“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)

  • “ECONOMY: 10%, 2,352-Point Market Loss; Only 2nd Circuit Breaker Pause, Worst Loss, Since 1987 Black Monday; Market Largely Responding to Incompetent, Unpredictable U.S. Leadership” (3/12/2020)
  • “ECONOMY: U.S. to Institute $1.5 Trillion Bond Stimulus to Prop Up Economy” (3/12/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: MLB, NCAA, NHL, PGA, Broadway, et al. Shut Down Until Further Notice” (3/12/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Oval Office Address, Intended to Calm, Instead Freaked Markets, World Out; Address Poorly Planned, Executed, WH Had to Immediately Correct Errors: 1) Testing NOT Yet Available; 2) EU Cargo NOT Banned; 3) Ins. Companies WON’T Forgo Copays for Tx.; U.K. Travel Ban Exemption Makes No Sense (Suspected to Protect Trump U.K. Resorts); Trump Called It ‘foreign virus’” (3/12/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Trump Response Panned; GOP Senators to Pres.: Stop Lying About Testing” (3/12/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Trump, VP Pence Refuse to Be Tested for Virus Despite Multiple Exposures” (3/12/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Trump Declares Nat’l. Emergency, Weeks Late, Frees $40-$50B in Govt. Money; Takes No Responsibility for Test Kit Shortage; Claims Ignorance of 2018 Pandemic Team Firing” (3/13/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Trump Was Tested for Coronavirus, WH Spokeswoman Says He’s Negative” (3/15/2020)
  • “ECONOMY: Federal Reserve Cuts Rate to 0.0%; Some Experts Worry No Ammo Left” (3/15/2020)
  • “ECONOMY: Another Market Loss Record Set, 13% in One Day” (3/16/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: WH Press Conference: New Serious Guidelines: 10 or Fewer People to Congregate; Work From Home for Those Who Can; Avoid Travel, Going Out; No Relief Until July or Aug.; Trump Gives Self 10 of 10 for Handling of Crisis” (3/16/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Drastic Change in Trump Seriousness; Avoided Opportunities to Diss Opponents; but Later on Twitter, Slammed New York Times Coverage, Said Crisis Caused by ‘Chinese virus’” (3/16/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Trump Says, ‘What new seriousness? I always knew it was a pandemic, even before they were calling it a pandemic. I haven’t changed my approach.’” (3/16/2020)
  • “Dem Pres. Primaries: Biden Trounces Sanders in FL, IL, AZ; New Pressure for Bernie Exit” (3/17/2020)
  • “ECONOMY: Volatility, Losses Prompt Automatic Market Trading Suspension — Again” (3/18/2020)
  • “ECONOMY: Experts Say Recession Is Here; Fed Takes 7th Emergency Action This Week, Introducing Money Market Fund Industry Protection; Trump, Congress Preparing $1T Stimulus” (3/18/2020)
  • “ECONOMY: Markets Back to Inauguration Day Levels; 30-Day Decline Fastest in History” (3/18/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Trump Tries to Rebrand Self as ‘wartime president’ After Losing all Market Gains; Invokes Emergency ‘Defense Production Act,’ Though These Actions Are Weeks Late” (3/18/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: U.S. Dealing w/ Massive Medical PPE Shortage; Staff Fending for Themselves” (3/18/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: CDC, Health Experts Now Determine Millennials Just as Susceptible as Others” (3/18/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Italy Sets New Death Record: 300+ Daily Over Multiple Days; 475 Just Today” (3/18/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: U.S. Automakers Shut Down Production; U.S.-Canadian Border Closed” (3/18/2020)
  • “Delay-2020-Election-Due-to-Virus Rumors Swirling; On-Time Election Proponents Brace” (3/19/2020)
  • “Trump Facing Rising Calls to Stop Racism Resulting From Labeling ‘Chinese virus’” (3/19/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: U.S./World: 9,415/222,643 Cases; 150/9,115 Deaths; 7:55 a.m. EST” (3/19/2020)


The Boy Who Cried “No Wolf”

Regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic, President Trump is the boy who cried “No Wolf.”

For two months he’s played down the crisis consistently to calm the markets for self-serving purposes. He said there will be a “very good ending for us — that I can assure you.” He said the number of cases, “15, within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.” He said, “We’re finding very little problem, very little problem.” He reassured, “It’s starting to go in the other direction.” He fantasized, “One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”

And he politicized, saying the coronavirus story is the “Democrats’ new hoax.” He said the World Health Organization’s numbers are wrong and turned down its January offer of help with testing. He callously preferred to keep 21 infected — and thousands of in-danger-of-being-infected — Americans holed up on a virus-growing petri dish of a cruise ship anchored off San Francisco rather than be transferred home: “I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.”

Now that reality has slapped him upside the head and he’s realized he can’t tweet-intimidate a virus into submission with junior high school ad hominems, the boy has been forced to cry “Wolf!” Forced finally to get serious. Because the boy is supposed to be the leader of the free world. And because the wolf now is snarling at his feet, tearing away the boy’s chances for reelection. And the boy knows reelection loss equals presidential immunity loss equals multiple indictments slapped on him after Jan. 20, 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a dual-track story from the beginning. The first track is the fear and devastation of a plague the likes of which has not been seen in a century.

The second track is Donald Trump’s handling of the disease in this country — the corrupt and incompetent response of a piss-ant (an underrated ad hominem), pompous, maybe-billionaire who woke up one day to find himself an accidental president.

What He Said Before

“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.)

