Trump Always Knew

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

In a series of pressers by the Corona Task Force that he felt he could best handle himself Trump’s opinion about the threat seemed to evolve but ultimately stayed the same.  Last Friday he criticized the CDC and Obama’s administration for changes in the testing protocol that according to him made testing harder, and said that the response to the swine flu virus in 2009 had been a disaster.  Changes that had been proposed at the time, however, were never implemented, and although 60 million Americans got sick and 12 thousand died, tests were shipped out two weeks after the first case had been reported and many lives were saved.  When asked if he accepted any responsibility for the lag in testing for the corona virus the president said ‘no, because we met a specific set of circumstances,’ which of course is always the case.  Asked about the disbanding of the pandemic response unit at the NSC Trump said that he didn’t do it and knew nothing about it, asked Dr. Fauci if he knew who did it and then said someone in the administration was responsible.  The microphones of the female reporters who had asked those two questions were shut off.

On Friday the president announced that by Sunday Google would have a website up and running for individual diagnostics, but it soon became clear that that project, initiated by Jared Kushner, who from the beginning had advised Trump to treat the crisis as a PR problem, was not going to work.   At Sunday’s presser the president said that he was ‘very happy’ with the Fed’s decision to cut interest rates, and on Monday he finally seemed to be taking the threat more seriously, giving many pundits hope that from now on we would see a different Trump, although the president also gave himself a ‘10’ for the way he had handled the crisis thus far and lied that he had only known about the virus for one month, while he had been briefed in Davos two months earlier.  Also on Monday Trump told the Governors of all states during a conference call that they were on their own where it came to securing medical supplies, ventilators and respirators.   He was back to his old tricks on Tuesday, talking about a ‘pent-up economy’ that would bloom after the crisis, and said that he always knew it was a pandemic, even before ‘they’ were talking about it.

The latter statement confounded observers who had heard Trump initially say that the virus was a ‘hoax’ and a Democratic plot against his presidency, but the president was not done.  He asked to put politics aside, but later attacked the Governors of New York and Michigan on Twitter.  When asked why the WHO test had not been used Trump gave the floor to Dr. Birx, who painstakingly tried not to lie by talking about an unnamed test that showed false positives and therefore could not be used, knowing that that was the CDC test.  The president happily adopted her non-answer.

At following pressers, each of which featured an obscene amount of brownnosing by Mike Pence and totally misplaced self-congratulations, Trump mostly limited himself to propaganda about a ‘very exciting great victory’ and a ‘big celebration’ after the economy would start growing again.  Instead of using his Twitter account with 74.4 million followers for giving his base useful directions on how to protect themselves and others it was cluttered with hollow pep talk as well.

When asked why he uses the racist term ‘Chinese virus’ the president simply said ‘because it comes from China,’ and his answer to the question why the well connected get tested first was ‘it’s the story of life.’  Yesterday Trump called himself a ‘wartime president,’ probably hoping that he would be compared with FDR, but he forgot that Roosevelt saw fascism coming and was prepared.

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