02:42:53 am on
Tuesday 16 Jul 2024

Trump Fiddles
AJ Robinson

I saw a photograph, retouched, of course, that showed Trump fiddling as flames could be seen in the background. What’s sad is that, unless I’m much mistaken, Trump, himself, posted it. Also, I believe he posted it in response to the Stock Market tanking on 16 March 2020.

Coronavirus is a true pandemic.

That image now takes on a far more ominous meaning as the Coronavirus is declared a true pandemic. Normally, this would be the time for cool clear thoughts, for a leader to truly “step up to the plate,” as the old saying goes, and show us what he’s made of. Well, Trump’s done that; now we see he’s made of nothing more than smoke and mirrors, again borrowing an old cliché.

For three years, we have dealt with his lies and distortions. He’s attacked institutions. He’s claimed the Deep State, whatever he means by that, is out to get him; Democrats oppose him for no reason and anyone that disagrees with him is either wrong, lying or a traitor.

His lies have been great fodder for his minions, the Republicans and conservative pundits, as they could argue he isn’t doing any great harm. I mean, he has been doing much harm, but that’s been their argument. After all, a lie about his inaugural crowd size; who cares?

Also, his supporters get something out of his wild antics. The Republicans have advanced their agenda and reporters and pundits have reaped ratings and income. It’s cynical, but true.

As for the minions, well, they are hurt, in fact, by what he’s done. They don’t care or know enough to care. In the case of the racists and xenophobes, they’ve lost much financially, but they get to hate openly and see minorities suffer, which is more important to them.

Now, we’re facing a real crisis, one even more dangerous than a hurricane: Coronavirus also known as COVID-19. Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and it is yet to recovered, but, again, his minions don’t care because it doesn’t affect them. This virus can affect them and, more importantly, will affect them.

There’s no avoiding COVID-19 because, unfortunately, a virus does not have a political or social agenda. Sorry, minions, this is one opponent he can’t insult, bully, lie about or ridicule. In fact, Trump has lied about COVID-19, but the big difference is that people immediately point out the lies.

Last week, the Great Orange went on prime-time television to address the nation from the Oval Office. This was his moment to shine, to put forth ideas to deal with the growing crisis. He failed, acting as a third grader doing a report he did not want to do, by not acting presidential.

Trump could have spoken about implementing wide-spread testing, at no cost to the people. He could have asked Congress to pass a sick leave bill or school meal programme to help families. Republicans have already shot down the former, the administration is planning to throw thousands of families off Food Stamps next month; his only plan for dealing directly with the virus was a sort of travel ban on Europe.

He loves travel bans. Of course, note the words: “sort of.” After the address, he tweeted to clarify that not all travel would be banned, especially any involving trade or places where he has property. How sad.

No, can’t do anything to damage business, right? So, once again Trump’s statement had to be explained and clarified afterwards, as it was full of inaccuracies. Minions, you happy with this?

On top of that, many right-wing pundits, Rush Limbaugh and Jerry Falwell Jr among them, are calling the virus a hoax, a Democrat plot to damage the Trump presidency. Even those that accept the validity of the virus are still using it to attack Democrats. “What are they going to do about COVID-19?” they ask. “If they don’t like what Trump is doing, what’s their plan to deal with it?”

Excuse me, people, but this is the Trump Administration. He has HHS, the CDC, VA Hospitals and other resources at his disposal. Trump is the one who must act, decisively.

Cases of COVID-19 will drop to zero, Trump claimed.

As little as a month ago, Trump was calling COVID-19 a hoax. Then it was: we have a few cases, but it’ll soon drop to zero. Oh, or how about this one: the virus will burn away when the temperature goes up in April. Anyone remember that?

Remember, when he was first in office and signing all those Executive Orders to mostly reverse everything President “Blackenstein” did? He’d sit in the Oval Office, write his name big and bold and then proudly show off the document to the Press, as a child showing his teacher that he has learned to write his name. Why isn’t he doing that, now?

Trump previously said the southern USA border was a crisis and declared a national emergency. Republicans cheered and diverted money from other agencies to help pay for his wall, yes, the one Mexico was supposed to pay for. How long did it take for him to declare a national emergency for Coronavirus?

Even when he did, what exactly are the measures that have been implemented? He ordered $1.5 trillion injected into Wall Street and the Fed dropped interest to try to stabilise the falling Stock Market. Trump wants a bailout for the oil companies and his friends, an echo of his tax cut.

Money for testing, treatments, relief for cash-strapped families and so on would be great Trump hasn’t done that, yet. Heck, he hasn’t even expressed sympathy or concern for the sick and dead. How sad.

What do his pronouncements or lack thereof say of him? His message to the states and their governors was don’t expect anything from the Feds. You need supplies, equipment and personnel? Find what you need yourself.

When asked, by a reporter, Trump says he bears no responsibility for anything negative. When a follow up question chided him about closing the pandemic offices, he insulted the reporter, as usual, again denying any responsibility. He also denied any knowledge of the closing, despite the fact he proudly announced the closure months ago. Oh, but rest assured, Fox News and his minions won’t remember that. Wow, that’s scary.

Meanwhile, the House has passed measures to help the people hurt by the disease: paid leave, money for unemployment, and help to state food programmes. The Senate, under orders from Senate Majority Leader, Mitch “Moscow” McConnell, took the weekend off. Will they take up the bill, which has broad bipartisan support?

To be honest, I don’t know. Given the commitment, of McConnell, to the Senate not doing much of anything, it’s quite possible he’ll table the bill and, if anyone asks, he’ll say it’s too expensive. As of this writing, he and other Republican Senators are studying the bill and they’re talking about considering it later this week.

It doesn’t help that Trump’s attitude toward the bill seems to change hour by hour. Last Friday, Trump signed off on it. As recently as yesterday, Trump tweeted his disproval of some elements.

How long will it take to hash out a final bill? How many people will die in the interim? The White House is talking, today, of a massive stimulus bill, but details are thin. Among the measures they’re considering are money for the airlines and a cut to the payroll tax, which doesn’t help much if you’re not working, but that’s how Trump thinks. How sad.

Biden and Sanders cancelled rallies to help contain the virus. The last Democrat debate was without an audience, specifically to prevent further spreading of the disease. The Biden and Sanders showed compassion and concern.

What of Trump? He planned to hold his rallies as usual. After all, his ego being stroked is far more important than the health of his followers. How sad.

Finally, he acquiesced to the CDC recommendation of no rallies. Of course, he’s still trying to get the ACA overthrown in court, which would result in millions losing their healthcare. Not the sort of thing you want to do during an epidemic.

Trump doesn’t see it that way. His goal is to erase President “Blacula” from history and all that he achieved. If a few million people, most of whom are his followers, get hurt or even die, so be it. Again, he doesn’t care.

Please stop and think.

I’m tempted to make an appeal to his minions to stop and think, to do what’s best for them and their families, but I know that’s pointless. This is the cost of living in a post-truth, post-facts society.

I used to hope that we would survive such a situation merely from a moral and ethical standpoint. Now, I hope we literally survive. How sad.

Combining the gimlet-eye of Philip Roth with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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