This Weak Man

Bloomberg broke the news, and then CNN confirmed it – Hope Hicks had tested positive of the Covid virus. She had this damned thing, and she had been and was once again one of Donald Trump’s closest advisers and defenders – at his side for years and years. This was not good. He might have this thing too. He might be highly contagious. He would go into quarantine for a bit. Then he’d get back into the public events and whatnot. This was just a pause.

No one expected that, but he rang up Fox News and told Sean Hannity he’d be fine – not to worry – but then, late that same night, he tweeted out that he and the First Lady had tested positive for this Covid virus – they both had this thing. But they’d be fine. He felt fine. Later, in the morning, his White House doctor said he had “mild symptoms” – a slight fever, some congestion, some fatigue – but Donald Trump has stopped tweeting. Something was up, and as the sun set at the White House, he was airlifted to Walter Reed Hospital, for a “few days” there. But he was fine. This was a precaution. And he walked to the helicopter dressed in his usual blue suit and absurdly long necktie with a wan little smile and a nod and wave to the small crowd. He’d be fine. And then he disappeared. The rest was a mystery.

Things had gone wrong for him, but to understand just how wrong takes a deep look into who he is. Politico’s Michael Kruse takes that deep dive:

One day in May of 1918, Donald Trump’s grandfather was walking with Donald Trump’s father along a sidewalk in Queens and said he felt sick. The next day, he was dead… The death certificate said full pneumonia, according to the reporting of the biographer Gwenda Blair, making the elder Trump an early victim of what would come to be known as the Spanish flu.

Fred Trump, twelve at the time, remained stoic, or tried to. “I wasn’t that upset,” he told Blair more than seven decades later. “You know how kids are. But I got upset watching my mother crying and being so sad. It was seeing her that made me feel bad, not my own feelings about what had happened.”

He had no feelings, and he saw no need for them:

The boy who lost his father to the last worst pandemic in turn taught his sons to be “killers.” The underlying message, though: “Being a killer was really code for being invulnerable,” as Mary Trump put it in her recent book. “Going forward,” the niece of Donald Trump wrote of Fred Trump, “he refused to acknowledge or feel loss.” The family, in her recollection, never discussed Fred Trump’s father, or his death, or its cause. It was the lesson above all others that Fred Trump passed on to his children – foremost to his middle son, his preeminent heir, the boy who would become the 45th president of the United States.

A president who far more often than not has tried to ignore or downplay or wish away the most devastating global outbreak of illness since the one that ended the life of his grandfather. Who mostly has refused to so much as wear a mask as the spread of sickness has wreaked havoc. Who mocked his opponent during Tuesday’s debate for his face-covering diligence. Whose every word and gesture communicates his priorities to the nation he leads. And for whom any acknowledgment of vulnerability always has seemed to be tantamount in his mind to an impermissible admission of weakness.

“Weakness,” in the Trump family, Mary Trump wrote, “was perhaps the greatest sin of all.”

“Weakness,” Tony Schwartz, co-author of The Art of the Deal, once told me, “is Trump’s greatest fear by far.”

That might explain Donald Trump’s slow silent walk to the waiting helicopter. He knew his late father was watching. This stupid little virus had undone him. He was a weak man, or as Kruse puts it:

He knows, in the most deep-seated way, of the utter unavoidability of human vulnerability – anybody’s, everybody’s and, of course, his own. And yet Trump resolutely followed the mandate his father modeled to squelch any such concession. Fundamentally disparate but inextricably linked, these are two of the most essential and major motivators of Trump’s lifelong pattern of behavior. Now, with the news that Trump has tested positive for the virus that’s killed more than a million people worldwide, all of this has come to a perilous head…

He is 74 and obese, and already was facing a pending public reckoning – and the fear of being seen as anything other than strong in the end is precisely what has made him so weak.

Obsessions will do that:

Trump has spent his life attempting to project uncommon vigor and blind positivity – the exact opposite of this awareness of risk, dumb-luck dread and fate. “You can’t be scared,” he (actually, Tony Schwartz) wrote in The Art of the Deal in 1987. “Nothing scares me,” he told a reporter from Newsday in 1991. He’s repeated versions of these declarations ever since. It is also, on the most elemental level, what’s fueled over the past five-plus years his political ascent – calling America weak, calling his opponents weak, issuing again and again facile expressions of blunt, impervious strength.

