A senior official of the Centers for Disease Control has raised the alarm on the spread of a dangerous memory-sapping virus in Washington.
“All the signs have been pointing in this direction, but I wanted to wait until the evidence was firm,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
First son-in-law Jared Kushner’s amnesia on disclosing more than 70 financial assets, in excess of $10 million, was the final confirmation he needed.
“There is, without doubt, a rapidly spreading virus emanating from the White House,” the official said. “Its early symptom is an unaccountable loss of memory, followed by panic, incoherence and often belligerence.”
President Donald Trump was an early victim, exhibiting signs well before his election. But within his close circle, others have been seriously affected.
Pressed for examples, the official said they were “alarmingly numerous,” including widespread inability to recognize foreigners or remember conversations with them.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ failure to recall meetings with a key Russian official—or their content—was an obvious sign, as was former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s memory blank about accepting more than $500,000 for representing Turkish interests. But former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s lapse in reporting $17 million earned as a foreign agent for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine was also worrying.
Some victims suffer long-term memory loss from the virus, including former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who remarked that Adolf Hitler “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons” on his own people. And Housing Secretary Ben Carson—who is black—exhibited severe symptoms when he described captive African slaves as “immigrants” who came to pursue the American dream and so “worked even longer, harder for less.”
Energy Secretary Rick Perry was already infected when he accepted his job, the official concluded. “He forgot that he wanted to abolish the department. Then he forgot that it oversaw the security of US nuclear weapons.”
“It’s a troubling feature of the virus that the victims don’t realize how sick they are,” the official added. “Unfortunately, many are beyond help.”
He declined to discuss the effects of the virus on Trump, saying the details were “too mind-boggling for any single scientist.” But he warned, it would be best if Trump, his family and close associates, were removed from Washington and quarantined until they no longer posed a danger to the population.
The president, now 71, should make “a public-spirited gesture” and bequeath his brain to science when he passes on, the official urged. However, “by that time we may find nothing there to see.”
This post was first published on BillMoyers.com
Olivia Ward is a former foreign affairs writer for the Toronto Star. She has written about international affairs for more than 16 years, beginning as the UN correspondent, and led the Star’s Moscow and London bureaus and has reported from the former Soviet Union, South Asia and the Middle East, and on conflict zones including Chechnya, Tajikistan, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, Kosovo, Serbia, Iraq, and Israel and Palestine. Her work has been the subject of documentaries including A Child’s Century of War, the Emmy-winning The Selling of Innocents and Devil’s Bargain. She is the winner of a National Newspaper Award. Now retired from the Star, she continues to collaborate on documentary films with Shelley Saywell and her Bishari company, and writes satirical blogs. Follow her on Twitter: @wardolivia.