Tag Archives: Covid

Trump Lied, People Died

Originally posted on September 10, 2020

By now the story is all over the news – Trump apparently knew that the Coronavirus was airborne and that it was a great deal deadlier than even the worst modern flu. Since he was recorded saying these things he hasn’t tried to lie his way out of it by denying that he ever said them.

Instead, he has tried the line that he didn’t want to “panic” everybody. Most of us (at least the adults among us) know that panic is most prevalent when there is uncertainty. There’s a problem, but you don’t know what to do, so you panic Most of us understand that Trump’s actions would do the exact opposite of what he claims he was trying to do. By denying (to most of us sentient beings) the fairly obvious conclusion that this virus was a nasty one, he added to the confusion.

But why? While he might have in fact thought that his assurances would lessen panic (especially in the stock market) I suspect there’s something else at play.

  • Trump is a known germaphobe. I have to believe the virus had him in some sort of personal panic.
  • Trump is convinced his personal traits are universal – that everyone else (aside from suckers and losers) is just like him. This leads him to do a lot of projection, accusing others of doing just what he is doing.
  • It then follows that he would think that all of us are just as afraid of viruses as he is. That we are all subject to the same “panic” that he is.
  • Trump apparently doesn’t really understand the difference between telling the truth and lying. Dan Coats is quoted by Woodward in Rage: “To him, a lie is not a lie. It’s just what he thinks. He doesn’t know the difference between the truth and a lie.”
  • So maybe he was trying to calm his own panic, kinda like whistling as you walk past a graveyard.

Unfortunately, that graveyard arguably includes tens of thousands of American who might still be alive except for Trump’s extraordinarily generous character flaws.

The Axios Interview

Originally posted on August 5, 2020

Last Tuesday, July 28, 2020, Axios’s Jonathon Swan interviewed Trump at the White House. I have mentioned one part of that interview, Trump’s comments about John Lewis, in a previous post. But there was so much more of Trump on display in that interview I thought I should write a post about the rest of it.

The interview runs for about 38 minutes and is one of the few times Trump has allowed himself to be interviewed by someone who doesn’t fawn over him. The only other recent interview of similar caliber was Fox’s Chris Wallace’s, during which Trump also displayed his usual alarming lack of coherence.

In what has to be the supreme act of self-sacrifice I’ve listened to all 38 minutes, just so you don’t have to. Here’s a few things I noticed where Trump is simply some combination of clueless and/or flat-ass wrong. The most obvious comment I have is that Trump hardly ever waits for a questioner to finish the question. He’ll take off on one of his rants and never even let the question get asked, let alone answer it. It’s like he is so glued to his talking points that he never even bothers thinking about what others might want to talk about.

If you don’t want to go through my tedious verbiage below, you might want to read this instead.

6:10 – By my count Trump tells three lies about his rally in Tulsa. (1) Tulsa was NOT doing so well with its Covid cases leading up to his rally there. I’ve posted on that myself. Tulsa’s case load was increasing rapidly leading up to the rally. (2) There were no large antifa (or any other) protests outside. (3) There were not 19,000 people there. I can only guess Trump just can’t admit anything he is a part of was a failure.

7:30 – Trump asserts the pandemic is “under control” and “it is what it is”. He may be just about the only person on earth who is saying this. Perhaps he is confusing “we doing everything possible” with “under control”, except the federal government isn’t “doing everything possible”, at least by any normal rational adult standards.

9:25 – Trump takes credit for getting the governors massive amounts of equipment, like providing this sort of support isn’t in his job description and he considers himself generous for what little he has provided. Trump claims handling this pandemic is the governors’ job, but simple efficiency (which is what you really want in a fight against a disease) would dictate the feds take the lead.

9:45 – Jonathon asks a fairly simple and important question – when will widespread testing be available? Trump never answers. Instead he brags about what testing we have done, and how all this testing drives up our case numbers.