And throughout this disastrous year, as a spreading, insidious pathogen has created for him ever-increasing jeopardy, political and otherwise, Trump time and time again has dismissed the advice of experts and flouted the public health rules and regulations of his own administration, from his toxic use of the word “hoax” to his flip talk of miracle cures to his reckless politicization of the best-practices of wearing masks to his delinquent staging of packed-crowd rallies from Charlotte to Tulsa to Nevada and back to North Carolina and Florida and Pennsylvania and, just the other night, Minnesota – by which point his close aide Hope Hicks already reportedly was beginning to exhibit symptoms.

That meant that this all came crashing down:

As a boy, Trump watched his father’s residual response to the death of his father. As a man in his 30s, he watched the alcohol-exacerbated descent of his older brother as well as the AIDS-driven demise of his mentor, the infamous Roy Cohn – in both cases, though, keeping conspicuous, even callous distance from these distinct but marked and unmistakable reminders of human frailty. And as a man in his 40s and 50s, he watched the dominant, domineering Fred Trump, wracked by dementia, shrivel and wither away. Now, in the assessment of Schwartz, Donald Trump finally is being forced to grapple squarely with the plain reality of human vulnerability.

“This is the heart of it: This feeling that he cannot control his circumstance is overwhelming and unbearable to him, so he has built a life around avoiding that feeling, including by inventing a reality… a fictional world… a myth he’s made for himself that has almost no bearing on what’s actually going on,” Schwartz told me Friday.

“He is confronting his own mortality – here it is – and now it’s physical, it’s political, it’s mental, it’s emotional,” he said.

 “On every count, weakness.”

It all fell apart, and CNN’s Kevin Liptak has the details:

President Donald Trump arrived Friday evening at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where the White House says he will remain hospitalized for “the next few days.”

Emerging from the White House residence at 6:16 p.m. ET for his first public appearance since announcing 16 hours earlier he had tested positive for coronavirus, Trump walked under his own power to his waiting helicopter and displayed no major outward signs of illness.

Wearing a navy blue suit, a blue silk necktie and a dark face mask, Trump waved to the media and gave a thumbs-up, but did not stop to talk. Chief of staff Mark Meadows, also wearing a mask, followed him aboard.

Trump landed at the hospital a short time later, saluting his military aides before climbing into his limousine for a brief ride to the hospital’s main building. His hand could be seen waving as he sped past assembled media.

After his arrival, the President posted an 18-second video to his Twitter account, seeking to reassure the American people he is doing “very well” after his coronavirus diagnosis.

No one believed that:

His upbeat attitude did not reflect the inherent severity of the situation. It remains extremely rare for a president to overnight in hospital, given the extensive medical facilities available at the White House.

Trump himself was said to be spooked after he announced he tested positive early Friday, and has become increasingly alarmed by his diagnosis as he developed symptoms like a fever overnight, according to a person familiar with his reaction.

A Trump adviser said there is reason for concern about the President’s health.

“This is serious,” the adviser said. The adviser went on to describe Trump as very tired, very fatigued and having some trouble breathing.

But he’s not a WEAK man! That was the message:

There has been no transfer of power to Vice President Mike Pence, said White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah. “The President is in charge,” she said.

A White House official on Friday evening stressed there is no reason for the public to be alarmed about Trump’s condition.

The official acknowledged that Trump is dealing with some symptoms of the virus and is “fatigued.” But, according to the official, the President’s condition is not deteriorating. In The official said there are plans to keep the public updated on Trump’s health over the coming days.

The President’s condition is not deteriorating, but there will be no updates on his health at all. There’s no need:

The President is taking the situation “very seriously,” the official added.

The White House had continued to insist the President “remains in good spirits, has mild symptoms, and has been working throughout the day” in the hours before he traveled to Walter Reed.

Trust them on that, but it’s too late for that now:

President Trump left the White House for medical monitoring at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday, throwing the presidential campaign into uncharted terrain as both parties grappled with the political fallout from his coronavirus diagnosis.

