coronavirus epidemic is handled, mayors and governors taking care of business because of the sheer incompetence in Washington, D.C. Trump’s only contribution to today’s coronavirus news is to suggest that he might close off the Mexican border, as if that, and the price of samosas in India, have anything to do with containing the coronavirus. The Mexican government has reported three cases there, from people who traveled in Italy and as of Saturday afternoon, there are more cases of coronavirus in the United States than there are in all of Latin America combined, but yet Trump feels it’s a good photo op to close off the Mexican border. Pure idiocy, but what else would you expect? One thing we can depend upon from Washington, D.C. is that Trump’s administration will botch this, one way or the other, and it’s going to devolve to state and local government to handle the matter — or maybe Congress can step in. This is not business as usual, so nobody really knows. But we’re about to find out.
Mike Pence is all over the airwaves Sunday, telling everybody about all the experts he’s hired and how the Trump administration is completely on top of the coronavirus pandemic and not to worry. One Senator who has made it clear he doesn’t feel so chipper about the subject is Mitt Romney. Romney was present at a closed-door briefing this week and he was among those who found the administration’s preparations “inadequate.” Washington Post: The evening before, the administration had unveiled a $2.5 billion spending plan to combat the virus, and both at the closed-door briefing and in a subsequent open hearing with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, a number of Republican senators voiced a variety of concerns. They fretted about the administration’s level of preparation to date, communication failures with Capitol Hill and, in the words of Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), the “lowball” funding request. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) — a target of Trump’s ire for his vote to convict the president of an impeachment charge — was among those who stood in the private briefing to register objections. “One, I’m very disappointed in the preparation that’s been done over the last few years anticipating the potential of an outbreak of substance,” Romney said in an interview later. “We’ve had SARS, we’ve had MERS, Ebola,” Romney continued, rattling off previous global outbreaks. “We should have stockpiled the kind of protective gear that our medical professionals will need and our citizens will need, and we haven’t. And looking forward, the [spending] number that’s being suggested strikes me as being inadequate to the level of risk.” Just how inadequate may be proven up in the next few weeks, or even days. The first U.S. death from covid-19 was announced Saturday. Donald Trump couldn’t even get the person’s gender right when he announced it. He praised “a wonderful woman” as the victim, and in point of fact it was a man in his 50’s who had died. The key problem with the virus stateside right now, is the fact that the CDC lost valuable time in surveillance testing and is way behind schedule, due to a mis-step in developing its own test, rather than using the World Health Organization’s test. The fact that there are not more covid-19 cases being reported now is illusory. There may be quite a few out there and they’re just not being discovered. Trump, of course, is trying to spin this as great news that everything is under control, because he made mention of closing off the southern border a few weeks ago — as if that has anything remotely to do with this issue. It’s well known, and Alex Azar even admitted it on TV Sunday, that Mexico — indeed all of Latin America — has fewer cases than the U.S. right now. But it sounds good as a Trump sound bite, dissing the scary brown people and claiming to protect U.S. citizens, all in the same breath, so Trump will probably keep up with the same inane narrative — at least until he can’t anymore, and it’s anybody’s guess just how this situation is going to develop. In all events, the infighting and confusion continues and in the words of one staffer, “It’s complete chaos,” a senior administration official said. “Everyone is just trying […]