Trump wants Americans to look at anti-racism protesters tearing down statues of Confederate generals and other historical figures, they don’t consider worthy of monuments, and he wants them, voters, to be afraid, and believe he can protect them. He has ordered the restoration of a toppled statue of a Confederate general – a wink to far-right supporters – and is hoping that his shouts of “law and order,” conjuring an. amorphous menace
from “arsonists, anarchists, looters, and agitators,” will turn the tide threatening to sweep him out of the office.
Trump is desperately trying to change the subject from death and disease spreading across the country, sticking his fingers in his ears and shouting as loudly as he can so that Americans will look away from the catastrophically mismanaged national challenge. The President – who early on made it his distasteful habit to compare US ‘performance to other countries’, disparaging Europe
while it was in the grip of the pandemic – has led America into a tragic, humiliating position. The world’s wealthiest country, rich in expertise and resources, has been unable to bring the virus under control.
With the prospect of losing reelection by a landslide, Trump views any acknowledgment of the pandemic disaster as another mark against him. So, he not only lies about it himself, he sent Vice President Mike Pence to do a more elegant version of his misleading claims. Pence, appearing Friday for the first time in almost two months with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, claimed against all evidence, “all 50 states,” are “opening up safely and responsibly.” He told Americans, “We’ve all seen encouraging news as we open America again,” misleadingly saying the upsurge in cases is “a reflection of a great success in expanding testing.”
That was equally false but less preposterous-sounding claim than Trump’s assertion that, “If we didn’t do any testing,
We would have very few cases, ”a claim that has unleashed an international torrent of mockery all the way to the other side of the world
. It’s a sad thing for many Americans to see the world laughing at their President.
But Trump’s behavior is increasingly astonishing. In the middle of the worst health crisis of the century, Trump’s team asked the Supreme Court to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. If the court agrees, 23 million Americans
could lose their health insurance. Trump proposes this replacement. The nosedive economy has resulted in more than 47 million people
filing for unemployment. The move would leave the unemployed potential without access to insurance at a time when their health is most endangered. The move is so vile it looks like something from the mind of a mustache-twirling cartoon villain.
Similarly cartoonish was Trump’s peculiar Thursday night interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News. The predictably friendly questioning included the most expected softball to a presidential candidate. “What are your top priority items for a second term?” Hannity purred.
The rambling response went around in nonsense circles – including a mention of “an idiot like Bolton,” referring to his former national security adviser who wrote a devastating first-hand account of what went on at the Oval Office – without ever saying. what he plans to do.
Trump is interested in power, in adulation, not in governance.
If he were interested in governing, in guiding the country forward, the US would not be in this horrific mess. A moderately responsible leader would have allowed the country to take the necessary actions to combat the pandemic with a unified message and a serious strategy. Former CDC director Tom Frieden told BuzzFeed news that the US may have managed to do as well as Germany,
which has a fraction of the US death toll, and is reopening its economy along with most of Europe.
Instead, Trump and the Republican governors who admire him continue sending mixed messages, acting as if wearing a mask – which is proven to sharply slow the number of new infections – have been a political statement against the president.
As a result, the virus is surging in most of the country. Arizona has lost control of the pandemic
, with more per capita cases than New York in its worst day, more than any country in Europe, and even more than Brazil, one of the hardest-hit countries. Tough-guy Republican governors in Texas and Florida
are struggling with record number of daily cases and a sharp rise in hospitalizations. At least 30 states are fighting against the climbing contagion.
Trump wants to get the economy going in time to help him in the November election, but even the stock market took a plunge on Friday, alarmed at the resurgence of Covid-19 cases across America. Even Wall Street is getting uncomfortable with the numbers. A more disciplined approach, following its own guidelines for reopening, would likely have allowed infections to decline followed by a safe, steady return to economic growth. But Trump was in a hurry. Trump didn’t want to be seen wearing a mask. Trump wanted the faithful MAGA “liberated,”
even if it sent thousands to their deaths.
Now, the president sees anti-racism protesters as his last chance. He wants to paint them as the “American carnage,”
He claimed to have existed when he took office, when he promised that only he could fix it. But it was he who helped usher it in. Restoring statues and shouting “law and order” won’t change that.