Never in recent memory has a candidate been hospitalized for an indefinite period in the final weeks of a presidential race, creating an extraordinary situation with uncertain political dynamics for both sides…

Mr. Trump’s illness places the virus firmly at the center of the presidential campaign for the final weeks of the election, intensifying the focus on an issue where voters overwhelmingly given the president low marks for his performance.

With the president trailing in national and many swing state polls, Republicans worried that his medical condition would significantly hamper his ability to change the trajectory of the race into his favor.

They need to regroup:

The Trump campaign announced that it was suspending his events and those of his family members, halting the crowded rallies that energized the president and his supporters.

Joseph R. Biden Jr., after announcing that he had tested negative for the coronavirus – twice – said he would continue campaigning as planned, offering prayers for the president’s recovery and a forceful plea for Americans to wear masks at a campaign event in Michigan on Friday afternoon. His campaign pulled down its negative advertising, though some ads may take several days to stop airing on television.

Earlier Friday, Mr. Trump did not appear on a scheduled call with governors from across the country, and Vice President Mike Pence took his place…

By Friday evening, it was unclear when the president would leave the hospital and far from certain that the final two presidential debates would proceed as planned later this month.

And add this:

Six people – including the president – have said they tested positive for the coronavirus after attending President Trump’s announcement of his nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, throwing the future of her confirmation hearings into question.

Top Senate Democrats demanded on Friday that Republicans slow their speedy timetable for confirming Judge Barrett, saying that if Republicans marched ahead with hearings without an understanding of the full extent of the virus’s spread from the event, an “already illegitimate process will become a dangerous one.”

Too many people may now be too highly contagious to proceed with this Supreme Court vote. They’re dropping like flies:

Many top Republicans attended the Rose Garden ceremony on Sept. 26 without masks and without distancing, raising concerns that others may have contracted the virus but had not yet been diagnosed.

Melania Trump, the first lady; Kellyanne Conway, Mr. Trump’s former counselor; and John I. Jenkins, the president of the University of Notre Dame, also tested positive after the event…

Leading Republicans said they planned to continue “full steam ahead” to confirm Judge Barrett before Election Day. But Mr. Trump’s illness, and the fact that two senators on the pivotal Judiciary Committee – Senator Thom Tillis, Republican of North Carolina, and Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah – have also tested positive after attending the event, raise questions about whether their extraordinarily ambitious timetable could hold.

Mr. Tillis’s diagnosis also dealt a devastating blow to Republicans’ hopes of retaining control of the Senate, given that he is already facing a difficult re-election battle.

This is a political nightmare, and the New York Times’ Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman explain why:

With Mr. Biden already leading in the polls, and Mr. Trump’s electoral prospects dependent on his ability to campaign, the president has little time to change the trajectory of the race. The fate of his re-election bid increasingly seemed to hinge on his own health – and whether he will able to overcome the disease and persuade voters to give him another four years.

The split-screen between the candidates on Friday represented a striking reversal from the last few months, during which Mr. Trump pushed on with his rallies and belittled Mr. Biden for adhering to health protocols and running a “basement campaign.”

Biden isn’t in any basement, but he does play by the rules, and because he does, and thus doesn’t get sick, he’s now the one who is out and about, campaigning, and not gloating at all:

The former vice president was careful to avoid anything that could be perceived as exploiting the situation Friday; at an appearance in Grand Rapids, Mich., he did not criticize Mr. Trump for his handling of the virus, and closed his remarks by calling on God to “protect the first family, and every family that is dealing with this virus.”

Mr. Biden’s campaign also moved to take down negative television commercials Friday that lashed Mr. Trump for his handling of the virus, according to a Democratic official familiar with the ad traffic. And Mr. Biden’s campaign manager, Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, emailed the entire campaign urging its members to “refrain from posting about the situation on social media.”

Mr. Biden’s aides said he had no plans to step away from his travels – at least for now.

