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Donald Trump lies. It is not exaggeration. It’s not “truthful hyperbole.” If only it were only truthful hyperbole. If only he knew the meaning of “hyperbole.” If only he knew the meaning of “oxymoron” — a truthfully hyperbolic “oxymoron.” Trump is a fabulist whose lies are now costing lives. The U.S. is experiencing a disastrous shortage of coronavirus testing kits because Trump lies. We had two months to gear up production — as many other countries did — but Donald kept playing down the crisis. And how convenient that a shortage of test kits keeps the confirmed-cases count artificially low. Trump consistently has contradicted and muddled his health experts’ public guidance. He gives snapshots of the crisis with no context, no look at the trend, in effect telling us, “It’s always worse somewhere else. We’re fine.” He wants us to believe the opposite of reality: that people are getting better and the victim number is trending toward “zero.” Why is the president callously playing with American lives? It’s all about the stock market. Donald views a healthy market (unencumbered by bothersome bad news about pandemic infections) as integral to his reelection. If he loses in 2020, thereby losing presidential immunity, he faces multiple indictments. You do the math (scroll down for full article)

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Donald Trump lies. It is not exaggeration. It’s not “truthful hyperbole,” as he characterizes his rhetoric in a book he “wrote.” If only it were only truthful hyperbole. If only he knew the meaning of hyperbole. If only he knew the meaning of oxymoron — a truthfully hyperbolic oxymoron. Trump is a fabulist whose lies are now costing lives.

The U.S. is experiencing a disastrous shortage of coronavirus testing kits because Trump lies. We had two months to gear up production — as many other countries did — but Donald kept playing down the crisis. He declined testing help offered by the World Health Organization in January. And how convenient that a shortage of test kits keeps the confirmed-cases count artificially low.

Trump consistently has contradicted and muddled his health experts’ analyses, counsel, and public guidance. He blew up privately after the CDC’s Dr. Nancy Messonnier said February 25 that protective measures “will be disruptive to people’s day-to-day lives.” Next thing you know, Dr. Nancy is sidelined and targeted for condemnation by the right-wing press. The CDC recently wanted to put out a nationwide recommendation that senior citizens and those in fragile health should not travel by airline. The White House, fearing a hit to business, overruled that recommendation, watering it down — again, muddling the danger.

As some experts and pundits have pointed out, Trump gives snapshots of the crisis with no context, in effect telling us, “It’s always worse somewhere else. We’re fine.” While it’s bad enough he’s ignoring the deadly trend, he wants us to believe the opposite of reality: that people are getting better and the victim number is trending toward “zero.”

Why is the president suppressing accurate information and disputing his own health experts? Why is he callously playing with American lives? It’s all about the stock market. Coronavirus concerns have rocked the market with two weeks of record-setting losses. Donald views a healthy stock market (unencumbered by bothersome bad news about pandemic infections) as integral to his reelection. If he loses in 2020, thereby losing presidential immunity, he faces multiple indictments. You do the math.




The Art of the Downplay

“We think we have it very well under control. We have very little problem in this country at this moment — five. And those people are all recuperating successfully. … [W]e think it’s going to have a very good ending for us — that I can assure you.”

(Trump, Donald, R-Fla., U.S. president; speech; Dana Inc. [formerly Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant]; Warren, Mich.; 1/30/2020.)

“[W]hen you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.”

(Trump, Donald, R-Fla., U.S. president; White House press briefing; 2/26/2020.)

“As they get better, we take them off the list, so that we’re going to be pretty soon at only five people. And we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time. … And again, if you look at some countries, they are coming down. It’s starting to go in the other direction”

(Ibid.; Trump; 2/26/2020.)

“[W]e’re testing everybody that we need to test [even though there’s a massive shortage of test kits]. And we’re finding very little problem. Very little problem.”

(Ibid.; Trump; 2/26/2020.)

“It’s going to disappear. One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”

(Trump, Donald, R-Fla., U.S. president; African American History Month reception; White House; 2/27/2020.)

“The Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. … This is their new hoax.”

(Trump, Donald, R-Fla., U.S. president; campaign rally; North Charleston, S.C.; 2/28/2020.)

