“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)

  • “PANDEMIC: Trump Press Briefing: Bashes ‘dishonest fake media’; Local Detroit NBC-Affiliate Anchor, Who NEVER Gets Remotely Political, Slams Trump, Praises U.S. Journalists Doing Their Job” (3/26/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Trump Slams MI, WA Governors Who Criticized Him on Call; Trump Said Feds Are There to Back Up States; WA Gov. Says, ‘We don’t need a backup, we need a Tom Brady’” (3/26/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Major Problem: States, FEMA all Competing, Bidding Against Each Other for Supplies Because Trump Refuses to Implement National Coordinated Response, DPA” (3/26/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: U.S. Overtakes China in Confirmed Cases: 85,706 to 81,961; U.S. #1” (3/27/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: White House Identifies Detroit, Chicago as Emerging Hot Spots” (3/27/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Trump Disses, Mocks Govs. Inslee (D-WA), Whitmer (D-MI), Cuomo (D-NY); Doesn’t Believe Claims of Need, Tacitly Accuses Them of Lying, Hoarding; Tweet-Mocks Govs.” (3/27/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Trump Says He Told Virus Czar VP Pence Not to Call Govs. Inslee (D-WA) or ‘that woman, half-’ Whitmer (D-MI) Because They ‘don’t treat me right,’ ‘I want them to be appreciative’” (3/27/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Congress Passes $2.2T Relief Bill; Trump Invited No Dems to Signing; Trump Adds Signing Statement Not Recognizing Congress’ Role in Business Bailout Money Oversight” (3/27/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: 1 Rep., Tom Massie (R-NY), Forces In-Person Vote, Reaps Universal Disdain” (3/27/2020)
  • “ECONOMY: Dow Closes 927 Points Down; Market Still Fluctuating Wildly” (3/27/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Dr. Birx Jeopardizes Credibility, Praises Trump’s ‘data evaluation’ on CBN” (3/27/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Trump Wildly Floating Inconsistent, Conflicting Data, Recommendations” (3/28/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Trump Floats NY, NJ, CT Quarantine At Request of Ally Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Who Won’t Close Beaches, Spring Break; Trump Then Backs off, Causing Confusion, Outrage” (3/28/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Trump Partially Using DPA: GM to Produce Ventilators; GM Already There” (3/28/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Dr. Birx on MTP: Equivocates w/ Non-Answers to Avoid Contradicting Trump; Says States, Cities Need to Fend for Themselves, While Not Answering Why Trump Won’t Nationalize” (3/29/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: WH Extends Social Distancing Guidelines to April 30; Says Easter Goal Was ‘aspirational’; Criticism of Leadership, Science Wins Out; Experts Says Extension Likely to Go to May 31” (3/29/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Trump Insults White House Press Reporter Yamiche Alcindor, Again” (3/29/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Trump Obsessed w/ Briefing Ratings, Tweets Numbers Better Than ‘Bachelor’” (3/29/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Trump Plays Favorites w/ Govs.; Reward, Punishment Based on WH Praise” (3/30/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Trump Holds Another Outrageous, Lying Press Conference, Replacing Rallies” (3/30/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Govs. Call: Trump Lies, Says He Hasn’t Heard of Testing Problems in Weeks” (3/30/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Experts, Govs. Lament No Nat’l. Response; States, FEMA Compete w/ Selves” (3/30/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Trump Press Briefing: Features Favorite Obsequious CEOs; Fluffs a MyPillow; MyPillow Guy Gushes Over Trump, Says Americans Must Read Bible More” (3/30/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: After Come-to-Jesus Mtg. w/ Scientists, Trump Appears to Have Somber Conversion: Virus Extremely Serious; 100-240K Deaths in Best-Case Scenario; Experts Say Should Have Happened 4 Wks. Ago; Still, FL, Other GOP Govs. Won’t Order Stay-at-Home, Want ‘guidance’ From WH” (3/31/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Trump Press Briefing: Packed w/ Lies on Tests, Testing, Actions Taken, Blame” (3/31/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: FL, Other Recalcitrant States Finally Declare Statewide Stay-at-Home Orders; 11 States Still Refuse; WH Still Refuses Nat’l. Order, Contradicting Most Experts’ Recommendations, Pleas” (4/1/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Trump Still Refuses to Nationalize Pandemic Response; VP Pence Says Feds Continue Deferring to States; Meanwhile Hot Spots Grow; States, FEMA Compete for Supplies” (4/1/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: Pentagon Still Holding 2K Ventilators for Wks. Waiting for WH Direction” (4/1/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: National PPE Supply Stockpiles Almost Gone; WH Lies, Says all Is OK” (4/1/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: U.S. PPE Producers Still Exporting to Foreign Countries in Spite of Massive U.S. Shortages; Trump Refuses to Give Guidance, Fully Implement DPA, Favors Businesses Over Lives” (4/1/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: GA Gov. Finally Orders Stay-at-Home, Makes Astounding Admission: Didn’t Know Asymptomatic Carriers Could Transmit Virus Until Yesterday; CDC Announced Weeks Ago” (4/1/2020)
  • “ECONOMY: Staggering 10M People in U.S. File for Unemployment Ins. in Past 2 Weeks” (4/2/2020)
  • “PANDEMIC: U.S./World: 216,722/951,901 Cases; 5,137/48,284 Deaths; 7:47 a.m. EST” (4/2/2020)


