After three long years with a reality TV host in the White House, many of us have become accustomed to rolling our eyes and moving on with our day in response to just about anything that the president has to say, or more likely, tweet.
This coping strategy helped us survive many baffling comments from the exalted one including when, during the wildfire season in November 2018, Trump claimed to have spoken with the President of Finland.
“I was with the president of Finland and he said: ‘We have, much different, we are a forest nation.’ He called it a forest nation. And they spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don’t have any problem,” Trump said.
Bemused Fins took to social media with jokes about the comments, but clarified that they had no basis in the reality of how Finland conducts its forest management. The incident prompted many amusing memes along with the slogan Make America Rake Again.
Then came Sharpiegate in August when Trump erroneously claimed that Hurricane Dorian was on a path toward the gulf and would hit Alabama. After the National Weather Service corrected the error in a tweet of its own, the White House released a video in which Trump pointed to an official weather chart dated Aug. 29 showing the states that could be hit in what the National Hurricane Center called the “cone of uncertainty.”
A curved line had been added to the cone on the chart to show a risk that Dorian could move from Florida to Alabama. All of this because the president didn’t want to admit his mistake.
In the past the president has stated that wind turbines cause cancer (wrong), Obama was born outside the United States (wrong again), that thanks to him the military was getting its first pay raise in 10 years (service members have received a pay raise every year since 1961), that he won the popular vote (good luck with that) and, in one of the most baffling of lies of thousands, he claimed that his father, Fred Trump, was born in Germany (he was born in New York City).
So naturally, at a certain point any sane person, or anyone trying to maintain what sanity they have left, would want to tune out the noise and many have.
In spite of the near constant stream of misinformation and contradictory statements coming from the White House, the country managed to rattle and hum along anyway, with the stock market boasting record profits. All seemed to be well enough, leading many to speculate as to just how much involvement the president even has with the operation of the country as a whole, while his supporters gleefully claimed victory over his ongoing scandals because the economy was still doing great.
Then came the coronavirus.
We have awoken in the midst of a dystopian nightmare — with millions of Americans unemployed, thousands dead and hundreds of thousands at risk of dying. We are in a whole different ball game and team America is losing. Badly.
Trump, predictably, has downplayed the severity of the problem, and after the administration delayed taking action for a whopping 70 days from the time it was first notified of the outbreak in China, it was already too late.
The Washington Post reported that during the time that it took from when U.S. officials first learned of the virus, Jan. 3, to the time it took for the Trump administration to initiate a travel ban on any non-U.S. citizens entering the U.S. from China, Jan 31, 300,000 people had already arrived.
His next tactic was to shift the blame to China for not swiftly cooperating with requests from the CDC about the virus and whether it was transmittable by human to human contact. China initially denied that it was. At the same time, Trump chose to refer to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” in an attempt to deflect further.
His next move was to tweet out, “So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!”
Flash forward a few weeks later and the country is in crisis.
Stocks have tumbled, businesses have closed, schools are closed, millions have become unemployed, the public has been told to shelter in place — in some cases under the threat of law. Not to mention that there aren’t enough masks nor enough testing kits.
Trump has now declared a war on the virus and has suggested that desperate Americans take a chance and try the anti-malaria medicine Hydroxychloroquine, which has not been FDA approved or tested for the treatment of the coronavirus and has resulted in one death here in the U.S. so far when a man who chose to take it as a pre-emptive measure to protect himself from the virus.
Americans are afraid and they need answers.
Many in the medical field particularly have come to terms with just how incompetent Trump’s leadership has been when it’s mattered most. Let’s just hope that come November his supporters vote with their brains and not their egos. If the last three years are any indication, even a pandemic can be labelled fake news.