On Tuesday, Vanity Fair reported that an ally of Donald Trump said the president was furious about the coronavirus. “He was saying, ‘This is so unfair to me! Everything was going great. We were cruising to reelection!’” On that same day, Maggie Haberman wrote in The New York Times that President Trump had “lashed out at Mr. Parscale and other advisers because of his decline,” referring to campaign manager Brad Parscale.
How dare the deaths of thousands of people derail Trump’s 2020 re-election prospects!
In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, Team Trump decided that the virus was a conspiracy against the president. It was yet another way that the greatest president reality television ever created was being thwarted.
But who was thwarting the president? Well, that wasn’t entirely clear, though there is an ever-shifting cast of villains—everyone from Anthony Fauci, whom Tucker Carlson called “the chief buffoon of the professional class,” to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, at whom Trump tweeted, barking, “Failing Michigan Governor must work harder and be much more proactive.”
Trump and his supporters feel (whether they admit it or not) that Trump is the center of the entire Earth and the media ecosystem, ergo anything that happens in the world is actually happening to Trump primarily. “Deadly pandemic kills a hundred thousand American souls” is merely a Democratic plot to make the president look bad. It seems too nuts to be true but various members of the Trumpy media continually imply it, and then Eric Trump went as far as to say it.
In February, when the coronavirus was still raging mainly in Wuhan, the president tweeted, “Low Ratings Fake News MSDNC (Comcast) & @CNN are doing everything possible to make the Coronavirus look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible.” His supporters agreed. Rush Limbaugh told his audience on February 24, “Folks, this coronavirus thing, I want to try to put this in perspective for you. It looks like the coronavirus is being weaponized as yet another element to bring down Donald Trump.”
Even the president’s new press liar I mean secretary on Feb. 28 went on the president’s propaganda network and said, “What is bad for America is good for Democrats, it’s incredible that they think this way. They root against the stock market. They root for this [coronavirus] to take hold. They have a demented dream of taking down President Trump. It doesn’t matter how many Americans they destroy in order to get there.”
The thinking was simple, albeit very narcissistic. The Trump humpers hoped that they could ignore the virus and that it would go away. They were mad that “Democrats” were making such a big deal out of it.
I thought once the coronavirus got to America the Trump media would take it seriously and treat it like a national public health crisis, and not an opportunity to own the libs.
Of course, I was wrong. In late April, Trump told Reuters that “he believes China’s handling of the coronavirus is proof that Beijing will do anything they can to make him lose his re-election bid in November.” And Lou Dobbs, Tom Cotton, and the Money Honey all floated that coronavirus-was-made-in-a-lab conspiracy. Dobbs went as far as saying, “I personally believe it’s entirely possible that [China] engineered the Wuhan virus.” Yes, the Trump media industrial complex was more concerned with how the pandemic affected Trump than stopping or controlling it.
In fact, as is the Trumpy way, the Trump media decided it was the restrictions and the lockdown that were hurting Trump, and not the coronavirus. Weren’t the lockdowns to stop the virus? It didn’t matter. Since everything in Trumpworld is about Trump, obviously the restrictions were put in place to hurt the economy, and thus Trump.
Of course, evidence does not support the Trumpy media’s theory that it was the lockdowns that hurt the economy more than the virus did. Georgia lifted restrictions almost immediately and saw no financial benefit. A week ago Politico reported that, “Weekly applications for jobless benefits have remained so elevated that Georgia now leads the country in terms of the proportion of its workforce applying for unemployment assistance,” despite its lack of stay-at-home restrictions. This is because, the virus is actually hurting the economy and not the restrictions.
Countries like New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, and now Japan have stopped the virus with commonsense measures, measures that Trumpworld deems to be “Democrat” efforts to take down Trump—things like masks, which the president refuses to be photographed in. Trumpworld has long considered science to be an affront to Trumpism, because to Trumpists Trump is everything and if you don’t support Trump then you’re against him.
One of the few good things about the president’s large adult sons is that they always say the quiet part loud, and on May 16, Eric (the simple son) did exactly that, telling Jeanine Pirro, aka Judge Box of Whine, "And they think they're taking away Donald Trump's greatest tool, which is being able to go into an arena and fill it with 50,000 people every single time, right? So they will, and you watch. They'll milk it every single day between now and November 3, and guess what? After November 3, coronavirus will magically all of a sudden go away and disappear and everybody will be able to reopen."
If only that were true! If only Democrats controlled the coronavirus. Because if they did, the United States’ handling of this would have been much closer to, say, New Zealand’s, and we’d have had maybe 30,000 or so deaths instead of 100,000 and climbing, and we’d be starting to crawl our way out of this grim hole right about now, and nobody would ever have stood at a White House podium and recommended injecting Clorox.
The irony is that there’s one person who could theoretically control the coronavirus, and Eric knows him. In fact, he’s Eric’s dad, president Donald J Trump, who could have instituted a nationwide lockdown and a testing and tracing strategy. If he had done that back in January and February when other, more science-y world leaders were doing it, we’d be getting back to work instead of waiting in horror for the second wave to hit. But then, testing and tracing involve science, and there’s no place for science in Trumpworld. There’s only room for the mango flavored God-king of reality television.