Trump Goes Viral (Literally) and Kamala Takes Down Pence
This week, our hosts discuss Trump’s COVID diagnosis and the vice-presidential debate –– which “was everything that I wanted it to be and more,” says Danielle. “The only thing missing was a major democracy-ish watch party with a bunch of people hooting and hollering and drinking and carrying on.”
Kamala Harris and Mike Pence met in Utah for a socially distanced and civil yet wholly gratifying vice-presidential debate.
After months of science denial and vulgar indifference, the president became one of the 7.6+ million COVID patients in America. Or did he?
With Trump back in the White House, who will he infect next? And are there any more October surprises in store?
On Wednesday night, the incumbent veep and the junior senator from California faced off –– separated by a panel of Plexiglas and a chasm between their visions of America.
While Pence certainly behaved with more decorum than his boss did the week before, he repeated plenty of lies. Thankfully, Harris thrives on the sweat of lying men.
“Kamala Harris is a motherfucking assassin,” says Danielle. “I liked her before. I love that bitch now.”
Toure agrees: “Kamala seemed smooth and cool and joyful –– full of issues and answers to questions. Pence seemed stiff and low energy, Donald Trump's least favorite attribute, consistently evading nearly every question in an almost ridiculously stereotypical, political way.”
And as if to underscore his frozen affect, a small winged insect joined the proceedings.
“I want to give a shout-out to the late Justice Ginsburg, for placing a black fly on Mike Pence's white-ass wig for the world to see: Flies only gravitate toward shit,” Danielle quips.
But the juiciest debate this week is on democracy-ish itself. Danielle is so scarred by Trump’s endless falsehoods that she doesn’t believe Trump contracted corona. Toure buys it, though.
Let’s mask up and dig in.
Episode Highlights –– Does Trump Really Have Corona???
Super(spreader) Bowl 2020
“Mike Pence is a robot. He is a lap dog. He's an embarrassment. And he looked like he had COVID eyes,” says Danielle. “I'm still concerned that motherfucker is going to turn up positive by the end of this week.”
That’s because we learned early Friday morning, that Donald and Melania Trump tested positive. And then the dominoes began to fall.
Turns out Amy Coney Barrett’s maskless SCOTUS reveal party in the White House rose garden was a superspreader event, infecting at least 11 administration officials, journalists, senators and other guests.
The fallout has been nothing short of spectacular. Trump was whisked to Walter Reed, where he spent four days getting world-class care, and a cocktail of experimental treatments and a fuckton of steroids. He returned to the White House, triumphantly pulled off his mask and tweeted “Don’t be afraid of COVID. Don’t let it dominate your life.”
And although we don’t know for sure, it looks like Trump knew he was COVID-positive when he attended a fundraiser at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club later that week. Was he infected when he debated Biden?
COVID-19 is not swine flu
Although Pence, Mother (a.k.a. the Second Lady) and the Bidens, as well as Harris and her husband, tested negative when we recorded this episode, they’re not out of the woods yet.
So it was especially galling to hear Pence defend Trump’s pandemic response.
“It’s beyond gaslighting,” Toure says. “It could have been 2 million dead, so 200,000 and counting –– you should thank us. What universe are you speaking from?”
Plus, Pence doubled down on Trump’s argument that the Obama administration mishandled the 2009 swine flu outbreak.
“Do you remember the swine flu?” Danielle asks. “I might have stopped eating bacon. But I don't remember the world shutting down because of the fucking swine flu.”
“Nothing could make me stop eating bacon,” Toure replies. “However, I do remember swine flu, and I also remember it being something rather small we all moved along from.”
Using swine flu as a retort to COVID is “absurd,” he adds. “You can't consistently tell us that the truth is not the truth and have us believe it. It's disgusting.”
But, Toure points out, Pence was “like a dog with a bone” on the question of whether a Biden-Harris administration would “pack the court” with left-leaning judges.
Pence: calm, collected and crazy
Among Pence’s untruthiest remarks: “Senator, I just ask you, stop playing politics with people’s lives.”
