The Orange Plague: Trump’s Viral Fail
On this episode of democracy-ish, Danielle is back and her mom is doing well after emergency surgery last week. Our hosts are coming to you from an undisclosed location (no, actually –– just their homes in Brooklyn and Long Island) to discuss the pandemic pandemonium, Trump’s mishandling of it and what’s next for the Dems now that Bernie is bust.
Coronavirus cases are increasing exponentially even as tests are scarce. What’s really behind Trump’s hamfisted response?
Biden has all but sewn up the Democratic nomination and promises to name a woman as his running mate. Will Bernie’s policies live on?
Will we be here next week? Pray about it.
With more than 200,000 cases of COVID-19 reported globally as of our conversation, life looks a lot different this week.
In the United States, the coronavirus curve looks like a mirror image of Italy. It’s not good.
“We've been joking for months now: ‘if we still have a country’ is our tagline at the end of the show,” says Danielle. “We made a joke on one of the last recordings we did together –– that we would be recording from a bunker.”
That joke isn’t funny anymore. Our public health emergency is trending toward an outright meltdown courtesy of Donald J. Trump.
Although we knew about the threat at least two months ago, Trump “decided to pretend that it wasn't going to happen, because he really believes in this isolationist nationalistic ideology –– what happens outside of our borders will never penetrate the United States,” Danielle says.
“We’re here because he didn't use that time to strategize, to prepare, to build beds, to get companies' support, to come up with an economic plan. Did Donald Trump create the coronavirus problem? No. But did he exacerbate it? Absolutely.”
Pour yourself a Quarantini; we’re going to be here for a while.
Episode Highlights — Make America Safe Again
Social distancing distortion
Experts agree that social distancing is among the most crucial ways to protect ourselves, and others, from COVID-19. But the president isn’t modeling this behavior. He has continued to deliver briefings on a crowded podium and shake hands with his henchmen.
Even after he was most likely exposed to the virus, he refused to take the test –– “like a petulant six year old,” says Touré. Days after the White House told us that Trump was tested and the results were negative, a reporter asked him what the test was like.
Trump’s response? "Not, not uh –– something I want to do everyday … you know, it's a little bit of a -–– it's a little bit of –– good doctors in the White House, but it's a test. It's a test. It's a medical test. Nothing pleasant about it."
That response, Touré says, strongly suggests that Trump is lying. “The test is a swab in the nose and throat. While some people say it may bring tears to your eyes, [the president’s] response doesn't track.”
Virus testing for fun and profit
“He did not get the test,” Danielle agrees. But she thinks there is something more sinister at work.
According to a White House whistleblower, Trump initially tried to quash widespread testing to minimize the statistics –– which would undoubtedly tank the financial markets and hurt his chances of reelection. Meanwhile, he and his cronies are looking for ways to profit from the crisis, says Danielle.
“I believe they’re trying to figure out a way to patent their own coronavirus test so that they can sell it. This is not, and it has never been, about helping people.”
A global pandemic would be a grave threat to the U.S. under any president. But Touré is surprised, given Trump’s serial self-imposed disasters, that it has taken this long for his barely-there veneer to crack. Now, Touré says, in this “truly externally imposed crisis, we're finally seeing how his inability to lead is causing a massive problem for all of us.”
It seems that local and state governments are stepping in. “I have to praise them … because they're showing leadership that Trump isn't,” says Danielle.
Government (in)security in the age of COVID-19
As reported by Politico earlier this week, the Obama administration met with the incoming Trump administration in January 2017 for a disaster preparedness training exercise. One of the scenarios was a pandemic.
Apparently, the Trumpees didn’t take the concept too seriously. Wilbur Ross appeared to be nodding off during the meeting; two-thirds of the attendees are no longer employed by the Trump administration. Perhaps that’s why nobody blinked when John Bolton disbanded the National Security Council’s global health security and biodefense office – which had previously acted as the White House’s pandemic response team.
That’s just one of the many missteps this administration has made in the realm of disaster management. But the COVID-19 outbreak has exposed deeper fissures in the American system, says Danielle.