What do you do when you’ve got one doctor who has been intimidated into breaching all medical ethics and doing a PR job, never mind the facts, and another guy who’s not a doctor at all, but puts his own spin on the patient’s status? No, it’s not an episode of House, it’s an episode of White House, where Dr. Meadows and Dr. Conley do not concur on the basic medical condition of their star patient, Donald Trump. And that leads to the obvious conclusion that we are all being gaslit — but that’s the norm. If we were being told the truth, that would be the jaw dropper.
Mark Meadows is in the dog house big time today, after telling Jeannine Pirro that Trump had a fever, his blood oxygen dropped and the next 24 hours would be “critical.” Talk about a lead balloon. Washington Post:
Trump was angry with Meadows about his Saturday afternoon comments indicating the president was quite sick and has asked aides to reassure the public by offering rosy depictions of his condition, a senior administration official said.
Meadows has been the only White House aide with Trump, giving him almost total control of the message. […]
“It was of zero help to us,” said one of them, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal tensions.
A second official said: “We have not communicated with the public well on this.”
Several White House aides also said they also did not have confidence in what they were being told by other officials.
“I can tell you what I am hearing, but I honestly have no idea if it’s right,” said one senior administration official close to the president. “A lot of people aren’t even telling other people in the building the truth.”
Isn’t that wonderful? The White House has an information lid on itself, internally. People on the inside don’t even agree on what the truth is, they’re all living in bubbles within a bubble. And nobody is minding the store. Mike Pence has not assumed the reins of power, because Trump’s ego won’t allow that. So Pence is out campaigning, Trump is in the hospital tweeting and talking to the ghosts of realtors past and nobody is in charge of the United States of America right now. I cannot believe I just typed that sentence, but I did.
The ship of state is rudderless. Trump told Bob Woodward that he downplayed COVID-19 so as not to create a panic — but the obvious contradictions about his condition coming out of the White House are supposed to do what, be reassuring? Every time Meadows or Conley opens their mouth, they confuse the issue more about the real basics: when was Trump first diagnosed and when did we know it? Because we’re not even clear on that much and what we do know is confusing and alarming. Daily Beast:
Each scenario here is a frightening one. If the president’s COVID-19 diagnosis was initially made on Wednesday, it would mean that the president was permitted to travel to campaign events knowing he had SARS-CoV-2 infection and was presumably infectious to others. This would have major public health consequences. Since the Rose Garden nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Sept. 26, at least 8 attendees have tested positive for COVID-19. And Cleveland Health officials traced at least 11 COVID-19 cases arising from the presidential debate on Sept. 29.
The president has also been in close contact (without social distancing) with prominent GOP members of Congress. Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) have announced positive test results, which may be the tip of the iceberg of a COVID-19 cluster in Congress. In short, the organs of the U.S. government (the White House and Congress) may have been exposed to a serious disease against the advice of its own scientists and public health agencies.
It seems inconceivable that in the midst of a pandemic and with more than 200,000 American deaths, the White House would permit the president to travel and mingle with the public. If the president knowingly did expose others to a significant risk, it would be a blatant disregard of strict CDC guidelines to self-isolate after a confirmed diagnosis. I can only conclude that the timeline given to the public must have been inaccurate, and that the subsequent statements of clarification are genuine ones.
But even this scenario leaves plenty of uncertainty about the president’s health.
The public has the right to accurate, timely information on a grave threat to the health of the president of the United States. Beyond clarifying the timeline, from a clinical perspective we must understand accurately and in real time three important facts: the president’s temperature, his oxygen level, and the results of ultrasounds. White House physicians have a public responsibility to be clear and honest about these and other relevant medical facts. Transparency is at the heart of American democracy.
Transparency is indeed at the heart of democracy, but we’re not living in one right now. We’re subjects of Trumpocracy, which is a combination kakistocracy and Kratocracy, where lying and manipulation are the coins of the realm, because everybody is incompetent and running round like decapitated chickens, thinking only of power power, their endless mantra and reason for being. The end of this era of shame cannot come soon enough. But until it does, it would be a really swell idea if we could put an adult in charge and at least get accurate bulletins once a day. That would help the commonweal immensely. Then we could begin to heal along with the bozo at Walter Reed.