Biden does not have to prove that he is not a weak man. Donald Trump’s obsessions are Donald Trump’s problem. Biden has some ideas on how to make things better in the crazy times, which makes him the strong one here, or at least the responsible sensible one here:

In the White House, advisers to the president acknowledged that the positive test would remind voters of how dismissive Mr. Trump had been about the virus, not only with the neglect of his own safety but also in his overly rosy assessments about a pandemic that has killed more than 208,000 Americans. Mr. Trump’s recklessness, one adviser acknowledged, amounted to a political “disaster.”

As it became clear late Friday that a number of attendees at last week’s Rose Garden announcement of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination had also tested positive, the White House was also confronting accusations they had hosted a so-called “super spreader” event.

It seems that the “killer” who despises the weak and who fears nothing, because he’s so strong, is quite weak:

GOP officials were concerned that a race with very few undecided voters would freeze in place. Multiple party strategists said their polling in the two nights after the presidential debate had revealed substantial slippage, and not just at the top of the ticket.

“This limits Trump’s opportunity to turn this thing around and drive a winning message,” said Terry Sullivan, a Republican consultant. “He’s lost any ability to control the narrative.”

Should the final weeks of the campaign be dominated by the coronavirus, Mr. Trump’s challenge will be intensified by his casual approach to the disease and its deadliness.

The president spent months disregarding and mocking the basic precautions, such as wearing a mask that his health advisers were urging Americans to take to protect themselves.

It’s over for him, perhaps:

Few Democrats had any degree of confidence on how the final weeks of the race would play out.

Representative Dina Titus of Nevada said Mr. Biden should proceed. “I don’t see why he should quit campaigning unless something really bad happens,” Ms. Titus said. “And then all bets are off.”

But so far there’s only this:

What some Democrats feared, and Republicans hoped, is that there would be a rallying around Mr. Trump and he would garner sympathy from voters. Yet even the most optimistic Republican allowed that those sentiments wouldn’t automatically translate into votes.

At the very least, Republicans said they hoped Mr. Trump’s illness would prompt him to refrain from the inflammatory rhetoric that has alienated many voters and make the election less of a referendum on his behavior.

“Peace and calm helps him,” said Alex Castellanos, a longtime Republican strategist.

But he can’t manage either of those, not now:

After having gone forward with the large rallies he craves, despite rules against large gatherings in many states, Mr. Trump will not be able to leave Washington during a final, crucial stretch of the campaign.

Moreover, one of his central arguments against Mr. Biden, that the 77-year-old former vice president is enfeebled and unfit to lead the country, has now been undermined by questions about the president’s own health.

“Trump is now in the position of becoming exhibit No. 1 for the failure of his leadership on coronavirus, and he runs the risk that his supporters will feel misled by his dismissiveness of the virus and the need for precautions,” said Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster.

Now many of them might suddenly see a sneering insecure old rich man frightened to death of appearing weak. Only sissies and cowards take precautions? But now it’s possible he may actually die, frightened to death of appearing weak. Tens of thousands have already died because he was frightened to death of appearing weak.

Max Boot puts that this way:

The president deserves our sympathy and best wishes for a speedy recovery – but he cannot, and will not, escape judgment for his failure to treat the coronavirus with the gravity and urgency that it deserves. On Sept. 21, he told an Ohio rally that covid-19 “affects virtually nobody.” At Tuesday’s presidential debate, he said of Joe Biden, “I don’t wear masks like him.” Even on Thursday, shortly before he was diagnosed, Trump said that “the end of the pandemic is in sight.”

Trump’s actions were as dangerous as his words. He continued to hold rallies, sometimes indoors, at which many attendees did not wear masks. Incredibly, he attended an indoor event in New Jersey on Thursday after his aide Hope Hicks tested positive. Few White House staffers wear masks, because the president frowns upon them. Even the president’s diagnosis did not change this reckless behavior. At the presidential debate, Trump’s family disregarded the rules by refusing to don masks, putting everyone in danger – including Joe Biden and Jill Biden.

Trump seemed to base his whole reelection campaign on the pretense that the coronavirus was magically going to disappear. Now he has been reminded, in the most awful way possible, that the threat is not going away anytime soon. Not even all of the resources of the White House could keep him safe.

But wait, his father said be a “killer” – despise weakness and be invulnerable. And here he is. And here we are. His father was wrong.

