Trump’s pandemic press conferences are pointless

When Trump announced that he was going to restart the daily coronavirus press conferences, I assumed that it would include the scientific and medical members such as Anthony Fauci, Deborah Birx, and the head of the CDC Robert Redfield. But no. Trump has decided to do them solo. Trump does not even include lackeys like the secretary of health and human services Alex Azar or Mike Pence, the head of the Task Force.

So basically these press conferences are a waste of time because Trump is ignorant and never has anything useful to say but will just ramble and issue statements that are useless at best and dangerously misleading at worst. Trump is just starved for attention and is no doubt hoping that he can reverse the beating he is taking in the polls on his handling of the pandemic and can be seen as more authoritative than Fauci behind whom he lags woefully in the polls in terms of being trustworthy about the issue. Trump is clearly irritated by this and is being peevish.

At Tuesday’s briefing, Mr Trump questioned why Dr Fauci and his fellow task force member Dr Deborah Birx were popular, but his administration is not.

“He’s got this high approval rating, so why don’t I have a high approval rating with respect – and this administration – with respect to this virus?

He added: “And yet, they’re highly thought of but nobody likes me. It can only be my personality, that’s all.”

His personality? Since Trump does not do self-deprecation and thinks he is like Mary Poppins in being “practically perfect in every way” I can only assume that he was being sarcastic.

He used one of these conferences to again bring up his favorite treatment of hydroxychloroquine. One wonders why he does not go the whole hog and bring with him to the podium a big proponent of it, someone by the name of Stella Immanuel, a member of a group known as America’s Frontline Doctors. So what do we know about Dr. Immanuel?

The video featuring the eccentric Dr. Stella Immanuel, who claimed that the controversial anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine was a “cure” for Covid-19 and that masks aren’t necessary, was pulled from the platforms for sharing misinformation about the disease. Twitter also briefly locked the Twitter account of the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., when he tweeted the video and called it a “must watch!!!”

The viral video, which racked up more than 13 million views on Facebook, drew more attention to some of Immanuel’s more bizarre previous medical claims. The Daily Beast reported Tuesday that Immanuel has claimed in the past that some gynecological ailments are caused by people having sex in a dream-world with demons, with the demonic semen as the origins of the afflictions.

Immanuel has also claimed that doctors used alien DNA in medical treatments, and that lizard-like “reptilian” aliens are involved in the United States government. Immanuel has also refused to provide proof of her claim that she’s cured hundreds of Covid-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine.

Earlier in the day at another White Coat Summit event, Immanuel slammed “professional hacks” in medicine who have criticized the use of hydroxychloroquine. But she saved special vitriol for doctors who refuse to prescribe the drug because they’re supposedly afraid of professional consequences, calling them “good Germans” — a reference to Germans after World War II who claimed they had never supported the Nazis.

“You’re no different than a murderer,” Immanuel said. “You’re no different than Hitler.”

So naturally Trump, his idiot son Donald Jr., and their followers such as the Tea Party Patriots, have praised her because what’s not to like about someone who spouts crackpot theories?

President Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr were among social media users who shared video late on Monday of a group called America’s Frontline Doctors advocating hydroxychloroquine as a Covid-19 treatment.

The president said on Tuesday: “I think they’re very respected doctors. There was a woman who was spectacular in her statements about it.”

‘Spectacular’ is the right word. So is nutty.


  1. Owlmirror says

    They are great opportunities for him to look and act stupid.

    Trump has had many many opportunities to do exactly that, and it doesn’t always hurt him with his base.

    If an obviously stupid action causes a person’s supporters to rally around them and announce that it’s a wonderful example of a 5-dimensional chess gambit (or whatever hyperbolic metaphor they dream up), was it ever really a mistake?

  2. raven says

    Ironically, Trump could have easily been the hero of the successful American response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
    All he had to do is be the front person and let the real experts at the CDC and NIH run the programs.
    Which is what all the leaders in the First World did anyway and it worked.

    A cardboard cutout could have done that.

  3. Allison says

    Trump’s pandemic press conferences are pointless

    How about telling us something we didn’t already know months ago?

  4. Owlmirror says

    @blf: I should have written “doesn’t usually hurt him”.

    “After four years of tumult, there are signs Trump hasn’t been able to hang on to college-educated white women” — four years of him doing and saying stupid and/or horrible things, and they’re pondering maybe dropping him now? And the men are still crowing about 5-dimensional Plutonian steam hockey gambits?

    Feh. I am deeply disturbed by a large fraction of the US populace.

  5. jenorafeuer says

    As another blog I follow has noted (and as raven and abbeycadabra above have mentioned), disasters are often good things for political leaders: all they have to do stand there and be a symbol to rally around while letting the people trained for emergencies do their jobs. Right-wing and populist governments in many countries have seen surges of support. This is true even if the government’s previous policies had contributed to making the situation worse than it needed to be. (See, for example, Doug Ford here in Ontario, who had recently rearranged the entire health care system into separate districts to ‘reduce overhead’, meaning merging a lot of administrative centres together, resulting in not only the general problem of having fewer people who knew what was going on and each handling a larger area, but because this had only just happened a lot of the people overseeing things were completely unfamiliar with the places they were overseeing.)

    So horrible but at least moderately competent people have actually done quite well from the pandemic. Trump meets the first criteria, but he’s not even familiar with the second.

  6. Jazzlet says

    From a comment on another blog talking about Dr Stella Immanuel

    “Stella (age 55) is wrong about her own experience in Nigeria.
    …Perhaps she misspoke?

    The main quinolone used in Africa (west, east, central and southern) for uncomplicated malaria was Chloroquine. Although hydroxychloroquine was licensed for malaria, it was seldom used for that purpose.
    Another factor is that in the 1980s chloroquine-resistant strains of malaria finally reached West Africa.
    This meant that malaria was no longer responsive to the quinolones, and alternative drugs needed to be used, completely displacing chloroquine (and HCQ) from the therapeutic armoury.
    Stella would have been in her late teens then, ie not even at medical school. Her bio says she graduated in 1990.
    If she prescribed hydroxy/chloroquine for her falciparum patients in the 1990s, she was criminally negligent and likely responsible for a number of deaths (without treatment there is a 30% mortality).”

  7. lanir says

    @1 Marcus:

    I think there is some potential for the way he’s arranged this new round of press conferences to go well for him.

    I feel like this is the willful ignorance and stupidity version of “If a tree falls in a forest…” at this point. If someone says something stupid about doing something stupid in a place dominated by the stupid will their stupid yapping stand out enough to get noticed? I mean yeah, it will a little because he invited some press there and someone will look at the transcript and wonder WTF is wrong with him. But it otherwise sounds like he’s setup a situation where he blends in.*

    * Caveat: I’m going by description here. I don’t get paid to watch this stuff and I know I’ll never get that time back. If I wanted to take an extended foray into someone else’s wild flights of fancy I’d read a fantasy novel. Because the authors can read. And construct sentences.

  8. blf says

    “After four years of tumult, there are signs Trump hasn’t been able to hang on to college-educated white women” — four years of him doing and saying stupid and/or horrible things, and they’re pondering maybe dropping him now?

    Your interpretation of the hook-line. Try actually reading the entire linked-to article. Some of the interviewed people decided shortly after he was elected, some are actively campaigning against him, some are running for office themselves, and so on. Some of the interviewed people admit not being too informed about hair furor last time around, or engaging in wishful thinking. The question is how representative the interviewed people are in general; that means interpreting polling results and other tea leafs, hence the uncertainty.

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