If it wasn’t so serious–and terrifying–it would be funny.
Anyone who watched Trump’s Rose Garden “press conference” and still thinks that the guardian of the nuclear codes is sane, is equally demented.
President Trump’s window is closing.
All signs suggest it’s closing on his presidency because of his world-class incompetence with the coronavirus pandemic, the protracted economic collapse that resulted, and the increasingly overt racism Trump has embraced.
But it also appears the window is closing on his connection to reality, if it hasn’t already.
Milbank described Trump’s use of the ostensible press conference to launch a bizarre and lengthy attack on Joe Biden– “attributing a platform to his Democratic opponent that bore hardly any resemblance to anything occurring in the real world.”
Trump informed the assembled White House reporters that Biden would “incentivize illegal alien child smuggling,” “abolish immigration enforcement,” “abolish police departments” and “abolish our prisons.” According to Trump, Democrats are “calling for defunding of our military” and “wouldn’t mind” if terrorists blew up America’s cities.
He also said “Biden and Obama stopped their testing– they just stopped it.” (Presumably, they are also culpable for failing to prevent 9/11.)
The weirdest accusation was that Biden’s energy plan would require eliminating windows. According to Trump’s unhinged diatribe, Biden’s energy plan “basically means no windows” in homes or offices by 2030.
Lest you think Milbank was exaggerating for comic effect, his description of the “press conference” (note quotation marks) was echoed by a number of other observers. Cody Fenwick attributed the performance to Trump’s longing for the rallies he has been unable to hold.
There was no consistent thread or argument to his ramblings, aside from his own supposed greatness. It was pure stream of consciousness, supplemented by factoids apparently printed on notes on his lectern. He claimed to be the defender of African Americans at one moment because he favors school choice, but then slipped into attacking low-income housing and saying he’d preserve the suburbs — an unsubtle code for protecting white neighborhoods.
He lied so constantly that CNN’s Daniel Dale, one of the president’s most assiduous fact-checkers, noted that he couldn’t cover the speech in real-time on Twitter because there were just so many falsehoods.
The Lincoln Project tweeted out: “We’re watching the self-destruction of the president in real time.”
And back at the Washington Post, in a column that was far from amusing or bemused, Paul Waldman argued that people who aren’t furious with Trump and the GOP just aren’t paying attention.
Let me take you for a moment to a fantasy land. In this place, the coronavirus pandemic was bad for a couple of months but now it is largely under control. If you lived there you’d still be a little uncertain about going to a concert or a movie, but your life would have largely returned to normal.
You wouldn’t have lost your job; the government would have had a comprehensive support program that kept unemployment low. You’d be able to see your family and friends without fear. Your children would be returning to school in September. There would be some precautions to take for a while longer, but there would be no doubt that the pandemic was on its way to being defeated.
As Waldman says, this isn’t a fairy-tale; it’s life in numerous other countries around the world. (I know it’s true of the Netherlands, because I have a son who lives in Amsterdam, and that’s been his experience.)
Waldman provides data that should enrage us: new case totals from Monday. France: 580; UK: 564; Spain: 546; Germany: 365; Canada: 299; Japan: 259; Italy: 200; Australia: 158; South Korea: 52.
The United States? 55,300.
There are many reasons we have experienced this catastrophe (and it quickly became two catastrophes, an economic crisis added to the public health crisis), but one stands above all others: President Trump.
Is there a single aspect of his response to this pandemic that has not been a miserable failure? For weeks he ignored warnings and denied that the pandemic would be a problem. He didn’t prepare the equipment and systems we’d need to respond.
Waldman lists the failures, then focuses on the President’s disconnect from reality.
And he demanded that everyone around him echo his insane claims that everything is under control and the pandemic is being vanquished. It was a month ago that Vice President Pence pathetically proclaimed that “we are winning the fight against the invisible enemy,” and the administration’s great success was “cause for celebration.”
And now (since nothing bad can ever be Trump’s fault) the White House is trying to discredit Dr. Fauci.
As Waldman points out, we should all be furious–because we’ve been robbed:
Even if you’re lucky enough not to have gotten sick or lost a loved one, you’re the victim of a robbery. Trump stole so much from all of us — our time with friends and family, our mental health, even our faith that our country could meet a challenge.
I can just hear the Trumpers’ response: but think how angry we’ll be when Joe Biden steals our windows…