“‘And how long would that [vaccine] take?’ Trump asked. The [drug company] CEO said it would take months and then head into phase three. ‘All right. So you’re talking within a year.’ ‘A year to a year and a half,’ [government infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony] Fauci again clarified. ‘Well, but, Lenny is talking about two months, right?’ Trump said, incorrectly referring to [Regeneron CEO Leonard] Schleifer’s August estimate. ‘A little — a little longer,’ Schleifer again clarified. ‘A little longer.’ ‘A couple of months, right?’ Trump pressed. ‘I mean, I like the sound of a couple of months better, I must be honest with you.’ …

“What’s remarkable about these exchanges is that Fauci has explained all of this — in front of Trump and publicly: … ‘[The vaccine] would not be applicable to the epidemic unless we really wait about a year to a year and a half.’”

(Blake, Aaron; “Trump’s Baffling Coronavirus Vaccine Event”; The Washington Post; 3/3/2020.)

“I think the [stated WHO mortality rate of] 3.4 percent is really a false number … Because a lot of people will have this and it’s very mild. They’ll get better very rapidly. They don’t even see a doctor. … So if, you know, we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, by sitting around and even going to work — some of them go to work, but they get better. … I think the number — personally, I would say the number is way under 1 percent.”

(Trump, Donald, R-Fla., U.S. president; Fox News’ Hannity; 3/5/2020.)

“I would rather [keep those infected and exposed passengers on the cruise ship anchored near San Francisco] because I like the [current U.S.] numbers being where they are. I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault. … I’d rather have them stay on [the ship], personally.”

(Trump, Donald, R-Fla., U.S. president; Q&A with reporters; CDC; 3/6/2020.) (ignoring the advice of all his health experts, after a similar situation exploded with infections)

“The [questionable CDC coronavirus] tests are all perfect like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect. Right? This was not as perfect as that but pretty good.”

(Ibid.; Trump; 3/6/2020.) (comparing the CDC’s troubled COVID-19 test development efforts to his impeachment-worthy phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky)

“Mr. Trump started Monday playing down the virus, reminding Americans that tens of thousands of people die of the ordinary flu every year. ‘Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on,’ he wrote on Twitter. ‘At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!’ He dismissed the effect of the outbreak in fueling Monday’s market meltdown. ‘Saudi Arabia and Russia are arguing over the price and flow of oil,’ he wrote. ‘That, and the Fake News, is the reason for the market drop!’”

(Baker, Peter & Haberman, Maggie & Karni, Annie; “Trump Floats Economic Stimulus in Response to Coronavirus”; The New York Times; 3/9/2020.)

“We will not delay. I will never hesitate to take any necessary steps to protect the lives, health and safety of the American people. I will always put the well-being of America first.”

(Trump, Donald, R-Fla., U.S. president; Oval Office address; 3/11/2020.)

Upshot

The problem with these Oval Office Donald-come-lately assurances is this: Who can believe the president now after months of downplaying the crisis for personal, partisan, corrupt reasons. He is not leading. He is being dragged against his will because the tsunami of factual information is drowning his venal attempts to spin the problem. Yesterday, the World Health Organization officially designated the novel coronavirus spread as a pandemic. Yesterday, his own director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned that the U.S. could have a problem, or it could have a catastrophic nightmare — it’s the government’s choice.

Finally, yesterday, the Attending Physician of the United States Congress told a congressional committee in private session that the country could experience 70 to 150 million novel coronavirus infections before the crisis is over.

Only after these dire warnings has the president apparently decided to — at least appear to — take the pandemic seriously. He has yet to reassemble fully the U.S. pandemic response team he fired in 2018 because it had Obama’s fingerprints on it. Dr. Fauci has had to warn him — through the media — to stop comparing COVID-19 benignly to the flu. And after two months of wasted lead time, only now has he ordered a push for coronavirus test kit production.

“We must put politics aside, stop the partisanship and unify together as one nation and one family.”

(Ibid.; Trump; 3/11/2020.)

“The Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. … This is their new hoax.”

(Ibid.; Trump; 2/28/2020.)

As of this writing, March 12, 2020, 8:18 a.m. EST, the U.S. has 1,323 confirmed coronavirus cases and 38 deaths spread across 45 states. Earth has 127,749 confirmed cases and 4,717 deaths across 116 countries. ■

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Trump Corruption Chronicles — We Must Never Forget