2020-05-15 17:32:32 UTC
even dream that he should be like previous presidents during national
disasters and give a fucking shit about a gaggle of ignorant fucking
losers-in-life who can't even come up with enough money to get an invite
to Mar-a-Lago and those epic child sex parties and rent boy orgies he's
famous for. Besides, he's the one looking like a total fucking moron out
of his depth in countless ways, not you! The pandemic and the Trump
recession are all about him! Over 100,000 dead and 5 million deathly ill
Americans probably didn't have the money anyway to give to his campaign or
his corrupt criminal Trump Foundation. You should be worried about him,
not yourselves or your families because only HE matters.
He says you suck because you don't love him enough.
2020 Time Capsule
Carlos Barria / Reuters
11:24 AM / May 4, 2020
2020 Time Capsule #17: Empathy and Simple Kindness
As the past week began, the Unites States was crossing 50,000 reported
deaths from the coronavirus pandemic. As the new week arrives, the U.S.
death total is 70,000.
Of the countless extraordinary events in these seven days, a few that are
1) Empathy and Simple Kindness. This past Saturday, former President
George W. Bush released a brief video whose subtweeted message was
unmistakable. It recognized the suffering of those who had lost family
members, or economic prospects, or hope itself; it emphasized the all of
us rather than the us and them response to national crisis; and it
appealed to the generous rather than the resentful in human nature.
In short, it was the kind of message that leaders of any nation have been
expected to transmit, as part of their duty, in time of national hardship.
And it highlighted by contrast the signals of empathy and simple
kindness that Donald Trump himself had never managed to convey or even
I have been as harsh as anyone on George W. Bushs responsibility, in his
time in office, for Americas foreign-policy and economic travails. (For
more, see this, this, this, and this.) But it would be wrong not to
recognize the way he was trying, 11 years after leaving office, to express
the thoughts a nation expects from its leaders.
The video raised a further possibility and question for this former
president: What will he say as the next election draws near? The three
other living former presidentsJimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack
Obamaare all Democrats. So for them, there will be no conflict between
policy goals and party loyalty. All will, of course, try to help Joe Biden
beat Donald Trump.
In the 2016 election, the extended Bush family made no secret of its
distaste for Donald Trump, who had after all ridiculed Low Energy Jeb
Bush in the primaries. This new video suggests that George W. Bushs
estimation of Trump has not gone up. (For the record, two years ago,
during the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation fight, Bush did his best to
persuade Republican senators to stick with Kavanaughwho had been a White
House staffer for Bush.)
But would a former Republican president dare go public with a plea to save
the country, and what he thinks of as his partys principles, by voting
for the opposition? The logic of this video suggests that Bush should.
Could he actually do so? Im not holding my breath, but Bush loyalists
should be raising the question with him.
2) A great success story. This past Wednesday, Donald Trumps son-in-
law, Jared Kushner, went on the First Familys favorite TV program, Fox
and Friends. He told the hosts that the federal government rose to the
challenge and this is a great success story. You can listen to him
yourself, starting 9:00 minutes into this clip.
The day before Kushner spoke, the confirmed U.S. death toll from the
pandemic exceeded the 58,000-plus U.S. fatalities inscribed on the Vietnam
Veterans Memorial, the famous black granite wall in Washington. Since
then, they have increased by about 2,000 per day.
It is conceivable that selected parts of the federal response will
eventually be seen as successes, though overall they appear to be
It is inconceivable that a favored in-laws cheery declaration of a great
success story, as tens of millions of people are losing their jobs and
tens of thousands have lost their lives, will stand up well.
3) I will never lie to you. I noted last month that the new White House
press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, differed from her immediate predecessor
in planning to hold press briefings at all. But she differed from past
administrations press secretaries in that her history as a public figure
was entirely in the role of cable-news partisan advocate.
At her first press briefing, this past week, she told the assembled
I will never lie to you. You have my pledge on that.
You see her saying so 8 minutes into this C-SPAN video. Then she proceeded
to lie, on matters ranging from the Mueller investigation, to the
prosecution of Michael Flynn, to the history of sexual-assault allegations
against Donald Trump, to a range of others. Dan Froomkin set out the
details in Salon and Annie Karni did so in the New York Times.
My earlier argument was: The best press secretaries have recognized the
fundamental torment of the job. The good ones are torn day-by-day between
their assignment to put the best face on the administrations policies,
and their desire to stick as close as possible to the truth.
Like Trump himself, Kayleigh McEnany seemed in her debut to be
unconflicted. Her duty is only to the administration.
4) The plague should never have happened. Back in March I noted Donald
Trumps penchant for projection: that is, attacking others for the
failings that seem most evident in himself.
Bear that in mind, in considering Trumps comments at a White House event
this past weekand comparing them with the verdict likely to be rendered
upon his administration. Trump said (as shown in this C-SPAN video):
This plague should have never happened.
It could have been stopped, but people chose not to stop it, and it's
a very sad thing for the world
2:47 PM / April 25, 2020
2020 Time Capsule #16: Disinfectant
Dr. Deborah Birx listens as President Donald Trump speaks about the
coronavirus on April 23.
