Saturday, April 25, 2020

Hopefully Trump Is Self-Destructing Before Our Eyes

The lies and insanity coming from Donald Trump's daily coronavirus briefings is so overwhelming that a number of Republican elected officials are whispering that the briefings need to stop.  Daily, Trump provides Joe Biden and other Democrats with material for future political ads that underscore his utter incompetence.  Trump's latest off the charts batshitery was to suggest that injecting humans with disinfectants would be a cure for Covid-19.  Yes, it would be a cure alright, the patient would be dead and the virus thus defeated. As the New York Times reports, both manufacturers of disinfectants and health officials have rushed to urge people to NOT follow Trump's suggestions: 

[Maryland's] Emergency Management Agency had to issue a warning that “under no circumstances” should any disinfectant be taken to treat the coronavirus. In Washington State, officials urged people not to consume laundry detergent capsules. Across the country on Friday, health professionals sounded the alarm.
Injecting bleach or highly concentrated rubbing alcohol “causes massive organ damage and the blood cells in the body to basically burst,” Dr. Diane P. Calello, the medical director of the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System, said in an interview. “It can definitely be a fatal event.”
Even the makers of Clorox and Lysol pleaded with Americans not to inject or ingest their products.
The frantic reaction was prompted by President Trump’s suggestion on Thursday at a White House briefing that an “injection inside” the human body with a disinfectant like bleach or isopropyl alcohol could help combat the virus.
One has to wonder when my Republican friends will finally admit that the elected a lunatic to the Oval Office.  Not a day goes by without numerous lies and falsehoods being disseminated by Trump.  It's so bad that CNN now has a daily piece that reviews the prior evening's falsehoods.  A column also in the Times speculates that Trump is self-destructing before our eyes (although probably not in the eyes of his knuckle dragging, racist base, some of whom may try Trump's suggested "cure").  Here are column highlights:

Tens of thousands of Americans die; what does the president do? Spreads bad information. Seeds false hope. Reinvents history, reimagines science, prattles on about his supposed heroism, bellyaches about his self-proclaimed martyrdom and savages anyone who questions his infallibility. In lieu of leadership, grandstanding. In place of empathy, a snit. And he’s going to get re-elected.
With that refrain we perform a spiritual prophylaxis. We prepare for despair. . . . We began to treat a verbal tic as inevitable truth.
It isn’t. While Trump may indeed be careening toward four more years, it’s at least as possible that he’s self-destructing before our eyes.
Maybe a toasty beam of sunlight is all that we need to wipe out the coronavirus? What if we just injected disinfectant into our veins? He floated both of those fantasies on Thursday, when he might as well have stepped up to the lectern in a tin foil hat. They’re the ramblings of a dejected, disoriented and increasingly desperate man.
As Katie Rogers and Annie Karni reported in The Times, [Trump] the president feels isolated and embattled and is panicked that he’ll lose to Joe Biden in November. That state of mind, they wrote, prompted his executive order to halt the issuing of green cards, which is precisely the kind of base-coddling measure that he resorts to “when things feel out of control.”
He can read the polls as well as the rest of us can, and they show that while he stands there nightly in the White House briefing room and blows kisses at himself, Americans aren’t blowing kisses back. A month ago there was much ado about a slight uptick in Trump’s job-approval numbers. But the real story was the slightness: Past presidents had experienced greater bumps during crises, when Americans tend to rally around their leader. For Trump there was no such rallying — just a grudging, incremental benefit of the doubt. A fleeting one, too. His uptick quickly took a downturn, reuniting him with his anemic norm. According to the polling average at FiveThirtyEight as of late Friday afternoon, 52.5 percent of Americans disapprove of his job performance. Only 43.4 percent approve. Other numbers tell an even scarier story for Trump. In all three of the battleground states that enabled his Electoral College victory three and a half years ago, he’s currently behind Biden — by 6.7 percentage points in Pennsylvania, 5.5 in Michigan and 2.7 in Wisconsin, according to the averaging of recent polls by RealClearPolitics. That website also puts him behind by 3.2 points in Florida, a state he won in 2016 and must win again. According to monthly polling by Gallup, the percentage of Americans who indicated satisfaction with the way things were going in the country plummeted to 30 percent in mid-April from 42 percent in mid-March. Only twice before in the past two decades has there been a one-month decline that precipitous.
Maybe this drop was less a referendum on Trump’s stewardship than a recognition of the coronavirus’s devastation. But maybe not: Surveys reveal that a significant majority of Americans believe that he acted too late to stem the virus’s spread. He’s also out of step with most Americans’ appraisal of what will and won’t be safe in the immediate future.
In a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll, 65 percent of Americans said it could take until June or later for gatherings of 10 people or more to be safe. And in a Yahoo News/YouGov poll, only 22 percent of Americans supported the protesters who have been demanding an end to their states’ restrictions, while 60 percent opposed them. President Trump has egged those protesters on.
Is he following some gut instinct or just flailing? I vote for the latter. Lately he has contradicted himself at a whole new pace and to a whole new degree, and he has undercut his own party’s talking points.
Republicans have developed a strategy to evade any responsibility for Trump’s response to the pandemic by blaming and demonizing China. “But there is a potential impediment to the G.O.P. plan — the leader of the party himself,” Martin and Haberman wrote, noting that Trump has “muddied Republican efforts to fault China” by continuing to curry favor with President Xi Jinping. Also, Trump’s most optimistic pronouncements about imminent deliverance from the current misery represent a bigger gamble than the many others he has taken. If he’s wrong, there’s not going to be any hiding it. If he’s reckless, the toll is Americans’ very lives. There’s incessant talk of how fervent his base is, but the many Americans appalled by him have a commensurate zeal. For every Sean Hannity, there’s a Rachel Maddow. For every Kellyanne Conway, a George Conway. She and her ilk may be wily in their defense of the president. He and his tribe are even better in their evisceration of him.
And what of the diaspora of refugees from the Trump administration: people like Rick Bright, the government scientist who says he was just stripped of his leading role in the search for a coronavirus vaccine because he wouldn’t parrot Trump’s cockamamie talking points? I predict that as November nears, more and more exiles will speak out, sharing alarming accounts of life inside the president’s hall of mirrors. Trump in turn will mutter about the “deep state,” but the phrase won’t fly when he’s left with such a shallow pool of charlatans around him — and when he’s making such a repellent fool of himself.
Don’t tell me that his nightly briefings are just a new version of the old stadium rallies; their backdrop of profound suffering makes them exponentially harder to stomach. Americans who take any comfort from them were Trump-drunk long ago. The unbesotted see and hear the president for what he is: a tone-deaf showman who regards everything, even a mountain of corpses, as a stage.

I sincerely hope the author is correct.

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