About Alan

The editor is a former systems manager for a large California-based HMO, and a former senior systems manager for Northrop, Hughes-Raytheon, Computer Sciences Corporation, Perot Systems and other such organizations. One position was managing the financial and payroll systems for a large hospital chain. And somewhere in there was a two-year stint in Canada running the systems shop at a General Motors locomotive factory - in London, Ontario. That explains Canadian matters scattered through these pages. Otherwise, think large-scale HR, payroll, financial and manufacturing systems. A résumé is available if you wish. The editor has a graduate degree in Eighteenth-Century British Literature from Duke University where he was a National Woodrow Wilson Fellow, and taught English and music in upstate New York in the seventies, and then in the early eighties moved to California and left teaching. The editor currently resides in Hollywood California, a block north of the Sunset Strip.
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1 Response to This Weak Man

  1. Rick says:

    (Hey, you think this is Schadenfreude? Naw! Try karma!)

    Trump has a choice. He can either try to look like a strong guy, or look like a smart guy. I think he chooses the former because he has learned through experience that if you’re strong enough, you can overpower all those smart people, so much so that you can make truth itself irrelevant.

    Why does Trump constantly lie? I think it’s largely to demonstrate his power to dominate, not just other people themselves, but also the way they think.

    The way this works:

    * First Trump tells a lie. Then someone (or many people) fact-check him, and prove what he said was false.

    * Then he tells that same lie again. Mistakenly thinking he might have missed the first fact-check (since it probably wasn’t reported on Fox News), people correct him again.

    * Then he tells that lie a third time, and so on.

    * After a while, people stop correcting him, since they see no purpose in continuing to correct someone who’s obviously not paying attention, and besides, they have many other things to do.

    Voila! Trump wins! And so does his lie!

    This next part was in CNN.com back in late 2019:

    “Between July 8, when we started counting Trump’s false claims at CNN, and December 15, the day until which we currently have comprehensive data, Trump’s most frequent false claim of any kind was that China is paying the entirety of the cost of his tariffs on imported Chinese products.

    “We’re not paying for the tariffs; China is paying for the tariffs, for the 100th time,” he told reporters in one typical remark on August 18. …

    His assertion has been contradicted by numerous tariff-paying American companies and by multiple economic studies. But Trump said it on 49 separate occasions over those five months. And he said it 20 times in August alone, more than he did in any other month, as he faced scrutiny over his intensifying trade war.”

    Possibly he’s actually correct about this. Maybe he has some arcane explanation — that China pays for the tariffs in lost revenues on their products or something — but if so, he needs to argue that out loud.

    But as you may have noticed, he rarely if ever actually defends his outrageous claims, he merely keeps repeating them, assuming that everyone will eventually give up looking for rationality in his barely-coherent run-on ramblings, and will just smile and say, “Well, hey, what can you do? This is just Trump, being Trump!”

    Besides, who among us has time to spend fact-checking whether he really, as he has said over 175 times, inherited from Obama a greatly weakened military, but by increasing its budget, he rebuilt it up into a completely new and improved fighting machine, the likes of which the world has never yatta-yatta-yatta — while, in the words of Washington Post’s humongous list of Trump’s exaggerations and lies:

    * “Trump often falsely claims he’s ‘totally rebuilt’ the U.S. military. The military budget had declined in recent years, as a result of decreases in funding for Overseas Contingency Operations as both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan came to a close, not because it’s been so gravely depleted. … The biggest defense budget was in 2010 [under Obama], and in inflation-adjusted dollars it [was] nearly ten percent larger than Trump’s 2020 budget”.

    Or when he says, “We have the lowest Mortality Rate in the World. The Fake News should be reporting these most important of facts, but they don’t!”

    WaPo again:

    * “This is false. Nearly 40 Americans have died of covid-19 per 100,000 people, second worst in the world behind only the United Kingdom of the 20 countries most affected by the virus…”

    And that list of fact-checks goes on and on. By July 9th of this year, the list of Trump’s over-the-top prevarications surged to over 20,000.