13:15 – Trump shows his charts. They show deaths per cases, which makes no sense. Jonathon argues that deaths per population is a far more important and useful number. Trump doesn’t seem able to understand any of that and for the next 3 minutes tries to justify the nonsense that his charts show. This is where Trump uses his “many” references for justification, but never names them.

16:30 – Russian bounties. Trump says lots of people are calling the report “fake news”. When asked who, he never answers. He reclaims that it never reached his desk, when a number of people who would know say that it was in his daily briefing. When asked if he actually reads the briefing, he says he reads a lot, including the briefing. A number of people who again would know say that he doesn’t.

22:30 – Mail in voting. Trump claims they are automatically sending out millions of ballots. That is simply not true.

25:40 – Ghislane Maxwell. He wishes her well.

26:45 – Portland. Trump again blames antifa and anarchists for the riots. This certainly doesn’t agree with the video. Trump goes on and on about how violent the agitators were and how his troops have lessened the violence, a conclusion that does not square with all the local reports.

31:20 – Black Lives Matter and the protests. He repeats his claim that he has done more than anyone for blacks. Too bad that most blacks don’t agree.

34:20 – Trump’s claim that he’s done more for blacks than anyone except “possibly” Lincoln. Even more than Lyndon Johnson. Really? Trump’s sole “gift” to blacks has been the continuing expansion of the economy, at least until recently. And the continuation of Obama’s expansion has been driven by going into more and more debt, which cannot continue.

35:30 – John Lewis. I already posted on this.

Delay the Election?

Originally posted on July 30, 2020

It was only a matter of time until Trump showed his real intentions for the upcoming election on November 3. He certainly doesn’t like mail-in voting because he’d lose even worse than the polls currently have him losing, but the virus has made in-person voting a risky endeavor for many of us. So what would be his cure?

Sure, just delay the election. Until ??? Perhaps he’s thinking of 4 years. No doubt that would suit him just fine. Of course, there might be a problem with that pesky Constitution.

In an interesting back story, Biden actually predicted that Trump would try something like this. Biden said on April 23: “Mark my words: I think he is gonna try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held.”

Shortly thereafter Henry Olsen, one of the Washington Post’s “conservative” writers, wrote an editorial beating up on Biden for this “baseless accusation”. Apparently Olsen is a terrible judge of character – anybody with half a brain knows Trump is totally capable of trying anything to stay in power, and our low opinion of him is justified one more time.

The Trump campaign also got into the act, describing Biden’s speculation about Trump wanting to delay the election as “incoherent, conspiracy theory ramblings of a lost candidate who is out of touch with reality.” Even Trump’s campaign projects rather well, doesn’t it?

I’m guessing that at some point in the near future Trump will walk back the idea after he sees even his toadies like Mitch don’t support this. Look, I was kidding!

The Wallace Interview

Originally posted on July 19, 2020

Several days ago Chris Wallace of Fox News interviewed Trump for over an hour. The interview aired this morning, Sunday the 19th, and immediately caused quite the stir. You can watch the entire thing or clips if you subscribe to Fox and can stand it, or you can get the “4-minute” highlights and a lot of commentary here at the Washington Post.

There were any number of things that Trump said during the interview that were either wrong or problematical.