The Historical Rewrite

“This is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic. … No, I’ve always viewed it as very serious. There was no difference [in my tone] yesterday from days before. I feel the tone is similar, but some people said it wasn’t.”

(Trump, Donald, R-Fla., U.S. president; news conference; White House; 3/17/2020.)

“It’s a war. … [I’m] a wartime president.”

(Trump, Donald, R-Fla., U.S. president; news conference; White House; 3/18/2020.)

No Wait — “WOLF!”

Even Fox News and Breitbart have followed Trump’s lead in his 180-degree reversal on the seriousness of the pandemic, including his decision to “shut down” the country (i.e., urge national prevention guidelines, non-essential business closures, and shelter-at-home practices) for 15 days starting March 15. Of course they’ve also replicated the fawning derriere-kissing of Dear Leader’s vice president, Cabinet members, and aides in praising his “leadership” in the face of this now-crisis. Before now, they have one real thing to point to: Donald’s repeated claims that he presciently stopped travel to and from China six weeks ago in the face of widespread opposition; therefore he always took the virus “seriously.” But here’s the deal, folks (to channel Joe Biden): 1) There was little resistance to the travel ban; and 2) U.S. airlines already had announced a halt to China service.

The Buck-Passing

“Yeah, no, I don’t take responsibility at all [for the lack of testing kits] because we were given a set of circumstances and we were given rules, regulations, and specifications from a different time.”

(Trump, Donald, R-Fla., U.S. president; news conference; White House; 3/13/2020.)

[YAMICHE ALCINDOR (NPR):] “You did disband the White House pandemic office, and the officials that were working in that office left this administration abruptly. So what responsibility do you take to that, and — the officials that worked in that office said the White House lost valuable time because that office was disbanded. What do you make of that?”

[PRESIDENT TRUMP:] “Well, I just think it’s a nasty question, because … we saved thousands of lives because of the quick closing [of China travel]. And when you say ‘me,’ I didn’t do it. We have a group of people, I could ask perhaps, in my administration … because I don’t know anything about it. I mean, you say we did that, I don’t know anything about it. Disbanding, no, I don’t know anything about it.”

[YAMICHE ALCINDOR (NPR):] “You don’t know about the reorganization that happened at the National Security Council?”

[PRESIDENT TRUMP:] “It’s the administration, perhaps they do that, let people go. You used to be with a different newspaper than you are now, you know, things like that happen.”

(news conference; White House; 3/13/2020.) (Alcindor’s mic was cut during her next follow-up question)

The Piling On

Trump enablers and lemmings lament the “piling on” of presidential criticism from opponents at a time when we should all be coming together. You know — like the president has urged since Inauguration Day, for all Americans to “come together,” like The Beatles at their favorite ashram.

But it’s not piling on if the criticism is warranted. One need only peruse any credible media source over the past two months to understand the enormous failings of this administration in responding to the pandemic — let alone most other issues facing a presidency — while the president tries to blame his way out of responsibility.

“The Obama administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we’re doing, and we undid that decision a few days ago. … That was a decision we disagreed with. … But we’ve undone that decision.”

(Trump, Donald, R-Fla., U.S. president; meeting with airline executives; White House; 3/4/2020.)

“[E]xperts and laboratory trade organizations say there was no ‘decision [on testing],’ and they don’t know what Trump is referring to. ‘We aren’t sure what rule is being referenced,’ [said] Michelle Forman, a spokeswoman for the Association of Public Health Laboratories. … ‘[W]e are not aware of anything that changed.’”

(Wilkie, Christina & Mangan, Dan; “Trump Blames Obama for Lack of Coronavirus Tests: ‘I Don’t Take Responsibility at All’”; CNBC.com; 3/13/2020.)

Moreover the so-called piling on serves a legitimate purpose. Trump has not led. But he has been dragged to a position in which he must get serious about the crisis. For example he finally declared a national emergency this past Friday, which most experts say is several weeks too late. He would not be there yet without the full force of legitimate, accurate, deserved criticism. It only seems like a piling on because he’s performed so poorly.

Donald still hasn’t picked up the ball fully on vital medical hardware and personal protection equipment production, test kit production, test reporting, federal-state prevention guideline coordination, and message consistency. This is why the piling on needs to continue, to drag him toward some semblance of leadership and to call him out on the mendacious blame-shifting to hide his failings.

“If you go back to the swine flu, it was nothing like this, [the Obama administration] didn’t do testing like this, and they lost approximately 14,000 people. They started thinking about testing when it was far too late.”

(Ibid.; Trump; 3/13/2020.)

“The Obama administration tested 1 million people for H1N1 [flu] in the first month after the first U.S. diagnosed case. The first U.S. coronavirus case was 50+ days ago. And we haven’t even tested 10,000 people yet.”

(Klain, Ron, [Obama] Ebola response coordinator, 2014-2015; Twitter post; 3/12/2020.)

Some media sources, even so-called liberal ones, have held back on some of the criticism because of a sense of false equivalency, i.e., the assumption that both sides — Trump World and its critics — should get equal time and equal condemnation. But this is wrong. It’s simple: Trump should get more criticism, more condemnation because of his galactic ineptitude as a leader.

Sometimes failure and incompetence are not equal opportunity. 

The Delusional Chutzpah

“I’d rate it a 10.”

(Trump, Donald, R-Fla., U.S. president; news conference; White House; 3/16/2020.) (when asked how he would rate his response to the pandemic on a scale of 1 to 10)

[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.