Dr. Deborah Birx listens as President Donald Trump speaks about the
coronavirus on April 23. Associated Press
On the day when the Access Hollywood tape came out, one month before the
2016 election, I wrote a Trump Time Capsule item whose first paragraph,
in its entirety, was:
That tape, of course, was the one on which a vintage-2005 Donald Trump was
recorded, in his always-recognizable voice, saying that when youre a
star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Leading up, of course, to
Grab em by the pussy, you can do anything. Then, as captured on tape,
Trump swallowed some Tic Tacs, stepped off a bus, and smilingly greeted
and embraced the female TV host he had been ogling and talking about while
aboard the bus.
Good God, because personal crudeness of this scale was far beyond
revelations that had stopped pre-Trump political campaigns. Edmund Muskie
early in 1972, Thomas Eagleton later in 1972, Gary Hart in 1988, Howard
Dean in 2004I wont go into details, but by the standard of Grab em by
... these previous political storms would qualify as minor showers.
(Actually, I encourage you to look into the possibility that the
embarrassments that stopped Gary Harts campaign in 1988 could have been
the result of a political setup, as I wrote in 2018.)
But of course Trumps campaign was not derailed, by this or anything else.
Recall what happened next:
Trump initially dismissed the comments as locker room talk.
The next day he released a video in which he said, for one of the few
times ever, that he regretted his remarks on tape. He read the following
while looking straight at the camera: Anyone who knows me knows these
words dont reflect who I am [sic]. I said it, I was wrong, and I
On the same afternoon that The Washington Post broke news of the
recording, WikiLeaks began releasing hacked emails from Hillary Clintons
campaign manager, John Podesta. (A witness for the Mueller report later
said that Trumps advisor Roger Stone coordinated this timing with Julian
Assange of WikiLeaks. Stone denied being involved but last year was found
guilty and sentenced to prison for lying about the case.) As was
apparently intended, this immediately competed with the grab em story
for news coverage.
Some elected GOP officials criticized Trumpincluding, amazingly, his
running mate Mike Pence, and then-Senator John McCain, who called on Trump
to drop out.
But within a week, most Republicans were aboard again, and for Trump,
a potentially campaign-ending event became just another bump in the road.
His party, and his voters, would stick with him.
Whats the connection to current events? These past few days have been
another Good God moment, even by the standards of the past few years.
At his multi-hour rally/briefing on Thursday evening, Trump speculated
that heavy external (or internal) exposure to ultraviolet light, or
perhaps drinking or injecting disinfectants, could be a solution to the
Because Trump later falsely claimed that he had been quoted out of
context, or had just been joking, its important to observe what he looked
and sounded like when saying these (preposterous) things. Starting at time
26:00 of this C-SPAN video, you can see that he was in dead earnestand
acting as if he was offering a great insight, which had escaped the
detail-minded professionalswhen he said the following words:
Heres a question that some of you [the press] are probably thinking
of, if youre totally into that world [of science], which I find to be
Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous whether its ultraviolet
or just very powerful light Supposing you brought the light inside the
body [sic], either through the skin or some other way.
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
While Trump was saying these words, one of his scientific advisers, Dr.
Deborah Birx, was captured on film as her face went ashen at the idiocy of
his comments. But she was then called to the microphone, and as she has
done several times before, she pointedly avoided saying that Trumps
comments were not just ignorant but actively dangerous, especially if
anyone was considering drinking disinfectant. As noted earlier, her
medical colleague Anthony Fauci has continued to pull off the remarkable
(and public-spirited) trick of maintaining his long-earned reputation for
honesty, while retaining a position in Trumps retinue. Fauci is unique in
that status. Everyone else who has entered Trumps service has fallen into
the pit of reputational destruction.
The next day, Trump claimed that he was being sarcastic and only joking
with the comments. This is his standard last line of defense when caught
in a particularly egregious statement. For instance, he says his public
call on Russia to release Hillary Clintons emails had just been a joke.
That excuse was a lie, and anyone who saw the disinfectant video knows
he is lying about this now.
Almost immediately, the manufacturers of Lysol and other disinfectants,
along with numerous public health agencies, put out statements warning
against drinking these products. Reporters from the Washington Post quoted
Dara Kass, of Columbia University Medical Center, on the difference
between this and Trumps previous, now-discredited advice that people
start taking a certain kind of pill:
The difference between this and the chloroquine [pills] is that
somebody could go right away to their pantry and start swallowing bleach.
They could go to their medicine cabinet and swallow isopropyl alcohol,
Kass said. A lot of people have that in their homes. Theres an immediate
opportunity to react.
Kass explained to the Post that people who ingest such chemicals often
die, and those who survive usually end up with feeding tubes because
their mouth and esophagus were eroded by the cleaning agents.
Its horrific, she said.
And of the 53 Republicans who make up Mitch McConnells Senate majority?
How many have spoken up to criticize the presidenton the specifics of
this new plan, or on what the comments reveal about his approach to
reality in generalor to warn the public against his advice?
As best I can determine, two days after Trumps comments, that number is
zero. This is the Vichy Republican bargain they made after the Access
Hollywood tapes. It is the bargain that keeps an obviously unwell man in
power now. It is the bargain for which they should be remembered.