“Oh my god,” Danielle says. “She has so much grace. If I was on that stage, I’d knock over the glass and be like, bitch, say that to my face.”
Trump, Pence and their Republican enablers “have politicized the virus one hundred thousand percent,” says Toure. “They’ve made not wearing a mask seem like a patriotic choice that shows you’re strong and free and won't follow the sheep.”
He sees Pence’s comment as “a bizarre rejection of reality.”
That's the most disturbing thing about Pence, Toure adds.
“He has this very calm way of saying things that are completely insane … Trump does it in a hot-headed, physically wild way that makes me think, you're crazy, you’re the drunk at the end of the bar who's drunk on Fox and whiskey.”
Pence, on the other hand, “hasn’t had a drop of liquor in his life and just got out of church, but he’ll tell you: Up is down. Left is right.”
Earth 1 to Earth 2: the VP’s a sociopath
“I always thought Pence was actually a lot more dangerous than Donald Trump,” says Danielle. “Because of his ‘Dexter’-like tone, his even-keeled, serial-killer demeanor.”
When Pence talks, we almost feel like what he’s saying is plausible. “But then we realize he's a sociopath,” she adds. “A sociopath with a radio voice, which makes him dangerous.”
And Pence doesn't seem to have a personal rapport with Trump the way Kamala does with Joe, says Toure.
“At no point did Pence talk about any sort of relationship with him. When he talks about Trump, it seems like an imagined president who’s strong, handling his business, taking care of the country in the best possible way. And we’re like, who is he talking about?”
The administration is constantly asking us to not believe our own eyes and ears, he adds.
“It always makes me wonder: What are they seeing? What are they hearing?” Danielle says. “We’re on Earth 1, and they are clearly up on Space Force––”
“Earth 2,” Toure interjects.
On Earth 1, there’s a pandemic, a recession and a cultural reckoning with centuries of systemic racism.
Meanwhile, on Earth 2, Pence wears faux-incredulous expressions as Harris repeats Trump’s worst-of reel verbatim.
“As if we all can't run back the tape,” says Danielle.
Kamala’s read receipts
The best part of the debate for Danielle?
“Kamala brought so much Black-woman fucking attitude in the most suave way.”
Danielle loved her take-no-shit stance when it came to handling Pence. “You know when a Black woman starts anything with, so here's what we're not gonna do, that means sit the fuck down and shut up. Because I don't want you to hurt yourself. And I also don't want to have to hurt you.”
At one point, Harris said, “I will not sit here and be lectured by the Vice President on what it means to enforce the laws of our country. The only one on this stage, who has personally prosecuted everything from child sexual assault to homicide.”
“I was like, biiitch, read him,” Danielle adds. “Read him for the lawless criminal motherfucker that he is. How dare he try and talk about laws.”
Harris has “had an up-and-down record in terms of debates,” Toure notes. “Tonight, she was smooth, polished and effective. She was powerful. She told her story. She made a case for herself, and yet continuously pointed it back to Joe.”
‘Small ball’ and corona-cynicism
Back on Earth One, Toure pivots to an issue that divides not just our nation, but our hosts themselves.
He’s “baffled and blown away by the depth, breadth and seriousness of your cynicism,” he tells Danielle. “I must applaud you –– even at this late hour, you do not believe that Trump actually has corona, is that correct?””
It is, she says, before Toure makes his case.
“With anything he says or does, we have to ask, where is the lie? The lie is: They tried to hide it from us. Now they're lying about how serious it is. But now we see fewer members of the administration who don't have it than those who do.”
Over nearly four years, “Trump has been a small-ball, con-artist liar. But he's not a “wag-the-dog,” P.T. Barnum, create-a-giant-illusion sort of person. He's not a big thinker.”
Trump isn’t pulling the kind of shit his Republican forebears did, creating “gigantic facades” as reasons for attacks on Grenada and Iraq.
“Donald Trump doesn't do stuff like that,” he adds.
If he was lying about his COVID diagnosis, it would “be a giant, epic con. But he's all about downplaying this virus.”