  • He wasn’t sure if he would accept the results of the November election. Really? I didn’t know he had a choice. But it is pretty easy to see where he could declare there was fraud and he and Barr would use the levers available to see if a loss could be overturned.
  • He reiterated his ongoing claim that the U.S. doesn’t have so many covid-19 cases as other places, blaming the high numbers on the high numbers of tests (that aren’t really that high) we’ve done. Wallace tried to correct him, but either he is too corrupt or too stupid to understand.
  • He dismissed the serious consequences to some people who get the virus, like kids with sniffles.
  • He gave tacit approval to those who display the Confederate flag.
  • He accused the “cancel culture” of wanting to change history, in this case by focusing on the year 1619. I don’t think they are trying to forget 1492; rather they are trying to make sure we don’t forget 1619. I doubt Trump even knew the significance of the date – when the first slaves were brought in.
  • Schools have to open. We’d all agree that having schools closed in not good, but at what cost? Trump doesn’t seem to care about the very real consequences of opening schools without the preconditions to make it safe for everyone involved.
  • Where did he find out that schools are “teaching our children to hate America?” No answer, of course, because schools don’t. But Trump “watches” and “reads”. Really?
  • He claims Biden wants to defund the police. Actually, he doesn’t.
  • All the polls are fake.
  • Trump claims medical preconditions will be taken care of, 100%, in some unspecified new plan that he’ll release in the next couple of weeks. We’ve been waiting for over 3 years for an actual plan, as Wallace mentions, and we’re still waiting. Trump’s answer, involving the DACA dreamers, was nonsensical.

As for Trump not accepting the results of the November election, Biden’s campaign had a nice reply: “The American people will decide this election,” Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said. “And the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.”

Tulsa Followup

Originally posted on July 17, 2020

Oklahoma has been one of the laxest states in recommending masks and social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic. In spite of increasing covid cases, especially in Tulsa County, Trump went ahead and held an indoor campaign event there on June 20. The chart below shows the case numbers, with the vertical yellow lines marking the months and the red line showing June 20.

Of course it is impossible to tie the covid cases directly to the rally. But certainly we can tie Oklahoma’s general laxness to the increase. Tulsa’s health department has mentioned the Trump rally as a contributing factor.

And now we learn that Oklahoma’s governor, Kevin Stitt, has tested positive, the first known governor to do so. He doesn’t tie his illness to the rally and the timing isn’t indicative. But he is a republican governor and supports Trump’s efforts to downplay the virus.

So far he isn’t seriously ill, but one of the problematic effects of this virus is that your condition can deteriorate very quickly, and we’re still not sure of any long-term effects.

If States Were Countries

Originally posted on July 8, 2020

The New York Times published an interesting chart that pretended that U.S. states were countries and then compared their new per capita corona virus cases to actual countries. There were a total of 25 “countries” in the chart, of which 10 were real countries and the remaining 15 “countries” were really states. None of the 10 countries was in Europe, and none are considered advanced. It seems that a large part of the U.S. is right on up there when considering shithole countries. Here’s the chart:

ObamaCare less

Originally posted on June 29, 2020

Ever since Trump has been in office, one of his main goals has been to undo everything his predecessor did, regardless if it was beneficial to the citizens or not. One of his principle targets has been Obamacare, also know as the Affordable Care Act. His first attempt to undo the entire act was derailed by John McCain. Never one to moderate his spite, Trump is now trying again. This time he isn’t going through Congress directly, but rather through the courts.

As part of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 the Republican-controlled congress slipped in a section that repealed the “mandate” that provided a penalty if younger/healthier people didn’t went uninsured. The theory behind the mandate in the first place was that many younger/healthier people would forego health insurance entirely, thus driving the cost up for those who were older/unhealthy. So it was a measure that spread the risk of medical expenses over a larger part of the population – kinda like what insurance should do.

With the mandate now gone, Trump’s administration is arguing that the entire ACA should be declared void by the courts. If the court agrees about 20 million people will lose their insurance, and this right in the middle of a pandemic. Along with the loss of insurance will come the loss of protection for those with pre-existing conditions – likely including things like having tested positive for the coronavirus.

And how has Trump himself responded? A couple of tweets:

The Republicans have been talking about replacing the ACA since 2010 when Obama signed it into law, always promising something bigger, better and cheaper. Trump has been promising the same since he started campaigning in 2016. So far nothing, absolutely nothing, has appeared to make this promise believable. The Washington Post Fact Checker has a nice analysis.

