Not a Hoax, Folks.
We're now at the point where trusting the President could cost you your life
Rest in Peace Posters of Chinese coronovirus whistleblower Dr Li Wenliang. Photo by Adli Wahid on Unsplash
We’ve been warned: Trump’s crazy. He’s on drugs. He’s got dementia. He’s a narcissist—maybe even a malignant one.
People may disagree about the diagnosis, but whatever the hell it is, it’s obvious something’s seriously wrong with him. It’s also obvious that whatever his exact problems are, they’re infecting millions of his cult-like followers—and being amplified by his loyal enablers.
Trump has spent most of his Presidency lying, denying and distracting in an effort to avoid being exposed as an imposter and/or complete failure and/or money-laundering criminal and/or traitor to the nation and/or physically unhealthy, mentally declining wreck.
He’s always been about protecting himself and his family first. Now, the time has come for him to step up and protect the nation. Instead, he is simply showing us over and over again how incapable he is of doing that.
I wrote about the incompetence that brought us to this point in my last article. And it has been appalling. But now his dishonesty—and his ongoing refusal to deal in facts—is about to turn deadly.
On Friday, the very day the World Health Organization upgraded the global risk of COVID-19 to “Very High,” its highest level assessment, Trump’s Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told the loyal Trump audience at CPAC that the media was covering the outbreak just like another “hoax of the day.”
Given the chance to correct the record by Congressman Ted Lieu of California, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo conspicuously refused to do so—before he, too, rushed off to deliver his own “owning-the-libs” speech at CPAC.
Things only got worse on Friday, with reports that the number of U.S. cases from an unknown source had grown to three, pushing the total number of confirmed cases in the U.S. to 63.
At a time when it is most important to tell the American public the truth and to share honest information about the coronavirus, Trump and those closest to him are treating the threat like any other political challenge to his Presidency. They are denying facts. They are pointing blame at others. They are lying.
It got even worse last night.
At his Friday night rally in South Carolina, Trump had the perfect opportunity to treat the coronavirus outbreak as the serious threat it is. (Harvard epidemiology professor Marc Lipsitch is warning coronavirus may infect 40%-70% of the world’s population within a year. If that were to happen, the U.S. death toll could be in the millions.)
The rally gave Trump the perfect platform from which to level with the American people. Instead, as Politico reported, he used it as just another opportunity to lavish unearned praise on himself while lashing out at his perceived “enemies”:
Trump… tried to cast the global outbreak of the coronavirus as a liberal conspiracy intended to undermine his first term, lumping it alongside impeachment and the Mueller investigation.
He blamed the press for acting hysterically about the virus…. (he) called the coronavirus “their new hoax.”
A majority of Americans may be too smart to believe his B.S., but where does that leave the millions of MAGA supporters who hang on his (and Rush Limbaugh’s) every word? Or the Evangelicals who have become convinced that the Lord King Trump was sent to them by God? At a time like this, taking Trump literally can be deadly.
This is a crisis. Trump is not up to the job.
UPDATE: At today’s White House press conference, Trump was specifically asked about the danger that his labeling of the Coronavirus outbreak as a “hoax” would lead his supporters to ignore the dangers of COVID-19 and fail to protect themselves adequately. He said he didn’t really mean that, while repeating the word “hoax,” at least five more times.
In the first two months of this newsletter, I’ve explored the threats Trump poses to public health in articles about the incompetence with which he has handled the growing COVID-19 crisis, the thousands of unnecessary deaths that occurred during his first flu season, Trump’s refusal to allow kids in border camps to receive the flu vaccine, and the food safety issues caused by Trump recklessly deregulating pork slaughterhouses. If you’d like to support more election-year coverage like this, please hit the subscribe button!
Oh look, a foliage giraffe that's been trained how to dog whistle!
He's pretty old so maybe he'll catch it at one of his ego rallies