Definitely not a Docta

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

Occasionally Donald Trump barks, with a heavy Queens accent, ‘I’m not a docta,’ followed by ‘but I am, you know, a pretty smart guy.’  On those occasions the president is speculating – or in Dr. Birx’s terms ‘having a dialogue’- about a medical issue he doesn’t understand the first thing about.  Last Thursday Trump brought a scientist from the Department of Homeland Security to his daily presser, who explained how sun- and UV light, but also disinfectants, can make the corona virus rapidly disappear from various surfaces.   Eager to re-open the economy and win the November election the president suggested that somehow bringing UV light into the human body or injecting it with a disinfectant might take care of COVID-19.  His words were directed at Dr. Birx, who didn’t respond but slowly turned ash grey, and triggered such a negative public response that on Twitter Trump had to come up with the falsehood that he had only been sarcastic.  Later reporting showed that for quite some time producers of disinfectants have been peddling their products as useful in fighting COVID infections and might have inspired the president.

As a result of his potentially deadly suggestion Trump didn’t take questions at his Friday presser, and the next two days no press conferences were held.  Instead the president vented his anger at a New York Times article that described how he spends the mornings in his bedroom watching TV, eating hamburgers and drinking diet coke, and doesn’t get into the Oval Office until noon.   He defended himself by claiming that he works from early in the morning until late at night, which is unlikely since he tweets about morning news shows in real time.  In his fury Trump had to correct the word ‘hamberger’ in one tweet and wrote about a ‘Noble’ prize for journalism in another, later claiming that this too had been an expression of his sarcastic creativity.  More serious than the NY Times’s reporting was a Washington Post article that detailed how through January and February the president had received more than twelve warnings about the corona pandemic in his daily intelligence briefings, of which he never reads the material, precisely when he was claiming that the virus was a hoax and there were only five infections in the US.

Clearly it was time for a reset in the White House, and the news trickled out that there would be fewer press conferences and that Trump’s criticism would no longer be directed at the states but only at China.  A possible Monday presser was on, then off, and finally on again, as it was clear that the president could not let go of this platform, no matter how much it hurts his approval ratings.  In his introductory remarks Trump mysteriously declared that the pandemic had been ‘unnecessary’ but that ‘someone long ago’ had decided that it was going to occur.

Subsequently, without giving us a clue whether that someone was a Chinese functionary or maybe Obama, the president introduced executives of large pharmacy chains and testing labs,  who all declared that they are going to do a hell of a lot of testing, very similar to five weeks ago when representatives of the same companies made the same promise at another presser.  Trump meanwhile keeps claiming that the US is #1 in testing, which is untrue by all relevant standards.

The president also promised that the US would soon be testing 5 million people per day, which prompted the admiral in charge of testing to say in an interview that that was not going to happen ‘on this planet or on any other planet.’  Meanwhile during a conference call with campaign staffers Trump got so pissed off with his tanking poll numbers that he threatened to sue his campaign manager, Brad Parscale.


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