Corona April 2020

Originally posted on June 20, 2020

April 2. Kushner says that the federal national strategic stockpile is “supposed to be our stockpile; it’s not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then use.” I have to wonder, exactly who the “our” is? Does he intend to use it for his own personal interests? It turns out that Operation Airbridge, run by Kushner, lends credence to my suspicions.

April 3. Trump offers rapid coronavirus tests to oil executives meeting with him. Trump: “Listen: They gave us millions of jobs. If anybody wants to be tested, we’ll test them.” So much for the rest of us.

Corona Mar 2020

Originally posted on June 20, 2020

March 2. Trump presses pharmaceutical CEOs to say a vaccine will be ready in a matter of months. They demur. Regardless, at yet another rally, he says that drug companies are “going to have vaccines I think relatively soon. And they’re going to have something that makes you better, and that’s going to actually take place we think even sooner.” And: “The U. S. is right now ranked by far number one in the world for preparedness.” And: “A lot of things are happening, a lot of very exciting things are happening and they’re happening very rapidly.”

March 4. On Hannity: “A lot of people will have this, and it’s very mild. They will get better very rapidly. So, if we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work – some of them go to work, but they get better. It’s not that severe.”

March 5. Trump: “I NEVER said people that are feeling sick should go to work. That is just more Fake News and disinformation put out by the Democrats.” Meanwhile, Pence says: “We don’t have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward.” But, but I thought on February 26 he said everybody who needed a test could get one.

March 6. Regardless of what Pence said on the 5th, Trump: “Anybody that needs a test gets a test. They’re there. They have the tests. And the tests are beautiful.” He also says he would like to keep the Grand Princess, with its 700 cases, off the California coast so the official case count doesn’t rise. “I like the numbers where they are. I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.” There’s apparently no thought at all of the people on the ship. And bizarrely: “I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.”

March 8. Golfing at Trump International. Saying: “We have a perfectly coordinated and fine tuned plan at the White House for our attack on Coronavirus.”

March 9. Tweets: “So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!” And: “The Fake News Media & their partner, the Democrat Party, is doing everything within its semi-considerable power to inflame the Coronavirus situation.” Dow drops 2000 points.

March 10. Says: “We’re prepared, and we’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”

March 11. The WHO declares a pandemic. The NBA suspends its season. Trump announces he will suspend travel from Europe, except the UK and U.S. citizens.

March 12. Trump claims that travelers to the U.S. are being tested. This is not true. Dow drops 2300 points.

March 13. The U.S. declares a national emergency. asked if he takes responsibility for the testing delays, he responds: “Yeah, no, I don’t take responsibility at all.” When asked why he disbanded the White House pandemic office in 2018: “I just think it’s a nasty question…And when you say ‘me’ I didn’t do it.

March 15. Trump: “This is a very contagious virus. It’s incredible. But it’s something we have tremendous control over.” He also tweets: “The individual Governors of States, and local officials, must step up their efforts on drive up testing and testing sights [sites]…” Apparently he is preparing to blame someone, anyone else for his failures.

March 16. Dow drops nearly 3000 points. Trump announces new social distancing recommendations. Epidemiologists estimate that tens of thousands of lives might have been saved if he had acted sooner, by a little as a week. Asked how he thought he was doing: “I think we’ve done a great job.” One can only wonder just what a bad job would look like.

March 17. Trump: “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic…I’ve always viewed it as very serious.” One can only wonder just how he would view something not very seriously.

March 18. Trump: “I’ve always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously, and have done a very good job from the beginning.” Could it be that, as the consequences of his own failures become more evident, he instinctively starts looking around for someone else to blame, in spite of his previous praise of the Chinese?

March 19. Trump passes responsibility to the governors to obtain whatever supplies and equipment they need, saying: “We’re not a shipping clerk.” This looks like a continuation of blaming everyone else. He also introduces hydroxychloroquine as a potential covid-19 cure, incorrectly stating that the FDA has approved it for such.

March 21. Tweets: “HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine.” This is not only unproven, it is even dangerous.