COVID-19 Deaths

2/06/2020 — U.S.: 1   |   World: 2,976
3/05/2020 — U.S.: 12   |   World: 3,293
3/12/2020 — U.S.: 38   |   World: 4,717
3/19/2020 — U.S.: 150   |   World: 9,115
3/26/2020 — U.S.: 1,046   |   World: 22,030
4/02/2020 — U.S.: 5,137   |   World: 48,284

(COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University; approximately 8 a.m. each day)


[JONATHAN KARL (ABC):] “[A]re you able to guarantee, to assure these states, these hospitals that everybody who needs a ventilator will get a ventilator?”

[PRESIDENT TRUMP:] “Here’s what I will tell you. We are in good shape. I think we are in great shape. I think that number one, we have distributed — ventilators are a big deal, we are distributing vast numbers and we are in great shape.”

[JONATHAN KARL (ABC):] “So everyone that needs one will be able to get a ventilator?”

[PRESIDENT TRUMP:] “Don’t be a cutie pie. Everyone who needs one — Nobody has done what we have been able to do, and everything that I took over was a mess. It was a broken country in so many ways. In so many ways other than this. We had a bad testing system. We had a bad stockpile system, we had nothing in the stockpile system. So I would not tell me what you’re telling me, like, being a wise guy.”

(press briefing; White House; 3/27/2020.)

President Trump learned a new term this week. No, not cutie pie. He learned the word aspirational. We know this is a new word for him because we can find no one who ever has heard him use it before. But his aides and media gurus floated the word in the days before his open-by-Easter-retraction press briefing March 29, and they prompted him to say aspirational several more times Sunday for good measure.

History of Aspirational

“We’re opening up this incredible country because we have to do that. … [Easter]’s such an important day for other reasons, but I’d love to make it an important day for this. …  [I want the nation] opened up and just raring to go by Easter.”

(Trump, Donald, R-Fla., U.S. president; Fox News; 3/24/2020.)

“More than 800,000 doctors across the United States sent a letter to President Donald Trump, urging him to reinforce social distancing after he suggested the economy could reopen by Easter. … [The doctors said, ‘This could] gravely jeopardize the health of all Americans.’ … [T]hey said medical staff are risking their lives to treat coronavirus patients and ask that the Trump administration support ‘science-based recommendations’ on social distancing.”

(Edmonds, Lauren & Griffith, Keith; “More Than 800,000 Doctors Plead With Trump NOT to Reopen the Country by Easter Because It Will ‘Gravely Jeopardize the Health of All Americans’”; Daily Mail; 3/28/2020.)

After pushing for an Easter Sunday (April 12) reopening, to “get our country back to work,” the president finally had to back down. In the week or so before his March 29 back-down presser, Trump came as close as he could to telegraphing the Easter reopening without guaranteeing it. His business buddies had gotten to him, leading him to favor the economy (read: profits).

But then science went where it never had gone before: into the black hole of Donald’s consciousness. The doctors of his coronavirus response team showed him numerical projections (read: political truths) that even he could not spin or tweet-attack away: If he did not get serious about the pandemic now, untold higher numbers of Americans would die and he would be blamed (i.e., not reelected). So President Trump extended his administration’s virus-prevention guidelines and shutdown (non-essential business closures, shelter-at-home directives) for another month to April 30.