    But while all of America hears Trump repeat these false claims, very few of us bother to independently verify whether there’s any truth to them. And while some us, including me, now just assume any claim he makes has a better than 50% chance of being wrong, most people are too busy with their everyday lives to give it even one moment of consideration.

    In fact, according to one study, many people really don’t even care if he lies:

    Conducted prior to the 2016 presidential election, the study focuses on credibility experiments. Subjects were asked to rate their belief in eight statements (four true, four false) that Trump made during his campaign. Some were attributed to him: “Donald Trump said that vaccines cause autism.” Others had no attribution: “Vaccines cause autism.” Then came the fact checks. …

    There was a large bipartisan shift in belief after the fact check, suggesting that both conservatives and liberals can change their minds if they’re presented with convincing, unbiased information.

    But there was a catch: After a one-week delay, subjects partially “rebelieved” the false statements and partially forgot that factual information was true. Or, to quote the study: “Even if individuals update their beliefs temporarily, explanations regarding both fact and fiction seemingly have an expiration date.”

    None of this bodes well for American democracy.

    And here’s the author’s takeaway from a similar study, The Authentic Appeal of the Lying Demagogue: Proclaiming the Deeper Truth About Political Illegitimacy (Hahl, Kim, et al.):

    “Support for a lying demagogue is not simply a desire to ascribe positive characteristics to a preferred candidate. These Trump voters could have viewed him as warm and sincere, but they did not. They also could have chosen to justify his lie by insisting that it was true. Instead, they justified it as a form of symbolic protest, viewing him as increasingly authentic the more they did so.”

    So let me repeat that: lies of a demagogue can be “justified … as a form of symbolic protest”.

    Once again, none of this bodes well for American democracy.

    I miss the old days when you could trust that your president wasn’t trying to sell you on all the allegedly great things he’s done, knowing that Americans will give him a pass, since we have all gotten so used to being bull-shitted all our lives by advertisers trying to sell us stuff that turns out to be not quite as advertised.

    (Which reminds me: Please, do your country a favor! No more electing “businessmen” to run our country! For some mysterious reason, too many Americans seem to give businessmen much too much credit for knowing how to do things they have absolutely no experience in ever having done.)

    And forget about truth, since once Trump finishes talking everybody into a brain-numbing stupor, rational argument no longer matters, much less literal truth. The only thing that’s true is what Trump and, presumably, his noisy minority base claim it is.

    And by the way, I often get corrected for saying Trump isn’t smart, by people who insist that, while he may indeed be a crooked jerk, “he’s not stupid!”

    I disagree! I think he’s not smart, he’s crafty! Crafty isn’t smart! Being a smart president is knowing enough about the world to know to do the right thing; being crafty is merely being “clever at achieving one’s aims by indirect or deceitful methods”.

    So my rule-of-thumb when choosing a president is, I want my president to be someone who actually understands the real world, and not some tough-talking low-life who’s only skill is sweet-talking just enough voters into thinking he’s got everything under control.

    Before you read my next point, you need to understand that I am not a bible-thumping God-fearing man. In fact, I’d describe myself as an agnostic who can’t say for certain either way whether there is or isn’t a god, at least not the one I kept hearing about while growing up.

    In fact, if I were forced to take a stand that there is a god, it would be that the universe is God, with God’s laws being the way everything in the cosmos works, and that there’s such a thing as cause-and-effect, the results of which are usually pretty predictable, and so if you don’t know diddly about cause-and-effect, you risk getting whupped upside the head by God.

    So just for argument’s sake, let’s say that last sentence is true, but still with some of the traditional mythological old-guy-with-a-beard overtones.

    Now here’s my point: I wonder if enfeebling Trump with the virus near the end of his reelection race is just an attempt by God — who must be smarting from too often being blamed for sending Trump down to us — to save the human race, along with all earth’s other life forms, from Trump’s apparent master plan to destroy the planet.

    And to linger on that religious optic for just another moment, you could even analogize the Republicans around Trump, who have been dropping like flies, to the Passover story. These people are the non-believers who insisted on ignoring God’s laws:

    God tells Moses and Aaron to instruct the Israelites to paint blood from their Passover lambs on to the frames of their doors. Painting blood onto their door frames signified their faith in God’s warning and marked them out from the pagan Egyptians; when the Angel of Death passed through Egypt he would pass over the doors marked with blood (hence the name, “Passover”) without killing the firstborn males who lived within those houses.