The great ‘fuck Christmas’ coverup
Trump would rather talk about “race and violence” in our cities, election “fraud” and why we must install his Supreme Court pick, no matter what, Toure argues.
“But now, all we're talking about is the coronavirus … He’s not a big enough thinker to pull this off. It doesn't fit with anything he's done.”
Danielle’s rebuttal also rests on what we’ve learned about Trump: With every move he makes, we must ask ourselves what he stands to gain.
“Why would he tweet it out at 1:00 a.m.?” she asks. “What was happening in the hours, or days, before? And why, after telling more than 20,000 lies [as of mid-July], would he decide this time would be the time to tell the truth?”
She points to the crucial 48 to 72 hours prior, when the media was focused on the New York Times story about Trump's taxes. Shortly thereafter, we got an audio drop of Melania’s “fuck Christmas” rant.
“Then, lo and behold, a handful of hours later, it's, oh my God, we have COVID, and thoughts and fucking prayers.”
Q-tips and Hope Hicks
By admitting he was ‘infected,’ Danielle asks: “Did Trump lose the news cycle? Or did he shift it away? That motherfucker showed up at multiple events. I bet he knew he had COVID –– if, in fact, he does.”
But she doesn't I believe it, “unless I'm holding the Q-tip, or Dr. Fauci is. Fucking reality TV star –– let’s do the big reveal on television.”
Trump’s announcement was met by a media that overcompensated for its criticism with hand-wringing sympathy.
“Rachel Maddow got on fucking Twitter, talking about how we need to unite as a country and I said––bitch, shut up,” says Danielle.
“It’s completely inappropriate,” Toure says. “If we are the referees, the grios, the ones telling the story, we don't need to step out and wish the best for Donald Trump as he contracts the virus he flouted.”
He underscores his prior argument: “How many times can you stick your hand in a fire and not get burned? Walking around without a mask, no social distancing, large gatherings over and over and over –– how long before this thing jumps from Herman Cain to Hope Hicks, or whoever, to you?”
If it wasn’t for the efforts of a “dogged, excellent reporter,” we wouldn’t know as much as we do, he adds.
Thoughts, hold the prayers
Toure’s not praying for Trump.
“Hard pass,” he says. “And let me tell you something very real. I sincerely hoped and continue to hope that he dies.”
Toure explains that he feels this way not because of his personal hatred for the president, but because it would be better for the country if Trump were to just –– poof –– be gone.
“I can't suddenly have empathy for this man who has shown none of those things for people dealing with COVID, and Americans who don't enthusiastically support him.”
Danielle feigns shock: “Are we really going to record next week from a bunker?”
She doesn’t have any sympathy for the president either, though. “That motherfucker should be dead,” she says. “Because there are countless undocumented children who’ve died in ICE custody. Because Trump has a blatant indifference for Black lives.”
But she does worry about the hundreds of people who work at the White House.
“Not the politicos, but the people who actually make the people's house run.”
Toure feels the same: “How many Secret Service agents? How many cooks? How many cleaners?” he asks.
October surprise, round 2?
To make matters worse, the White House has made zero effort to engage in contact tracing among guests at Trump’s fundraiser and Judge Coney Barrett’s COVID cotillion.
“When are they going to learn that downplaying this … is not helping?” Toure asks.
“Ask yourself why,” Danielle says. “I don't think it has anything to do with the virus. I think it has everything to do with who was present at the New Jersey event.”
Her mantra is always “follow the fucking money,” she says. “Who was there? Who has ties to Russia? To the Saudis? To Turkey? They don't want you to know who was in the room.”
Toure never imagined that the “October surprise” would be a White House COVID outbreak.
“We're only a week in,” Danielle points out.
“We’ll probably be back next week. Right?” he asks.
“That will be another October surprise, folks,” she replies.
Hopefully, we’ll have a democracy next week, too.
“A democracy-ish, that’s for fucking sure,” says Danielle. “Pray about it.”
Get your weekly rundown of the presidential election from a Black progressive point of view on democracy-ish. Consider Danielle Moodie and Toure as your tour guides, flight attendants and/or therapists as we move through this dumpster fire of an election cycle — together!