March 23. An Arizona man dies after trying to follow Trump’s medical advice.

March 24. Trump: “I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter.” I’m sure he would, regardless of the price paid by his constituents.

March 26. The U.S. now has more reported cases than any other country. Trump: “We’ve now established great testing…We’ve tested now more than anybody.” And: “This is something that nobody has ever thought could happen to this country.” Both of these, like a lot of what Trump says, are untrue.

March 27. Trump signs the CARES act, a $2T stimulus package. He promises 100,000 ventilators after invoking the defense Protection Act, when the adults in the room say maybe 30,000 by June. In echos of the Ukraine mess he says governors: “should be appreciative” of him and has told Pence not to call those who: “don’t treat you right.”

March 29. Trump says that if the death toll is between 100,000 and 200,000 then he has done a good job.

March 30. On a call with the governors, Trump: “I haven’t heard about testing being a problem.” Are his underlings so afraid of bringing him bad news? Everybody else in the country was aware of this problem.

March 31. Deaths in NJ and NY double in 3 days. Trump: “I don’t think I would have done any better had I not been impeached, okay? And I think that’s a great tribute to something, maybe it’s a tribute to me…”

Corona Feb 2020

Originally posted on June 19, 2020

After January’s lack of anything the pace picks up in February.

February 1. Trump golfs at West Palm Beach.

February 2. Trump restricts travel from China, allowing only Americans to fly into the U.S. He says: “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China. It’s going to be fine.” It turns out that 40,000 Americans return and few of them are tested, let alone quarantined. Pictures of the airport lobbies show a perfect environment for the virus transmission. As it turns out, a large portion of the cases in the U.S. entered from Europe, not China. So the travel ban from China probably did nothing of significance.

February 7. Asked if he thought China was covering up the virus, Trump says: “No. China is working very hard…We’re working together.”

February 8. The CDC test kits are widely reported to be not working properly.

February 10. At another rally Trump says: “Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.” Really? The Australians might dispute this.

February 11. Another rally, no mention of the virus.

February 13. Tells Rivera: “it’s a problem in China. Has not been spreading very much. In our country, we only have, basically, 12 cases and most of those people are recovering…so it’s actually less.”

February 15. Trump golfs at Trump International.

February 18. The Diamond Princess cruise ship, docked and quarantined in Japan, has more than 700 cases.

February 19. Trump repeats the nonsense about warmer weather and has a rally in Phoenix, not mentioning the virus.

February 21. Yet another rally, Las Vegas, no mention of the virus.

February 24, Trump asks Congress for $1.25B in emergency funds. The Association of Public Health Laboratories: “We are now many weeks into the response with still no diagnostic or surveillance test available outside of the CDC…” Trump: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC and WHO have been working hard and very smart. Stock market starting to look very good to me.”

February 25. Stock market dips. Trump: “CDC and my administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus.” And “I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away. They have studied it. They know very much. In fact, we’re very close to a vaccine.”

February 26. Trump replaces Azar with Pence. Trump: “We’re testing everybody that we need to test. And we’re finding very little problem. We’re going very substantially down, not up. It’s a little like the regular flu that we have flu shots for. And we’ll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner. ” The number of cases “within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.” Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, the CDC confirms the first instance of community spread of the virus in the U.S.

February 27. Trump: “It’s going to disappear. One day – it’s like a miracle – it will disappear.”

February 28. At a rally, after noting that there have been no reported deaths in the U.S., Trump: “You wonder if the press in in hysteria mode. Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus . You know that, right? Coronavirus. They’re politicizing it…and this is their new hoax.” And: “We’re ordering a lot of supplies. We’re ordering a lot of, uh, elements that frankly we wouldn’t be ordering unless it was something like this. Bu we’re ordering a lot of different elements of medical.”

February 29. The first death in the U.S. is reported. It later turns out that there were previous deaths perhaps as early as February 6 in California.