    In other words, those who arrogantly challenged God’s laws weren’t saved.

    And not to ignore that positive-testing elephant in the room:

    There are many people right now saying we should “put politics aside”, even suggesting Biden pause his campaigning while we send our “thoughts and prayers” to the president and his family and to those other Republicans who tested positive after going to that recent Rose Garden shindig, but I think we need to be a bit more realistic about this, and maybe even ruthlessly so.

    The fact that Trump and all these no-maskers caught COVID is not some unhappy accident, it’s virtual proof that COVID is not some partisan “hoax”, perpetrated by Democrats as a way to get rid of a president that they, for some unfathomable reason, don’t like.

    Republicans, following the example of their lemming chief, insist that the Democrats politicize everything, including wearing masks, when in fact, I doubt there has been another president in American history other than this one who saw everything, everything, everything, through a partisan political filter, to the point of putting his whole country in danger.

    Note well: Democrats didn’t give the president and his people the virus, they gave it to themselves.

    They made fun of people who wore masks, prompting their gullible minions to go mask-less into Walmarts to fight for their “constitutional right” to infect their fellow humans; they refused to social distance; because they value money more than life itself, they used their state governors to reopen their economies too soon, while ignoring the safeguard standards designed to save lives; likewise, they routed teachers and kids from the safety of their homes, into the outside world where they risked catching a possibly killer of a disease, to then bring back to their families; they kept gathering themselves boisterously into crowds, inside and out of churches and weddings and bars, just to show how the scientists were plying us with fake information, while they recklessly tested the limits of their beliefs that all this virus stuff is just a bunch of made-up hooey.

    Well, call it karma, but if nothing else serves as evidence that their beliefs were nonsense, their mask-mocking dear leader and his wife testing positive of the “hoax” should do the job — a “hoax”, we dare not forget, that has taken the lives, at this point, of about 210,000 or more Americans, more by far than any other country in the world — a fact you never hear the big man himself ever acknowledging.

    No, I don’t want Trump to die, but not because I’ve had a change of heart and actually like the guy, because I really don’t — but for these reasons:

    * If he dies, it makes what happens to the country a dangerous mystery. Pence becomes the candidate? He could, God forbid, possibly even beat Biden? Who knows. If Trump lives, we pretty much know what to do to handle the Trump problem: beat him in the election, and make sure he stays beat and doesn’t try to lock himself in the bathroom of the White House, hopefully accomplishing this in a way that doesn’t screw up our constitutional rule.

    In other words, no need for the military to get involved; no military coup or any such thing. Still, I feel much more comfortable with us dealing with Trump alive than dead.

    * But I also want him to live long enough to give him the opportunity to finally admit he was wrong.

    Not that he would ever do that, of course, but assuming he doesn’t, even people who have supported him all along, through his most outrageous insults, tweeted lies, threats and misdeeds — from separating kids from parents just to scare the doo-doo out of any future refugees, to attempting to abolish universal healthcare for millions of middle-class and poor people and replace it with nothing at all, to ripping up a carefully-crafted treaty that was successfully keeping Iran from building nuclear weapons so that they could resume their building bombs, and that’s just a few his bone-headed shenanigans among a nearly uncountable multitude of them — will have to finally concede that he was wrong about his approach to just about everything, and once nearly everybody finally admits he’s wrong, he’s lost all his power over them, and over the country, and over the world.

    Just now, I’m seeing video of the president, waving to his supporters from an SUV while taking a gratuitous joy ride down the streets outside the hospital, maybe endangering the health and even life of his driver and the Secret Service agent in the front seat. (His doing this just might be due to the reported “mental side effect” of one of the crazy drug cocktails he seems to have insisted they put him on.)

    So while I don’t want him to die from this, I must admit I do hope his health takes at least a temporary turn for the worse, just enough so that he and his crowd get God’s message, that not only can the Truth Make You Free, it just possibly can, if you defy its power, also make you deathly ill.

    Rick

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