Trump’s Monday presser, after a weekend of rage-tweeting, was a wowzer. Yes, he stormed offstage after a racist, sexist meltdown, offering further welcome proof in this difficult time of his cool competence under fire.
It also featured a host of other atrocities—thanks to the tireless Aaron Rupar—starting with a gaudy, lying banner boasting of an America with testing “unmatched and unrivaled and it’s not even close,” except it’s not, unless you work in the White House. In fact, we lead the world in tests only because we lead the world in cases and deaths, our per capita rate of 26 per 1,000 people lags behind Denmark, Italy, Germany and other countries, to date we’ve tested under nine million people or just 2% of the country, even Republicans concede we still lack what’s needed to safely re-open—and, to get a test, you still must have symptoms.
Trump also tried a dubious new campaign theme—”People Are Dying From Suicide, Drug Addiction and Other Things Too!”—and offered a massive dodge on his lame Obamagate fiction when challenged by the Washington Post‘s Philip Rucker on Obama’s “biggest political crime in American history, by far.” Cue gobbledegook: “You know what the crime is. The crime is very obvious to everybody… It’s been going on for a long time… and it’s a disgrace that it happened, and if you look at what’s gone on… and all this information that’s being released… some terrible things happened…” On Twitter: “Racism, an incomprehensible conspiracy theory, and a tantrum…This is our president.”
More alarming even than Trump’s deteriorating mental health and clownish theatrics is the stark realities still facing the country, and his own sick, stubborn denial—and sometimes exacerbation—of them. Thanks to his ongoing cluelessness, and despite pressure from the White House, officials at a Pennsylvania factory producing still desperately needed PPE have declined to allow a heedlessly unmasked Trump to visit, citing the health risks he could pose to workers.
And his bizarre, bravura, uber-scripted, Mission-Accomplished-redux pronouncement, “We have met the moment, and we have prevailed”—complete with the claim that “all throughout the country, the numbers are coming down rapidly”—is dangerous bullshit flatly
contradicted by his own pandemic task force. According to undisclosed White House data obtained by NBC News, task force reports show infection rates dramatically spiking in multiple areas away from previous coastal hot spots. Ten newly infected heartland communities, often in areas following Trump’s advice to relax restrictions, have recorded surges of 72.4% or greater just in the last week. Along with rural areas, they include Nashville, Tennessee, Des Moines, Iowa, Amarillo, Texas, and topping the list with a terrifying 650% increase, Central City, Kentucky—home to the ever-classy Mitch McConnell. We wish all these folks well.
As to the perpetrator of these once-unimaginable crimes: Heck of a job, Donnie.
Abby Zimet has written CD‘s Further column since 2008. A longtime, award-winning print journalist for newspapers and magazines, she lived in the Maine woods for about a dozen years before moving to Portland in 1983. Having come of political age during the Vietnam War, she has long been involved in women’s, labor, anti-war, social justice and refugee rights issues.