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 college senior.
Government of the people, by the people and for the people is what we have had — or what we strove for in any event — and it is the American ideal. Now, we have government of the incompetent, by the inept and for the ignorami, which is a different kettle of fish indeed. Boot signs off lamenting that we don’t have experts in charge of our government nowadays, merely “ignorant ideologues chosen for their dedication to a supreme leader unconstrained by fact, logic or morality.” He asks, “where’s the Deep State when you need it?” Sure wish we knew. There are times that Trump’s fantasy nemeses actually could serve a useful purpose and now is unquestionably one of them.
The only reason that American government has withstood Trump the past three years at all is because of the good men and women serving in civil service and career posts, not just the likes of Vindman and Yovanovich but the rank and file people as well, doing their jobs and making the wheels of government turn day by day. And now, with the aforementioned 29-year-old gofer and his 23-year-old college student sidekick, both partisan hacks, all that is about to be undone, as a purge takes place and Trump loyalists are placed in as many positions as possible — further undermining any chance at efficient governance.
This is a depressing state of affairs to watch government being debilitated systematically, as the incoherent and incompetent titular leader of the free world struggles to put forth a facade of prowess in the face of yet one more occasion of import, of which he knows jack and reads about in a bored tone from a teleprompter, this time nothing less than a worldwide pandemic threat. It would be comical if it wasn’t frankly terrifying.
But it wouldn’t be happening now, would it, if the Republican party had done the job it was elected to do and had him removed from office, in the face of clear evidence and compelling reason to do so, in January? Trump didn’t get where he is alone, nobody does — and he only manages to stay there, due to the complicity of his fear-stricken and corrupt GOP enablers.
Max Boot is correct about the rot of the Trump administration, but he’s only scratching the surface here. The real decay is in what the Republican party has become in enabling such a travesty of an administration to stay in power, let alone under it’s banner. That is the larger cancer which is to be excised, come November 3, if returning to life in a democratic republic is still our intention and goal.