“Trump’s Last Year in Office: Two Impeachments and 400,000 Funerals ” © Tom Ersin 2022. This is the current installment from the serialized publication of this distinctive historical book.

THIS WEEK’S HEADLINES (skip to article)

  • “Roger Stone Sentenced to 40 Mos. Prison; Judge Lambasts Stone Saying He ‘covered up for president,’ Has No Respect for Court, Truth; New Prosecutors Seemed to Resent AG Barr’s Sentencing Interference, Defended ‘righteous’ Work of 4 Prosecutors Who Quit Case After AG Barr Overruled Them” (2/20/2020)
  • “Acting DNI Joseph Maguire Briefed Intel. Cmtes., as Required by Law, Feb. 13 About Ongoing Russian Efforts to Help Trump 2020; Had Specific Info From Multiple Intel. Agencies; Trump Angered Now That Congress Knows, Fires Maguire, Dashing Chances of Maguire Becoming Permanent DNI” (2/20/2020)
  • “Trump Names Acting DNI: Flame-Throwing Loyalist Ric Grenell w/ Zero Intel. Experience” (2/20/2020)
  • “Julian Assange Offered Pardon by WH if He Would’ve Denied 2016 Russia Meddling” (2/20/2020)
  • “Bernie Sanders (I-VT) Was Briefed 1 Month Ago About Intel. Showing Russia Is Helping Him in Dem Pres. Primary Because He’s Weakest Against Trump; Bernie Warns Putin off Meddling” (2/21/2020)
  • “Michael Milken’s Rich Friend Asked Trump to Pardon Milken, Which He Did Last Week; 3 Days After Asking for Pardon, Milken’s Rich Friend Raised $10M for Trump 2020 Election Campaign” (2/21/2020)
  • “Dow Drops 1032 Points Over Fear of Coronavirus and Trump’s Inability to Handle U.S. Infections; Trump Fired U.S. Pandemic Response Team in 2018, Has Cut Back NIH, Science, Research” (2/24/2020)
  • “Trump Publicly Bashes Roger Stone Juror, Claiming Bias, in Clear Trump Jury Tampering” (2/24/2020)
  • “CDC Warns of ‘inevitable’ Spread of Coronavirus in U.S., Alerts Country to Prepare” (2/25/2020)
  • “Dow Drops Heavily 2nd Day in a Row, 879 Points, Over Continued Coronavirus Fears” (2/25/2020)
  • “Dems Hold Another Raucous (10th) Debate: Biden Strongest, Bloomberg Less Terrible, Bernie Shaken by Hits, Warren Strong but too Much Bloomberg Bashing, Steyer Weak, Buttigieg, Klobuchar Steady; CBS Moderators Lost Control of This One: Much Shouting, Talking Over Others, Talking Long ” (2/25/2020)
  • “Trump Worried About Stock Market Numbers, Blames Media for ‘panicking markets’” (2/26/2020)
  • “After 100 Yrs. of Trying, House Passes Anti-Lynching Law 410-4 — Who in the Hell Were Those 4?: Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Ted Yoho (R-FL), Justin Amash (I[Fmr. R]-MI)” (2/26/2020)
  • “Roger Stone Judge Scolds Pres. for Juror Intimidation; He Immediately Repeats Offense” (2/26/2020)
  • “2nd Trump WH Press Conf. Ever: Pres. Contradicts Own Health Experts, Plays Down U.S. Coronavirus Risk to Protect Markets, Says U.S. Cases ‘almost at zero’; CDC Says Serious Outbreak Near-Inevitable, U.S. Should Prepare; VP Pence Named Coronavirus Czar, Blindsiding HHS Director Alex Azar” (2/26/2020)
  • “At Press Conf., Trump Blames Mon.-Tue. Market Crash on Wed.’s Dem Debate Comments” (2/26/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: U.S.: Zero Deaths” (2/27/2020)


Trump purports huge bragging rights for U.S. stock market performance. In his mind the stock market is the economy. Never mind that myriad economic experts believe the market has questionable effect on the economy. Never mind that in measuring the last three years of each president’s time in office, Barack Obama beats Donald Trump on several primary economic indicators including: 1) average monthly job growth; 2) unemployment rate decrease; and 3) real wage growth. And never mind that about half of all Americans are disconnected from the market by virtue of no 401(k) or 403(b) participation or other stock investments. But to Donald, the daily Dow Jones Industrial Average is his identity, his plea for us to believe he is a good president in spite of reality.

