Meme of the week: “Wash your hands like you just shook hands with Trump.”
Donald Trump says he washes his hands constantly. Since little of what he’s ever said can be believed, take that claim to the Dumpster and dowse it in bleach.
Trump has comported himself in the midst of the coronavirus emergency like a beer-fueled football fan. He kvetches about the refs (Centers for Disease Control). He cheers for only his side. Scandalously, the only score he sees is the Dow Jones average. It’s all a game.
He is proving as much the problem as any remedy.
As the Washington Post says, in an analysis of how our government is serving the public:
"Public health experts have found their messages undercut, drowned out and muddled by the president's push to downplay the outbreak with a mix of optimism, bombast and pseudoscience."
So typical: While overstating the number of test kits available to states, Trump said the slow response in availing test kits for the virus is Barack Obama’s fault.
Not even close. Obama did nothing to gum up testing. His response to the Ebola virus, for instance, was widely praised as nimble and wise. And truthful.
With Trump’s kind of leadership, of course we are awash in bad information – so bad that while the World Health Organization fights the actual germ, it has a web site to confront the “infodemic” of contaminated claims.
As a WHO official said, bad information is spreading faster than the virus.
But, of course, ever since we elected a 280-character phenom president, we’ve been swimming in an infodemic of misspelled words.
Trump trundles out falsehoods like China produces bric-a-brac.
At a Fox News-hosted town hall in Scranton, Pa., on subjects ranging from the virus to Afghanistan to North Korea to the border wall, factcheck.org detailed 10 false or misleading claims
This is a moment when a leader could really use a degree of trust by the populace. But credibility has never been Trump’s calling card. However, he excels at yelling lies into his microphone while people standing behind him scream approval for the camera on cue.
As pertains to the health crisis, he has politicized every matter and attempted to deflect every challenge to his actions as president.
He told a rally crowd the threat of the virus was Democrats’ “new hoax.” But of course COVID-19 is no hoax. The question is the extent to which Trump treated it as such.
In the last few days the stock market has swooned, even when the Federal Reserve Board cut the benchmark for lending, as Trump screamed for it to do.
The economy is slowing down with such harbingers as the cancellation of Austin’s South by Southwest festival and health concerns gripping travelers.
As this happens, expect loud protestations from Trump about the bad break that has befallen the fragile slice of relative prosperity he claims as his own.
You’ll never hear Trump credit Obama for what was done to address the Great Recession that greeted the latter’s presidency. You’ll just hear the Big Lie that anything positive was all Trump’s doing, not the truth that he is riding a recovery that came from Obama’s toil.
Just one more falsehood in an info-sea of them.
Unforeseen bad breaks visit every presidency. The delineation between presidents is how they handle misfortune.
Trump can’t handle what has arrived by way of this dangerous virus. He’s a show pony who does his best work with his texting hand. He now faces a test where “show” doesn’t count. Lives are on the line.
Lives, yes — but, geeze, what about the stock market?
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.