Reporter’s were stunned when at Friday’s White House coronavirus Task Force briefing, where Trump usually rambles on for a couple of hours spewing lies and dangerous nonsense, he and Pence left after making a few comments without taking any questions. The briefing was over in less than 30 minutes. One report says Trump had been told by his advisors that his popularity is going down and that these briefings may be the cause.
I don’t believe it. Like pretty much most things put out by Trump and the White House, it is very likely a lie. While that is the only kind of advice he cares about and listens to, I suspect the polls story is being put out as a cover, to squash the idea that he was too cowardly to face the press after his previous day’s performance. I think his abrupt departure is very likely because he was smarting from all the criticisms he received for his insane suggestion that people inject themselves with bleach or other disinfectants or find a way to get UV light into their bodies. He likely knew that he would be questioned about where he got those crazy ideas and why he thought it was worth sharing them with the entire world.
There is a small possibility that this may be a tipping point, when the scales fall from the eyes of even some of his ardent supporters, at least among those who know that injecting bleach is a recipe for disaster, and they finally realize what the rest of us have long known, that the man is a dangerous idiot who should not be anywhere near the levers of power.
White House coronavirus taskforce briefings are often two-hour primetime marathons but on Friday Trump turned on his heel as reporters shouted questions in vain. Perhaps it was a fit of pique, or perhaps revenge on the reporters that he sees as persecutors. He may also have reached a tipping point with his own advisers warning that the televised briefings are hurting him far more than they help.
The abrupt end of Friday night’s daily press conference, which has become a ribald, unruly and often shocking ritual in America during the coronavirus pandemic, was probably the clearest sign yet of how badly Trump’s bizarre statements over disinfectant have shaken his administration.
Instead of going on the offensive after the world reacted with shock and horror to his Thursday night suggestion that the coronavirus might be treated by injecting disinfectant into a human body, Trump claimed he was being “sarcastic” and then retreated from public view.
The New York Times reported that some officials in the White House thought “it was one of the worst days in one of the worst weeks of his presidency.”
But it was Trump’s silence on Friday night that spoke volumes.
Trevor Noah says that Trump’s resemblance to authoritarian leaders in Africa is remarkable. Note that this is back from 2015 when he was running for office. It has the added benefit of Republicans who now grovelingly praise him then ridiculing Trump as utterly unfit to be president.
Great, then it should be an easy campaign for the Democratic challenger, *checks notes* … oh shit.
Which dictator? Idiot Amin, Hosni Barbaric, or Muammar Khadaffyduck? More likely, P. W. Botha.
I noticed what Noah said at 6:38 about “being careful what you say” about dictators. Duterte (who ordered the mass murder of drug dealers in the Philippines) is demanding Taiwan repatriate a Filipina citizen for what she said online. I have searched thoroughly and no media has repeated or hinted at her words. If they were threats or incitements of violence, it would have been reported. Instead, Duterte whines that she “insulted the presidency”, a clear sign that only his ego was hurt.
There’s nothing less majestic than “lese majeste” laws.
Anyone who discusses Trump with others would be well advised not to take this line…
> when the scales fall from the eyes of even some of his ardent supporters,
> at least among those who know that injecting bleach is a recipe for disaster,
> and they finally realize what the rest of us have long known,
> that the man is a dangerous idiot who should not be anywhere near the levers of power.
A more effective line (less likely to alienate people by implying they’ve been stupid) would be to argue this shows Trump is no longer worth the expense for what he offered that they liked.
It’s perfectly possible for people to have viscerally supported Trump ignoring his flaws and now be persuadable about not supporting him if that isn’t questioned, their judgement not insulted, but by highlighting how such a judgement might no longer stand.
Sam N says
I guess we should just be thankful no one told Trump that nuclear explosions also very effectively eradicate viruses…
John Morales says
Hm. What if realising Trump is “no longer” worth the expense entails realising that they’ve been stupid hitherto?
It’s not like he’s somehow more worthless, is it? Circumstances may have changed, but he hasn’t.
Sam N says
I don’t know, John Morales. Look, I recognized Trump was a blowhard, but I truly liked his isolationist (i.e., let’s stop murdering people so overpaid contractors get to rob taxpayers and live cushy lives). I liked his attacks on the FBI.
Problem is, he doesn’t dislike either. He just wants sycophants in charge of their corrupt budgets, became obvious by firing Comey instead of issuing budget cuts and changing the directives, and when he just blankly increased pentagon discretionary spending by like $80 billion with no justification.
Despite voting for the lesser of two evils (Clinton, and I very well may not for Biden who is cut from the same cloth), I would have tolerated his vile racism if he had done anything to dismantle our corrupt military and spy spending. You could say it was obvious he would always just work to co-opt the swamp, and I would agree regarding environmental protection. I had a tiny glimmer of hope he might do some good along with the harm, but that was snuffed out within a month.
Sam N says
I’m just saying, there were good populist things Trump said that may have encouraged people to vote for him, especially given how reviled Clinton was (for the wrong reasons, but whatever, I’ll take it).
Now that he has a political record, including massive failure in the face of a crisis, I don’t think he will have nearly so smooth sailing with some who might have found his populist tone refreshing and liked the anti-globalist immigration shtick. Which is to say stupidity and personal gain weren’t necessarily the only reasons one could have had to vote for the guy.
John Morales says
Sam, I do appreciate your viewpoint. But…
Didn’t he increase military spending by heaps and created the… Space Force?
Maybe not in 2016.
But now? Come on.
Sam N @6,7
If you believed anything Trump promised could be taken seriously, or that he would cut military spending, or was anything other than a threat to women, minorities and democracy, you were indeed, stupid.
Sam N says
I had a glimmer of hope. I voted for his opponent, a vote that made me sick.
I guess you’re not talking about me. I’d describe a certain, probably unfortunately small, segment as ignorant rather than stupid.
Sam N says
@8 As for my dislike of the FBI, it’s far from the most corrupt organization, in fact, rather than abolishing it, I think it merely needs to be reformed with more clear and fast oversight. But it preys upon the same weaknesses of all ‘protective’ institutions in claiming decisions must be hidden from public for extraordinary amounts of time. James Comey was a political hack that deserved to be axed. It’s history is far, far more vile, and what I don’t know about it worries me. More transparency needed. The institution should be attacked, for the right reasons. But Trump weakening it could have made later reform possible… I’m not sure how his presidency could have turned out worse, nuclear war maybe? He might still do that…