I can’t decide whether the Trump era can best be penned by George Lucas or William Shakespeare. The black and white simplicity of the war between Good v. Evil is Lucasinian, but the sheer depravity and complexity of how the entire drama has unfolded would lend itself better to the Bard’s talents. If Shakespeare was alive he would probably bang out “King Trump” and this week’s events would prove both dastardly and developmental to the finale of this tragi-comedic farce that we’ve been living through since 2016.
The recent death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg proved a moment of great jubilation for the forces of darkness. That led to the party in the Rose Garden and that has devolved into a superspreader event which has felled close to a dozen inner circle Trumpites, including both Trump and Lady Trump.
New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman has published over twenty pieces in the past few days. She was interviewed by by The New Yorker. Read the entire article. It’s the best codification of all of Haberman’s reporting that you’ll find.
What have you been able to learn about the timing of the President’s positive diagnosis?
[Dr. Sean] Conley raised far more questions than he answered. I have reported that [Trump] was on oxygen at the White House. Conley seemed to give very equivocal answers around that, and what happened. The biggest question mark for me is Conley saying we are seventy-two hours into this diagnosis. If we are seventy-two hours into it, that suggests he has been sick since Wednesday, and that is a major question, because if he was sick on Wednesday, and they had him going to a rally in Minnesota, and then a fund-raiser, parts of which were in an indoor area at his club in Bedminster, that is important to know.
What have you been able to learn about the President’s state of mind?
His friend Stanley Chera, who was a real-estate magnate in New York, died [of the coronavirus, in April]. Chera was older than Trump is and was in worse physical shape than Trump is, and Chera got very, very sick, very quickly, and basically went into the hospital and never came out. Trump was very spooked by that, and I think that has stayed with him. And he is—I don’t want to say hypochondriacal, because that is not the right word—but he gets very agitated when he is not feeling great. And I think all of this contributed to how they were dealing with him [on Friday].
What do you mean by that?
What I mean by that is that some people experience the feeling of being sick differently than others, and I think he experiences it acutely, and it can be anxiety-provoking.
I thought you might have been implying that, because of how he deals with sickness—
Oh, I just think there were various reasons for taking him to Walter Reed, and that was one of them.
How would you define the attitude, broadly speaking, of people in and around the White House before the past few days regarding the dangers of the virus?
I think that the response to the virus and how to treat it and deal with it has been very top-down for a very long time. I think the President has tried willing it away for a very long time. In the last hour or so, we have learned that [the former New Jersey governor] Chris Christie tested positive, and he was at that event on Saturday that appears to have been something of a nexus point for people getting sick, and ironically, Christie was one of the people who wrote an op-ed to the President early on saying, “Look, take this seriously.” As time has gone on, Trump has tried to downplay it, and he admitted to [the Washington Post journalist] Bob Woodward he was trying to downplay it. The problem is that there is a midway point between saying “I don’t want people to panic, don’t freak out, we can handle this,” and, you know, not taking basic precautions and making fun of states for taking basic precautions and making fun of people for wearing masks, and the President, to varying degrees, did all of that.
At the time of this writing, Chris Christie was just admitted into the hospital in New Jersey. He says he’s basically fine and the only reason he presented at the hospital was due to his history of asthma. Perhaps so. All the reports we’ve been getting from high profile Republicans is that their version of the coronavirus is no biggy. That is devoutly to be wished. I think that it’s fair to assume that what Trump is thinking right now is the same as what he told Bob Woodward, that he knew that the virus was highly contagious, airborne and most of all “deadly” and not just for old people, but for the young. Trump is freaking. His doctors will do everything that they can to cover it up, but unless I miss my guess, the ghosts of Stanley Cherra and Roy Cohn, who also died a horrible death from AIDS and who knows who else are dancing in Trump’s room at night. Maybe he better call his wingnut appointee Michael Caputo. He sees shadows on the walls, too. Maybe they can form a support group.