“The most outrageous lies are the ones about Covid 19,” read the Monday morning retweet on Donald Trump’s Twitter page. “Everyone is lying. The CDC, Media, Democrats, our Doctors, not all but most that we are told to trust. I think it’s all about the election and keeping the economy from coming back, which is about the election. I’m sick of it.”
Who was the original author of this since-deleted retweet? Why, none other than Chuck Woolery, the world-renowned epidemiologist, noted virologist and esteemed man of science… wait, no, you mean it was that Chuck Woolery? The game show host turned dunderheaded right-wing YouTube yowler?
Yeah, that Chuck Woolery. Trump retweeted and subsequently deleted the former host of The Dating Game’s deep thoughts on how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is lying about COVID-19 to mess with Trump’s reelection chances. Pro tip, Chuck: Trump doesn’t need help from the CDC to mangle his campaign. He’s doing a bang-up job of that all by his lonesome.
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Sure, “Media, Democrats, our Doctors, not all but most that we are told to trust” were thrown onto the Don/Chuck/Twitter tire fire this morning, but the CDC and science were the main target for Trump’s retweeted and deleted ire. Science is pissing Trump off these days, you see.
Specifically, science in the guise of Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and ongoing White House hostage. As Fauci and the world have watched in horror as Trump’s brazen malfeasance turns hospitals in the South and West inside out with tens of thousands of new daily infections, Fauci the scientist overcame the quieting inertia of Fauci the newbie politician, and the president did not like the sound of it.
After the White House stifled Fauci’s media opportunities for fear he might criticize Trump or intimate that bad things are actually happening, Fauci late last week gave the kindest, softest, friendliest criticism ever proffered regarding the nation’s blighted pandemic response.
“Well, let me say there are parts of the United States, like where you live right now [in New York], that are doing really well, that you’ve been through something really bad and you have things under control,” Fauci told the FiveThirtyEight podcast on Thursday. “And you have a governor and mayor in the city who understand what it means to go by the guidelines for the gateway, phase one, phase two, phase three. So you’re doing well. Other cities are doing well. But as a country, when you compare us to other countries, I don’t think you can say we’re doing great. I mean, we’re just not.”
Pretty straightforward, right? All true, that statement, and worthy of criticism itself for being too easy about the situation given the skyrocketing infection rate and growing death toll. For Trump, however, this gentle critique was the equivalent of a brass-knuckle punch to his glass-jaw ego.
First of all, praise of Democratic stronghold New York City — where activists just painted a giant “Black Lives Matter” mural on the street in front of Trump Tower, and whose district attorney is about to take a bath in Trump’s long-hidden financial documents — is not acceptable.
Trump’s own former home town is now a “hellhole,” according to him. Fauci’s praise for the city’s laudable handling of the pandemic to date, which could be mirrored across the rest of this afflicted nation with the aid of responsible leadership, is — according to Trump — tantamount to an attack on Trump himself.
More pointedly, though, is the fact that Fauci represents science, and science is politically inconvenient for this president. After Fauci gave those remarks last week, the White House circulated a document seeking to discredit him and his work. Let that sink in: The White House fired off an opposition memo attacking Fauci, their hood ornament virus expert, in the middle of a pandemic that is eating half the country alive.
Trump put a mask on this weekend while visiting the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and that is nothing but a good thing. Four months and thousands of dead people late, to be sure, but this had to happen and now it has.
Trump’s devout supporters, who joined him in shunning masks for all that time, now suddenly believe masks are the hot new item and cheered their man on for his bold move. If masks become a fad in Trump’s strongholds in the South and West, nobody will be happier than I, because it will save lives.
Yet behind that mask, Trump slanders Fauci, and science, and anyone who dares to say his reaction to the pandemic has been anything other than flawless. He retweets human clown shows like Woolery, and thus by proxy calls the CDC, most doctors and all Democrats liars.
In doing so, Trump empowers and elevates astonishingly incorrect statements like the one he retweeted by Woolery, and the one proffered on Thursday by Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas. “We still don’t know whether children can get it and transmit it to others,” Cornyn said of COVID-19. On that very same day, Cornyn’s own state reported more than 550 COVID infections in children under the age of nine.
As we barrel heedlessly and with no preparation toward a potentially catastrophic back-to-school deadline next month, the fact that so many children are getting infected flies directly in the face of all the happy talk about children being unlikely to catch and spread the virus. Cornyn’s shameless denial of black-letter fact is pure Trump, exactly what the president wants to hear and right in line with what he’s been peddling, and it is getting people killed, again.
I have reached a saturation point with this shit spigot of a president. Everything Trump does is more than merely wrong and cruel. He is actively dangerous to the basic well-being of millions. He attacked his own citizens using soldiers so he could flap a Bible at the cameras, made overt racism his campaign platform, commuted the prison sentence of the execrable Roger Stone in an orgiastic act of corrupt cronyism and pulled out of the World Health Organization in the throat of a pandemic. Meanwhile Trump holds political rallies that serve as superspreaders for that pandemic, and discredits the very science that could — if applied — bring this fiasco under control and save lives.
More than 135,000 people are dead now. This is all only since March. It’s a much-abridged list, and the lies are nowhere near stopping.
Enjoy your summer if you can; because of Trump and his mealy-mouthed minions, the coming months will be the stuff of nightmares. If the well-known behavior of COVID holds true into the fall, which it almost certainly will, we will see more than 100,000 new infections a day (as Fauci warned) and a ruthlessly spiking death toll that could well include our children. Say something then, Chuck. I dare you.