Drug addict child-rapist and confessed sexual predator Donald Trump never gets tired of expressing his contempt for the health, safety and security of the average American. In his press conference about the COVID-19 strain of coronavirus he reminded us once again of the length, depth and breadth of that contempt. Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, special advisor to the director general of the World Health Organization, characterized the press conference this way: “I found most of what he said a little incoherent.”
“A little incoherent” is Donald Trump on a good day. But that’s when he’s being extemporaneous. When he’s reading a statement or from notes Trump is capable of being as coherent as anyone — provided that he doesn’t stray too far from the written material. But what sets this press conference apart is that even the written material was incoherent. It was as if Trump put a low priority on what was needed to be said because it was a topic that just didn’t interest him. Maybe he didn’t want his staff to spend too much time on it.
Of course, Trump as usual made most of it all about him and how great he is, about how he closed borders when “a lot of people were saying” that he shouldn’t, and wow, did he ever show them. When he did mention actual sick Americans he said, “we have a total of 15.” If by that he means there are 15 American cases of COVID-19 coronavirus, Trump is wrong, there are currently 60. Fifteen are currently in the United States and forty-five are abroad, but that distinction is irrelevant. There are sixty and their location is of no relevance.
According to Trump it appears that the “infection” has gotten “smaller, quite a bit smaller, in the last few days.” Trump then went on a brief and baffling solo cadenza about money, about how they (the White House?) are requesting two and a half billion dollars to fight coronavirus, while “some Republicans want us to have 4, and some democrats want us to have 81/2.” But whatever amount they settle on, it’s “a lot.” Or at least it seems like a lot ever since Trump and his cronies gave a $1.5 trillion tax cut to the rich.
“I want you to understand something that shocked me,” Trump said, “the flu kills from 25,000 to 69,000 people a year. That was shocking to me.” Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel explains it this way, “He’s a guy who just admitted that he’s surprised that 25,000 to 69,000 people a year die of the flu. That just tells you how little he knows about public health … because every doctor knows that and lots of health policy experts know that and he told you, he just revealed how ignorant he is about the situation.”
“We are rapidly developing a vaccine,” Trump said. No we’re not. “We’re very, very ready for this,” Trump said. No we’re not. Trump’s overall message, if it could be said that his semi-coherent ramblings had an overall message, was that everything is going to be okay because he and his team are on the job. But there is no way for anyone to say how this COVID-19 strain of coronavirus will pan out, and experts at the Centers for Disease Control warn that it could infect between 40 and 70 percent of Americans this year. Recently a woman in Singapore was apparently reinfected, which is worrying. If true, this virus is no honey bee, it’s a wasp.
But Trump doesn’t care, just as long as everyone knows everything is great and he’s the reason. It’s Soviet-era logic used to deadly effect at Chernobyl, where political expediency outweighs dangers to public health. The American people have the right to know what’s going on, and they have the right to have a president who is both informed and cares. Trump is a liar who is neither.