bureaucracybusters

THE PRESIDENTIAL EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES

In Bureaucracy, History, Medical, Politics, Social commentary on April 28, 2020 at 6:22 am

Since Easter weekend, President Donald Trump held almost 50 daily press briefings at the White House. 

Their official purpose: To update the country on the administration’s ongoing response to the Coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 56,521 people in the U.S.

Their real purpose: To serve as a substitute for Trump’s hate-filled political rallies, which have been likened to those staged by Germany’s Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler, at Nuremberg.

Trump rallies supporters in Wis. as Democrats debate in Iowa

Trump rally

These have been temporarily cancelled due to demands for social distancing to stem the rising tide of the COVID-19 pandemic. That has been Trump’s primary reason for seeking to end social distancing.

The White House has tried hard to stage-manage these appearances. For example, on April 14, Trump interrupted the question-and-answer session by cutting to a White House-produced video to try to shame the media for critical coverage of his response to the crisis.

Over the weekend, the New York Times had reported that the administration had ignored early warnings about the coming pandemic.

Thus, the purpose of the video—to refute the Times‘ claim.

The video featured a timeline of actions the Trump administration took between January 31 and March 13. But there was a huge gap in the timeline: It mentioned absolutely no action by Trump in February.

As the Times had noted, there had been a period of “six long weeks” after Trump imposed a partial ban on travel from China on January 31. It wasn’t until March 13 that he declared a national emergency.

The video timeline provided only one entry for February 6: “CDC Ships First Testing Kits.” Yet those test kits proved defective.

The rest of February had been filled with Trump’s staging mass campaign rallies. At one of these, he described Coronavirus as the Democrats’ “new hoax.”

SARS-CoV-2 without background.png

Coronavirus

Americans have largely come to ignore the ongoing feud between Trump and the nation’s press, which often erupted at these press conferences.

But on April 23, Trump ventured into the equivalent of a PR minefield—and stepped on a mine of his own making.

After musing on new government research into how the virus reacts to different temperatures, climates and surfaces, Trump said: So I asked Bill [William N. Bryan, acting Under Secretary for Science and Technology at the Department of Homeland Security] a question….

“So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous—whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light—and I think you said that that hasn’t been checked, but you’re going to test it.  And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way, and I think you said you’re going to test that too.  It sounds interesting.

“And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute! And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that. So, that, you’re going to have to use medical doctors with. But it sounds interesting to me.”

Trump was clearly seeking agreement with his latest medical theory. But Dr. Deborah Birx, the Coronavirus Task Force response coordinator, remained silent.

The Internet—and medical experts—did not.

Image may contain: 3 people, people standing, possible text that says 'Anthony Fauci is the only one on the stage to acknowledge that the emperor has no clothes. ITE HOUSE PNGToN PLEASE THINK RESPONSIBLY TAP THE ALE PARTY'

A Donald Trump meme

On Twitter—the social media platform Trump routinely uses to attack everyone he hates—his suggestion that injecting disinfectants could treat Coronavirus drew scorn and ridicule.

One tweet showed Trump as a doctor hovering over a patient and saying: “Once I’ve pumped you full of disinfectant, I’ll zap you with this UV torch until you’re cured.”

Another depicted a glass filled with Dettol antiseptic liquid and an ice cube, with the caption, “Hey guys!!! It’s Dettol o’clock!!!”

A third meme featured Trump as Marie Antoinette saying: “Let them eat Clorox.”

Clorox Disinfecting Bleach, Regular - 121 Ounce Bottle - Walmart ...

Medical experts found Trump’s off-the-cuff remarks no laughing matter. Several doctors warned the public against injecting disinfectant or using UV light.

Reckitt Benckiser, the maker of Dettol and Lysol, warned people to not inject themselves with disinfectant—which is toxic—to try to kill COVID-19.

“It is incomprehensible to me that a moron like this holds the highest office in the land and that there exist people stupid enough to think this is OK,” said Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics. “I can’t believe that in 2020 I have to caution anyone listening to the president that injecting disinfectant could kill you.”

And then, for Trump, the unthinkable happened: For the first time since Easter weekend, he did not hold a press briefing Saturday at the White House with the Coronavirus Task Force.

Instead, on April 25, he issued this tweet: “What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately.”

For Trump, the danger posed by reporters lies not in their offering “fake news” but in reporting all-too-accurately his crimes and mistakes.

The President who has often acted like an emperor appears to finally realize he appeared in public without his clothes. 

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