The coronavirus pandemic, a fraught election, an attempted insurrection, more of the coronavirus pandemic… the United States is suffering from the mental version of long COVID, says Mary Trump.
The psychologist and niece of former President Donald Trump joins The New Abnormal to talk about it this week.
Mary Trump speaks with co-host Molly Jong-Fast about how her uncle Donald politicized the COVID-19 pandemic, demanding that his supporters endanger their lives to demonstrate their loyalty to him. He said Wednesday that the CDC’s recommendation for booster shots was simply a “money-making operation” for Pfizer.
“He will do anything to feel that he’s still the center of attention. Unfortunately, he has nothing good to offer us. He’s incapable of, you know, doing a PSA to have people get vaccinated,” she says.
Mary Trump argues in her new book, The Reckoning: Our Nation’s Trauma and Finding a Way to Heal, that the intersecting crises have left the nation reeling. Americans have experienced profound whiplash and decline over the past two years, she says.
“What will happen to this nation’s mental health after months more of chaos and fear? Plus, of course, that it was worsened by Donald’s need to keep people at each other’s throats,” she tells Molly.
Also on the episode, Margaret Sullivan, media critic for The Washington Post, joins to discuss shortcomings in the coverage of the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and the ensuing Taliban takeover.
“It’s impossible to ‘Just give me the facts’ because everything is framed. You know, everything is a choice. Quoting Karl Rove is a choice. Voting Leon Panetta is a choice,” she says. “I think it’s been not great at all.”
“I feel like when you have John Bolton on, you may have lost some of your credibility,” Molly says.
“You can quote people like that. But when you do, you owe it to your readership or your audience to say what their role was when the decisions were being made,” Sullivan replies. “The government has lied to the American people for years about this. Let’s not forget that as we’re quoting the exact same people who lied.”
Molly also interviews Jason Kander, the former Missouri secretary of state who was deployed to Afghanistan as a U.S. Army intelligence officer. They talk about the disaster unfolding in Kabul and beyond.
“One of the problems that we’re having right now as a country is we’re really used to having somebody to blame, and this is a 20-year war,” Kander says.
Like Sullivan, Kander says one of the most bitter disappointments of recent weeks has been Americans’ ahistorical perceptions of the war.
“I am mad that the American public seems to have figured out this week that we’ve been fighting a war in Afghanistan for 20 years and they’re not happy about it,” he says.