Donald’s lies are an obvious joke. They’re a pathetic device to prop up a small man. And often they have the potential to cause great harm (notwithstanding their greatest inherent harm: they put and keep him in office.) The coronavirus pandemic is steering Trump’s presidential lies in a deadly direction. He’s already dissembling about the effects of the virus on America, to try to stop his precious market numbers from falling. He’s already backed himself into a corner with indiscriminate cuts to the National Institutes of Health and other government health and science departments including firing the U.S. pandemic response team in 2018. Lives will be lost.

Holding Firm

Fortunately the doctors, experts, and scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have not gone Trump prostrate. So far, against Trumpian prevarication, the CDC is holding its own, telling the truth. The question remains, Who will win the ultimate rhetorical tug of war: David or Goliath?

Trump has become a virtual cult leader. No individual or entity in his party dares cross him, dares tell the emperor he has no pants on, because of the power he’s amassed through his followers’ blind emotional loyalty. As an elected official, stray one inch from the party line and you’ll risk being primary-ed. As a rich supporter, disrespect or disagree with The Donald and you’ll be shut out of money-making opportunities and shunned at the club after the tweet-attacks.

Donald Trump owns the Senate, Justice Department, Environmental Protection Agency, Education Department, Energy Department, and other Cabinet agencies. He’s buying up much of the intelligence community by installing non-experienced sycophants at the top. The Trump HR department has been ordered to seek out and cleanse the administration of anyone neutral about the president, let alone not pathologically loyal.

Fortunately he does not own the CDC — yet.

Party Line

“We have [the coronavirus] totally under control … We have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”

(Trump, Donald, R-Fla., U.S. president; speaking to CNBC reporter Kernen, Joe; World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland; 1/22/2020.)

Donald already was getting nervous about his stock market numbers, which he lives and dies by, which are his political identity.

“[T]he coronavirus is very much under control in the USA …  Stock Market starting to look very good to me.”

(Trump, Donald, R-Fla., U.S. president; Twitter post; 2/24/2020.)

The previous tweet came about an hour after the U.S. stock market closed Monday, by which time the Dow Jones Industrial Average had plunged 1,032 points (3.56%), its second-largest one-day point drop in 124 years of existence. The drop was near-unanimously attributed to the current news of a coronavirus pandemic and specifically to fears that the Trump administration is incapable of managing it in this country. As mentioned, Donald fired the U.S. pandemic response team in 2018 and consistently has cut funds to agencies dealing with health and science.

If we didn’t already know what a fabulist he is, the following tweet would have caused Trump’s mental stability to come under heavy scrutiny. (Oh wait — it is already.)

“[The coronavirus outbreak is] under control [and is going to] go away. We have very few people with it. The people are getting better, they’re all getting better. … I think that the whole situation will start working out.”

(Trump, Donald, R-Fla., U.S. president; news conference; New Delhi, India; 2/25/2020.)

The Dow dropped another 879 points the day of that last tweet.

“The rosy sheen that Trump, [Larry] Kudlow, and other White House officials have tried to express about the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak has now collided with reality: The coronavirus is spreading, quickly, to more countries. The death toll is rising, and the outbreak is wreaking havoc on global supply chains. …

“The White House’s assurances also fell flat on Capitol Hill, as lawmakers from both parties expressed outrage at the Trump administration’s seeming unfamiliarity with facts about the scale of the problem.”

(Stein, Jeff & Dawsey, Josh; “White House Struggles to Contain Public Alarm Over Coronavirus”; The Washington Post; 2/26/2020.)

The administration is doing everything possible to protect the stock market, Donald’s self-perceived report card, even at the expense of public safety.

Are You Serious?

“This White House may already be in danger of losing the capacity to be seen as serious.”

(Sperling, Gene, top [Clinton, Obama] economic adviser; as cited in Stein, Jeff & Dawsey, Josh; “White House Struggles to Contain Public Alarm Over Coronavirus”; The Washington Post; 2/26/2020.)

No argument here. And this doesn’t apply only to the coronavirus threat. To paraphrase what many pundits have declared: We’re not “in danger” of having a White House that can’t be taken seriously. We’re there. We’ve been there for a long time.