But to rewrite the history of his incessant Easter projection — and the folly and colossal irresponsibility of it — the White House came up with aspirational. As I said, his advisers started tossing the word around in the days before the president debuted it, either to influence him through his favorite reference source — TV — or to provide him a soft landing after he finally had agreed to rescind the happy talk of churches filled on Easter.

“Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow says President Donald Trump’s hopes to reopen the country by Easter was an ‘aspirational target,’ and insisted the president would not rush efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus.”

(Reyner, Solange; “Kudlow Calls Trump’s Easter Timeline an ‘Aspirational Target’”; NewsMax; 3/25/2020.)

“Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said President Donald Trump’s recent calls for the nation to ‘open up’ again by Easter were ‘aspirational,’ saying now was ‘no time to pull back’ as COVID-19 continues to spread around the country.”

(Visser, Nick; “Fauci Says Trump’s Call for Country to Open Up by Easter Is ‘Aspirational’”; HuffPost; 3/27/2020.)

“The president expressed really an aspirational goal as we continue to follow the data.”

(Pence, Mike, R-Ind.; U.S. vice president; CNBC; 3/27/2020.)

Then finally the man, himself:

“Trump rejected on Sunday that publicly setting the Easter timeline was a mistake, calling it ‘aspirational.’ ‘No, that was aspirational,’ he said. ‘We had an aspiration of Easter, but when you hear these kinds of numbers and you hear the potential travesty, we don’t want to do anything where — we don’t want to have a spike up.’”

(Samuels, Brett & Chalfant, Morgan; “Trump Shifts, Says Distancing to Go to April 30”; The Hill; 3/29/2020.)

Aspirational or incomprehensible, pushing this false hope encouraged Americans to drop their guard, especially MAGA supporters who already believe the pandemic has been overblown to hurt Trump. Dropping their guard translates to increased cases and deaths — and not just in MAGA supporters. There’s no legitimate defense for the president’s corrupt leadership and decision-making.

Sorry Truth

“The idea that Easter was simply aspirational is politically convenient — the president doesn’t want to be seen as backing down — but difficult to take seriously. After touting the holiday target date nearly a week ago, Trump had multiple opportunities to downplay its significance. He did largely the opposite. It’s unfortunate that at this point in the crisis, what passes for good news is when the president comes up with a ridiculous idea and then abandons it.”

(Benen, Steve; “Retreating From Easter Deadline, Trump Extends Distancing Guidelines”; MSNBC.com; 3/30/2020.)

Aspirational Redux

Just for fun, an aspirational blast from the past:

“Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Wednesday acknowledged that her stated belief that President Trump had learned a lesson from impeachment was ‘aspirational,’ saying that she ‘may not be correct on that.’”

(Wise, Justin; “Collins Admits Comments About Trump Learning a Lesson Are ‘Aspirational’”; The Hill; 2/6/2020.)

Never Forget

“There was good news and bad news emanating from the White House on Sunday. First, the bad news: a deadly pandemic is apparently gaining steam and killing more Americans. The good news? The ratings for President Donald Trump’s near-daily briefings are beating The Bachelor and Monday Night Football, at least according to a boastful series of tweets from the commander in chief.

“[Trump tweeted,] ‘Because the “Ratings” of my News Conferences etc. are so high, “Bachelor finale, Monday Night Football type numbers” according to the @nytimes, the Lamestream Media is going CRAZY. “Trump is reaching too many people, we must stop him.” said one lunatic. See you at 5:00 P.M.! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2020’”

(Haring, Bruce; “White House COVID-19 Briefings Are Beating ‘The Bachelor’ in Ratings, President Trump Boasts”; Deadline.com; 3/29/2020.)

So his television ratings are way up.

President Trump continues to favor business and political expediency over human life. This is not hyperbole. He refuses to nationalize fully the pandemic response because it hurts industry, contradicts GOP states’ rights dogma, and presents the risk of the dreaded “socialism” label being turned back on him. He refuses to issue a national stay-at-home order and fully implement the Defense Production Act — compelling U.S. companies to manufacture desperately needed PPE and ventilators — for the same reasons. He has dragged his presidential feet on implementing widespread testing, for which experts have begged, because he wants to keep his numbers down: Fewer tests mean fewer cases counted.

But his TV ratings are up.

Don’t ever forget the smallness of this president — the smallness of his intellect, his judgment, his integrity. This small, incompetent, corrupt man is costing American lives.■

[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.