A quick review of last week’s chaotic US politics in Trump’s White House, by B. Jay Cooper.
First published in May 2020.
The news continues to move along at warp speed and the President named the leadership of his Operation Warp Speed, aimed at getting a coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible, maybe as early as the end of this year in his telling.
Let’s start there:
Operation Warp Speed.
Trump named the operation’s leadership including its leader, Monsef Slaovi, a former executive at GlaxoSmithKline. During the announcement Slaovi teased the crowd with news that he has seen good early reports on a vaccine, not mentioning which one. The next day we learned that vaccine was, surprise, being developed by his old company, in which he still holds millions of dollars of stock. Not surprisingly, after the company announced its progress on a vaccine, the stock market rose. Now, I hope the news about the vaccine is true, believe me, but how the sequence of events played out is curious, no?
Trump abruptly leaves press conference.
Trump held a press conference in the Rose Garden which, not surprisingly, turned testy. At one point, Weijia Jiang, an Asian American reporter for CBS, asked why Trump constantly touts the statistic that the U.S. has given more coronavirus tests than any other country as if it’s the most important thing. Trump quickly became testy and said, “Why don’t you ask China that question?” Jiang asked why he chose to ask her that question. Some took his reaction as racist. He also pulled a similar move a few years ago when April Ryan, an African American reporter, asked a question about the Congressional Black Caucus and Trump responded, Do you know them? You want to set up the meeting?
Trump has accused his predecessor, Barack Obama, of crimes he says are among the worst in American history. When pressed to name what the crime was, Trump chose to attack the reporter, The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker, saying “you know what it is!” No one knows what it is except an attempt to raise false criminal issues against Obama as he did against Hillary Clinton four years ago, which led to chants during his rallies of “lock her up!” and cemented the bonds among his base. Trump even has tried to get his Senate BFF Lindsey Graham to call Obama and Joe Biden as witnesses in an inquiry into the Russian collusion investigation. Even Graham, who has been a caddy (metaphorically) carrying Trump’s clubs, refused. The Obamagate allegation isn’t getting much traction other among his base but it’s not for lack of trying. It also raises a question as to whether this is smart politics for Trump. Obama is the most popular figure in the Democratic Party right now. Well, maybe just behind his wife, Michelle. And Trump is going to need to again attract swing voters to win reelection.
Trump takes drug.
Okay, the drug he is supposedly taking is hydroxychloroquine, which is a well-known help to malaria sufferers and Lupus patients. Some say it also can be effective against the coronavirus though the Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning against that use because there is not sufficient data. Trump now claims he’s been taking it for a couple of weeks after discussions with his White House physician. That physician issued a statement saying he’d discussed the matter with Trump many times and concluded there were more upsides than downsides in taking it. But, he never said he prescribed it for Trump. Trump also has said in recent days he may stop taking it soon but he wanted to see for himself if it worked and there were no bad side effects. Personally, I don’t think he’s really taking it. I think he sees it as another issue he can leverage with his base – how I don’t really understand. He also has been saying he may come off it soon. Why? If he’s really using it as protection against getting the virus and he feels it’s working, why come off it?
Partisan politics or?
If you’re paying attention you notice that Trump not only makes everything about himself but he sees anyone who agrees with him as pro-Trump and anyone against him anti-Trump. Of course he’s transactional so that could reverse tomorrow with someone. Utah Senator Mitt Romney is one of the latest examples. Romney, a Republican never known as a risk taker, lately is the strongest voice in the Senate questioning some of Trump’s actions. Romney most recently has criticized Trump for firing several Inspectors General (IG) whose job it is to root out fraud, waste and abuse in the government. Those IGs recently either issued reports criticizing Trump or have indicated they are investigating Trump Administration actions (again, that’s their job). Romney now apparently is dead to Trump. Trump again sees everything not so much through a “Republican vs Democrat” lens but through a “Trump vs anti-Trump” lens. It indeed is all about him. That’s a difficult way to run a country, or a business. Then again, Trump’s business acumen as has been broadly reported was not hugely successful. If anyone thinks Trump is about the Republican Party or its (dead?) goals and values, she is dead wrong. It’s all about Trump.
Partisan politics or? Part 2.
Trump operatives are seeking out “extremely pro-Trump” doctors to go on television to promote reviving the economy now without meeting the guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). I don’t recall doctors ever being recruited for such a blatant political reason before. And, with government doctors and doctors in major medical facilities and schools laying out the case for taking this pandemic seriously, if this Trump consortium of doctors is recruited and used, the American public will get even more mixed messages on how they should conduct themselves during this “plague,” as Trump refers to it. This will be one more test of: is Trump looking out for the health of the country’s citizens or the health of his reelection campaign? Plus it seems hypocritical to use doctors for this reason when Trump isn’t looking to government doctors to advise him on economics.
Apropos of nothing, the seven symptoms of a sociopath’s personality are: Glibness and superficial charm; manipulative and cunning; grandiose sense of self; pathological lying; lack of shame, guilt or remorse; shallow emotions; incapacity for love; need for stimulation.🔷
Check their Voting Record:
🗳️ Barack Obama
🗳️ Joe Biden
🗳️ Mitt Romney