“President Trump on Wednesday attacked CNN and ‘MSDNC (Comcast)’ — a reference to MSNBC — for ‘doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible.’ (He misspelled coronavirus in his tweet.) ‘Likewise their incompetent Do Nothing Democrat comrades are all talk, no action,’ Trump added. ‘USA in great shape!’”

(Taylor, Noack, McAuley, & Denyer; “Live Updates: Coronavirus Fears Spook Markets as Outbreak Spreads; Trump Calls News Conference, Accuses Media of ‘Panicking Markets’”; The Washington Post; 2/26/2020.)

Finally we have the inevitable. You have to ask, What took him so long? The president now is blaming the media and Democrats for stoking coronavirus fears to hurt him and his stock market.

“Now there are more than 50 people in the United States with coronavirus, and health officials believe the number will continue to grow. On Tuesday, as the stock market began its second day of a precipitous slide, Nancy Messonnier, a top CDC official, told reporters that the coronavirus’ impact on the United States ‘may seem overwhelming and that disruption to everyday life may be severe.’ She said that it was inevitable the virus would spread more broadly in the United States and that people needed to begin taking precautions. …

“Now, White House officials’ efforts to contain the economic fallout from the coronavirus have created new political hazards, as they publicly play down the threat while other federal officials with a background in health and diseases are warning of more severe consequences for inaction. The administration also risks creating new health hazards, should the pressure to assure investors of economic stability undercut its public health message about the mounting threat.”

(Ibid.; Stein & Dawsey; 2/26/2020.)

So far Donald doesn’t own the CDC.

Journalist Greg Sargent in Trump’s Brain

“We already know Trump views the markets as a kind of backup gauge of his chances of reelection. But now, with markets tumbling, Trump has persuaded himself that warnings from his own administration’s health officials about the public threat it poses to Americans are to blame for those market travails. … The core absurdity of Trump raging at the media for hyping coronavirus is that his own officials are describing it in terms Trump won’t acknowledge. He doesn’t want them to publicly do this, because it influences his leading gauge of his political health. …

“If the media reports facts about coronavirus that Trump fears will damage him politically, or if officials follow procedures ensuring accountability in government — as the whistleblower and officials who testified to Congress about the Ukraine scheme did — [Trump purports] these things can only constitute corruption in their own right, that is, corrupt plots against Trump. All this justifies any and all [of his] efforts to corrupt government [that] Trump undertakes on his own behalf. [His assumption is] everyone is corrupt. All that matters is who wins or loses.”

(Sargent, Greg; “As the Virus Spreads, Trump Rages Over the Markets. That’s Alarming.”; The Washington Post; 2/26/2020.)

Trump doesn’t own the CDC.

“I think the financial markets are very upset when they look at the Democrat candidates standing on that [primary debate] stage making fools out of themselves.”

(Trump, Donald, R-Fla., U.S. president; news conference; White House; 2/26/2020.) (blaming Democrats’ Wednesday debate comments for the previous Monday-Tuesday market crash)

Last night President Trump took to the podium for only his second formal White House news conference. He stated the following, among other things:

— The coronavirus outbreak probably will not affect the U.S., which is “very, very ready” for it.

— The U.S. only has about 15 infected people (this is a lie; the U.S. has over 60 cases), most of them are recovering nicely, and soon we’ll be at zero.

— Mike Pence (someone with no public health experience, and even a negative record of reacting to the HIV outbreak while Indiana governor) will be placed in charge of coordinating the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

— The Democratic candidates’ Wednesday debate comments time-traveled to cause the stock market’s 2,000-point crash over the previous Monday and Tuesday.

Meanwhile the CDC speaks.

“It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen — and how many people in this country will have severe illness.”

(Messonnier, Nancy, MD, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases director, CDC; 2/25/2020.)

“We do expect more cases.”

(Schuchat, Anne, MD, CDC principal deputy director; news conference; White House; 2/26/2020.)

“It’s possible this could be an instance of community spread of COVID-19.”

(CDC media statement; 2/26/2020.)

Trump doesn’t own the CDC — yet.■

[Tom Ersin has been a full-time professional writer and editor since 2010 and holds degrees in communications and counseling. He’s a long-time political observer and has written a half-dozen nonfiction books on 21st century U.S. politics.] Click here to purchase book. Please leave a rating.