Oh God, to be a fly on the wall of the White House and be able to do a split screen of what they’re saying next to one of what’s really going on. Mark Meadows let it slip on Fox News Saturday night that Trump’s oxygen level “had gone down rapidly” Friday morning and this was when he had a temperature of 103. So the initial lies and obfuscations about no oxygen have been refuted. But Meadows is doing a Trumpian spin on it all. To hear him tell it, it matters not that Trump the titan was felled, he got right back up, stronger than before. “In typical style this president was up and walking around,” said Meadows, and of course all the experts are dazzled at the kind of vigor that Trump displays. What a specimen. Geez louise. No wonder Mike Pence burns in the night for him. What a he man.
Then Trump went on Twitter Saturday, after he spoke to his new ad hoc press secretary, Rudy Giuliani, who put up a story in the New York Post about how fit as a fiddle and ready to play Donald Trump is — as if anybody in New York cares. The only logic one can ascribe to Giuliani’s motives is that he still has a few contacts left in New York from the old days who will still speak to him, so that was as big of a media scoop as he could arrange on short notice.
So with Twitter, Fox News, and the New York Post presenting Trump the dynamo, Trump the pillar of brute strength, Trump the bull pawing the ground wanting to get back out there on the campaign trail and win win win — but held back by those pussy over protective doctors — on the one side of our fictional split screen, here’s what it looks like from the other side. You decide which is real. Gabriel Sherman, Vanity Fair:
Two sources said doctors gave Trump an ultimatum: he could go to the hospital while he could still walk, or doctors would be forced to take him in a wheelchair or on a stretcher at a later point if his health deteriorated. “They told him, ‘You can go now or we’re taking you later and it’s non negotiable,’” a second source close to the White House said. Trump waited to leave for the hospital until the stock market closed on Friday, a source said.
After spending months denying the dangers of COVID-19, Trump is expressing an emotion aides have rarely seen: fear. On Friday, Trump grew visibly anxious as his fever spiked to 103 fahrenheit and he was administered oxygen at the White House, according to three Republicans close to the White House. Two sources told me Trump experienced heart palpitations on Friday night—possible side effects of the experimental antibody treatment he received. Trump has wondered aloud if he could defeat the disease. “Am I going out like Stan Chera?” Trump has asked aides, referring to his friend, New York real-estate developer Stan Chera, who died of COVID in April.
On Saturday, two sources said Trump was feeling better. But it is difficult to assess the information given the White House’s history of lying. According to a source, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has told Republicans that the next few days will be critical to determine the virus’s outcome. “Meadows has said if Trump can get out of the hospital by Tuesday, then he’s gone through the worst of it. But if he’s still there after Tuesday, the worst is yet to come,” the source told me.
Inside Trumpworld, the shock of Trump’s hospitalization is giving way to despair about his prospects in the upcoming election. “They all know it’s over,” a Republican close to the campaign said. “This is spiraling out of control,” a former West Wing official said. Some Trump allies are entertaining conspiracy theories that the White House outbreak was caused by someone with political motives. “It’s weird that all these Republicans are getting it,” a prominent Republican told me. “I don’t know what the fuck is going on. But one thing I’ve learned is: when something major happens thirty days before an election, it usually has to do with the election.” (There is no evidence for this wild claim).
Sing it with me now,
“The worst is yet to come and babe won’t it be fiiiinne, the worst is yet to come, with Rethugs a’cryyyin;
We’ll get the senate back and won’t it be dee-viiiine, Schumer will pound the gavel in Mitch’s groinnne”
If this sounds hostile, or in poor taste, take a look at this tweet from Atlantic writer Norman Ornstein which nails it.
Note to Schumer: here is what McConnell would do if situation reversed. 53 D’s, 5 or more quarantined. Keep Senate in session, bring in all Rs, replace you as leader, change committee chairs, direct Sergeant at arms to bar entry to any with Covid, reject SCt nominee. Just sayin.
— Norman Ornstein (@NormOrnstein) October 3, 2020
This is exactly the size of it. We can never lose sight of who we’re dealing with and what’s at stake. While I respect the hell out of Joe Biden pulling his attack ads for 14 days, we have to keep our wits about us and take advantage of this opportunity that the political gods have provided — because McConnell would and if you don’t think so, you are unconscious. Democrats are always the mark in the Republican poker game. That needs to stop now. I say we fight fire with fire, particularly on the SCOTUS nomination.